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Importance of Proactive Master Data Maintenance in SAP SCM Support

In my current project about a year ago, North America region Supply Chain Planners were having major concerns related with flawed planning resulting from incorrect or no Source of Supply (SoS) for receipt elements such as  Purchase requisitions &/or Planned orders. These regular concerns were impacting planner community's confidence & trust with an existing APO solution & team managing it. This project was in a steady state from almost 2-3 years having Level 2 (support group based onsite at client locations) & Level 3 (support group based in offshore locations) model.

Internal team discussion revealed that other regions' (LATAM, EAME & APAC) planner community were also having similar concerns. We conducted a thorough analysis of these concerns & compared results in different geographies. Analysis showed that around 70-80% of issues faced in support could be classified or could be attributed to incorrect Master Data Maintenance & triggered a thought process of "Importance of Proactive Master Data Maintenance". I think this is the most important, ironically, easily ignorant area in APO Support projects.

We came up with an action plan of having a MDM Quality Report based on Product-Locations master data, Transportation Lanes & Production Process Models (PPM) master data from APO Production environment. These 3 master data elements contributed to almost 50-60% of planning issues. Some simple queries were designed in APO, in line with this action plan, to monitor this data on monthly basis.

Dumps of Product-Locations & Transportation Lanes were taken and queries were designed to check some basic parameters. For instance, if Product-Location has procurement type In-House Production ("E") and if it is missing a corresponding PPDS PPM, then we flagged it as an error code. Missing PPM means no demand on raw materials resulting in less procurement leading to reduction in order fill rate. PPDS PPM gets generated from SAP ECC Production Version (combination of Bill of Materials & Routing) maintained in SAP ECC material master via Core Interface (CIF). These error codes were then shared with Asset Planners & were requested to give their inputs. Corrective actions in SAP ECC by Planners resulted in proactive resolution of concerns of Planned Orders missing SoS. This exercise was done before the monthly planning cycle start.

Over a period of time, similar queries were developed; for instance, report a code if there is No T-Lane to Externally Procured (Procurement Type - F) product location from a In-House Production Location (Procurement Type - E) in its supply chain. Supply Chain Planners were involved to correct this situation & issue of Purchase Requisitions missing Source of Supply got addressed.

This exercise yield positive results, in terms of planning community getting their confidence back in APO system & overall solution, over a period of time. Planning errors got reduced to 20-25% & planners & BPA (Business Process Analysts) from client side appreciated monthly MDM Quality reports. Of course this is & will be an ongoing activity as each month some new codes get added from planning perspective, either they are new products introduced or existing products getting extended to new planning locations. We were also able to identify any specific "Training Needs" for planning community in the long run. Final Objective of this exercise is "to get it right the first time" when planners maintain any planning critical master data.

Our support group now enjoys positive feedback from planning community and they appreciate the value added by this initiative. This emphasized that "Proactive Master Data Maintenance is very IMPORTANT & will help to get expected planning results, confidence in APO as planning solution & help build confidence in support team". 

It will be interesting to know views from other projects or consultants in this area & any special efforts/ideas they take/have to ensure that a planning function is not getting impacted due to incorrect master data.



Very good article Pushkar. I like the way you guys developed the tools - MDM report, queries etc. Simple but very helpful.

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Good to read something written from practical experience. And you presented a good perspective on it and everyone should learn something from it. Keep sharing!

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