Enable Global ATP to Provide Differential Customer Service

  • by Mitesh Verma, SAP SCM Solution Architect, Dorman Products
  • September 22, 2016
Learn how to enable Global Available-to-Promise (Global ATP) to optimally allocate sales order confirmations considering various customer parameters and business needs.
Learning Objectives

After reading this article, you will know:

  • Various business scenarios for which it is important to have flexibility in allocating the available supply to various customer orders
  • How to consider various parameters such as sales order type, delivery priority, or customer group while deciding the configuration objects like scope of check and check instructions.
  • Configuration and enhancements required in SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) and Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO) to enable Global Available-to-Promise (Global ATP) to differentially allocate the supply
Key Concept
Key configuration objects such as check instructions and scope of check play a very important role during an availability check. Check instructions control what availability check methods are called during the available-to-promise check. The scope of check controls the various demand, supply, and stock elements considered at the time of the ATP check. The ability to dynamically change check instructions or the scope of check based on various parameters such as sales order type and delivery priority give lot more flexibility to users in optimally allocating the supply.

In the Global Available-to-Promise (Global ATP) module, it is not possible to change configuration objects like scope of check and check instructions based on parameters such as sales order type, delivery priority, or customer group. That inability restricts you from dynamically changing the consideration of various supply types (for example, different stock types, production orders, and purchase orders) during the sales order confirmation process. This might result in suboptimal allocation of the available supply to customer orders. By doing enhancements during an ATP check at the time of order entry in SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) as well as during the backorder processing (BOP) run in SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization (SAP APO), it is possible to consider the various parameters mentioned above while deciding how the supply is allocated to different customer orders.

Global ATP is the module within SAP APO, and ATP is the available-to-promise check. When I refer to Global ATP, I mean the module within SAP APO.

There are various business scenarios and requirements in which it is important to have flexibility in the way the supply is allocated to customer orders.

  • For critical orders such as rush orders, it is important to make sure confirmation is made only against truly available stock. Stock under quality inspection should not be used to provide confirmation as it might result in disappointing the customer since the rush order is confirmed but can’t be shipped as the stock is still under inspection. However, the quality inspection stock can still be used to provide confirmations to regular sales orders since the delivery dates on the regular sales orders are at least two to three days in the future. By that time the stock can be inspected and made available to be shipped.
  • There are certain really high priority orders for which it is acceptable to push other regular sales orders to future dates. In such cases, the requirement would be to provide confirmation based on available on-hand stock considering any open deliveries. This would make sure that there is no manual step involved in removing a confirmation from an existing confirmed sales order and that the high priority orders are shipped as soon as possible. The nightly BOP run would take care of adjusting the dates in the sales orders.
  • In the semiconductor industry, the finished goods are packaged in a particular lot size (tape and reel) and customers typically place orders in multiples of that lot size. However, due to the inherent variability of the manufacturing process, the output is not always in that multiple and the remainder quantity (called broken reels) is stored separately. This can’t be used to fulfill regular customer orders but can still be used for special orders such as customer samples. In such cases, the requirement is that the customer samples orders should only see this stock for confirmation and all other orders should see it as available.
  • Another scenario is that if the sample order is critical and there are no broken reels available, existing reels are then broken to fulfill the customer sample orders. In such cases, the requirement would be to enable such critical sample orders (identified by some parameters on sales order such as delivery priority) to receive confirmation based on the regular supply instead of considering only the broken reels stock.
  • Location substitution is enabled as a normal process for all the customers but in some exceptional conditions a customer may not want to have the ordering plant changed and would like to have its entire order shipped together and from a single plant. Also it may not make sense to move inventory from one plant to other just for fulfilling those particular orders. Such exception orders can be identified by some parameters in the sales order and the requirement would be not to trigger the location substitution rules in such cases.
  • In order to control the supply allocation, product allocation functionality is enabled, which controls how much quantity can be allocated to a particular customer in a given time period. However, sometimes it is important to have flexibility: Even though the allocated quantity is already consumed, the customer order should still receive a confirmation overriding customer allocations.
  • Checking horizon (which determines how far in the future product availability is checked) is used while confirming the sales orders, which ensures that if there is no available supply then the order is confirmed at the end of the lead time. There might be cases in which checking the horizon is not required for most customer orders but is required only for certain specific cases. Or it could be reversed, with it enabled for most customers but not enabled for certain customers or order types.

ATP Configuration Objects in SAP APO

Let’s review the key configuration objects available within SAP APO and what role they play during the sales order confirmation process. Figure 1 summarizes each configuration object and how they are linked to each other.

Figure 1
ATP configuration objects

Mitesh Verma

Mitesh Verma has 14 years of experience in supply chain consulting, SAP APO implementation, and enhancements. He is an SAP SCM solution architect at Dorman Products specializing in multiple modules (DP, SNP, GATP, and PP-DS) of SAP APO. He has worked on supply chain projects for various clients in the high-tech, semiconductor, automotive, and food and beverage industries. 

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