How to Configure and Test Flexible Planning to Improve Performance and Increase Profits

  • by Janev K. Veettil, Specialist Master, Deloitte Consulting, LLP
  • August 30, 2011
A good conceptual understanding of the Flexible Planning component of SAP Sales and Operations Planning (SAP SOP) helps reduce the number of cyclic iterations in Information Structure configurations and test its impact on the planning type before choosing the final design. Learn the necessary steps to configure Flexible Planning in your SAP system, including configuring a self-defined Information Structure and a planning type and testing planning to verify the accuracy of the design.
Key Concept
You can plan and process planning data from the standpoint of practically any organizational unit, such as Sales Organization or Production Plant, using the Flexible Planning functionality of SAP ERP Central Component. The starting point of Flexible Planning is designing an Information Structure. An Information Structure defines a structure with organizational units, business planning values (for example, forecast values in different periods), their relationships, and different views of planning values from different departments’ perspectives, such as Sales or Production. Knowing how to define an Information Structure to meet business planning requirements is vital for successful Flexible Planning.
SAP Sales and Operations Planning (SAP SOP) includes standard SOP and Flexible Planning. Standard SOP helps to plan only the total product groups or materials demand of a plant. This isn’t helpful if you need collect product demands from different organizational structures to get total demand.

Instead you can use SAP’s Flexible Planning method to forecast demands from different sales offices to get, for example, the total manufacturing plant demand. In that case, Flexible Planning allows you to forecast a sales office’s individual demand or a manufacturing plant’s total demand in a planning table. Flexible Planning uses a hierarchical structure of organizational elements for planning called a planning hierarchy, which is master data created for the Flexible Planning application requirements.

In this article, I use an example case to explain the steps you need to take to implement Flexible Planning. After gaining an understanding of the basic Flexible Planning design method, you can then explore additional functionality required for their specific application and incorporate them as required.

A Flexible Planning table is designed using the basic steps of configuring a self-defined Information Structure, setting the parameters for the Information Structure and key figures, and configuring the planning type. With a clear understanding of these steps, you can test the planning table design for validating the Flexible Planning functionality. Any modifications may require logically thinking through the changes required and revisiting the configuration in the right order to make the changes. Repeated tests and modifications may be required until the desired design is achieved.

Janev K. Veettil

Janev K Veettil has more than 15 years of SAP experience in SAP Production Planning and logistics modules. He has worked on various SAP implementation projects for different industries and his key focus is on manufacturing. 


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