Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You can't do capacity planning in SAP? I can!

Last year I traveled to Europe for an american manufacturing company. There, they had a production facility which has been using SAP for a while. Finance, Sales, Human Resources, Material Management and Production Planning were long implemented but only used to various degrees.

One of the functiones they did not use was capacity planning. To my question: why not? I received the reply : "SAP ERP can not do capacity planning!" whoa! So I dug a little deeper and to make a really long story very short: back in 2002, their implementation consultant obviously did not know SAPs capacity planning (in a previous blog I claim that your SAP gets functionality-filtered down: first by time and budget constraints, then by what your consultant knows). 

Back then it was concluded that the place to maintain available capacity ( in capacity planning you need to compare available capacity - from the work center - to required capacity - from the order) is the MRP Controller !? In the material masters MRP1 screen. Well, that didn't work that well and the team came to the conclusion: Capacity Planning is something SAP can't do!

Nothing is further from the truth (we have done capacity planning at Dornier in Germany with R/2 back in the 80's) but in this specific case a horde of external ABAP programmers developed a 'capacity planning module' for lots of money (in a previous blog post I asked the question: how is it possible that a consultant can program better software in SAP, than SAP can?). It is of no importance that the same company which suggested that SAP can not do capacity planning, also programmed the "missing" SAP capacity module at this plant. 

Now that we had that settled, I wanted to see how the planners level capacity. The supervisor very proudly presented their "own" excel spreadsheet solution. "It does not have the current availability and the orders are batch-downloaded only on a weekly basis but at least we can estimate the cost of production - if the plan matches what is actually produced" 

So let me sum this up: you buy an SAP system, you pay for the implementation, you pay to develop a work around, you then develop a spreadsheet solution on your own - and you end up with nothing! Not a very good business case.

Capacity Planning in SAP is very real! It is extremely flexible and works for everything from discrete to process manufacturing. it is perfectly integrated with all your planning and execution and costing functions in SAP and does not require any modification or work-around.

I bet you the cost of a work-around to make it work at your company to your fullest satisfaction with all the bells and whistles you ever need. In the standard!