SAMPLE: Design SAP NetWeaver BW for APO SNP Reporting and Save Your Planners' Time

  • by Manoj Ambardekar, Solution Architect
  • March 22, 2012
SAP Advanced Planning & Optimization (SAP APO) Supply Network Planning (SNP) is used by supply planners in many companies for distribution requirements planning (DRP) and master production scheduling (MPS). However, it is not user friendly to log in to SAP SNP books to display planning data. Instead, I show how to display the data on the SAP NetWeaver Portal in a user-friendly manner.
Key Concept
You can use SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW) for SAP Advanced Planning & Optimization (SAP APO) reporting and for publishing Supply Network Planning (SNP) reports to SAP NetWeaver Portal. To display the SNP data on the portal, you need to architect an end-to-end solution from SNP liveCache to SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCubes and queries to publish to the SAP NetWeaver Portal, which is a complex task.

In my example scenario, ABC, Ltd., a CPG company, selected SAP SCM 7.0 as its advanced planning and scheduling (APS) system to manage its supply chain. ABC, Ltd., implemented a project with the SAP Advanced Planning & Optimization (SAP APO) Demand Planning (DP) and Supply Network Planning (SNP) modules.

Its supply planners were spread out across the country and did not want to log in to SAP APO every time they needed to check data such as planned production, inventory levels, or shortages. Instead, they wanted to see the data displayed in the SNP books on their Internet browser. This is possible by connecting SAP APO to SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW). You then can display the data in an Internet browser using SAP NetWeaver Portal.

However, to display the planning data on the portal, you need to architect an end-to-end solution from SNP liveCache (LC) to SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCubes and queries to publish to SAP NetWeaver Portal. I’ll show how to architect such a complex solution across three applications by highlighting the major steps. First, here is some background information about the process.

System Prerequisites

Most Fortune 100 companies use SAP APO as their global supply chain management application. A majority of these implementations use SAP NetWeaver BW as the data warehousing and business analytics application. Many companies also use SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) as the transaction processing application due to its ease of integration with SAP APO and SAP NetWeaver BW. In addition SAP NetWeaver BW queries and reports can be published on an Internet browser using SAP NetWeaver Portal. Thus the SAP ecosystem at most major companies has SAP APO, SAP NetWeaver BW, SAP NetWeaver Portal, and SAP ECC as core applications.

Most implementations of SAP APO use the DP module for forecasting. Sales history from SAP ECC is imported to SAP APO DP and statistical models are run to generate a baseline statistical forecast. Adjustment to the statistical forecast and addition of a promotional forecast is done to calculate the total forecast to release to SNP. SNP is used by supply planners in many companies for distribution requirements planning (DRP) to generate a distribution plan for plants and distribution centers. Purchase requisitions and purchase orders for external vendors are also generated. Next, master production scheduling (MPS) is done in SNP by rough cut capacity planning (RCCP) to generate a manufacturing plan in the medium term.

Thus, SNP is used to calculate the distribution, purchasing, and manufacturing plan for a company to meet customer demand and maintain the desired service level. It uses both heuristics and mathematical optimization methods to create feasible manufacturing and distribution plans. The SNP interactive planning book allows users to display and interactively modify planning data. The system processes any changes directly via liveCache, but it is not user friendly to report on planning book data. Instead SNP planning data such as inventory levels, planned orders, and purchase requisitions can be sent to SAP NetWeaver BW for reporting. It is much easier to run reports in SAP NetWeaver BW, and it also does not affect SAP APO performance.

The Architecture Behind SNP-SAP NetWeaver BW Integration

Figure 1 shows the technical architecture to integrate SNP and SAP NetWeaver BW. The main steps in the high-level data flow are as follows:

  • SNP generates a DRP and MPS plan using algorithms such as location or network heuristics. This SNP plan is stored in key figures of the type LC orders.
  • Copy the data from LC order key figures to LC time series key figures. Then extract the data from the SNP planning area using extractors.
  • Import the data to SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCubes using the APO SNP extractor. Create a query in SAP NetWeaver BW on the InfoCube created using the query designer. Publish the query to SAP NetWeaver Portal after creating portal iViews so users can display the SNP planning data using an Internet browser.


Figure 1
The link between SNP, SAP NetWeaver BW, and SAP NetWeaver Portal

Overview of the Process for SNP Reporting

Below are the major steps in creating this end-to-end solution across three applications.

  • Step 1. Check the SNP planning area for LC time series and order key figures
  • Step 2. Build extractors for the SNP planning area
  • Step 3. Build InfoCubes in SAP APO to transform and store the data.
  • Step 4. Connect SAP APO to SAP NetWeaver BW and pull the data to SAP NetWeaver BW
  • Step 5. Build InfoCubes in SAP NetWeaver BW to store the data from SAP APO
  • Step 6. Build queries and reports in SAP NetWeaver BW
  • Step 7. Publish the query to SAP NetWeaver Portal

Major Design Steps 

To support my hypothetical business scenario, you must configure the SAP APO and SAP NetWeaver BW systems to transfer the SNP planning data from SAP APO to SAP NetWeaver BW. You execute the following major steps to make the end-to-end solution work.

Note
The screenprints in this article are based on SAP SCM 7.0 and SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0, but the process under discussion applies to earlier versions as well.

Step 1. Check the SNP Planning Area for LC Time Series and Order Key Figures

SAP APO stores data either in the database or in memory liveCache. Structures such as InfoCubes store data in the database. Data flowing in from SAP ECC to SAP APO is stored in liveCache for use by SNP or Production Planning-Detailed Scheduling (PP-DS). Data is stored in SNP using one of three methods:

  1. InfoCube
  2. LC time series
  3. LC orders

The planning area specifies the method of storing data for each key figure. Most of the data in the SNP planning area is stored as LC orders and comes from SAP ECC using the Core Interface (CIF). You can see the method of storage in the standard SNP planning area 9ASNP02 accessed using transaction /SAPAPO/MSDP_ADMIN or by following menu path Advanced Planning and Optimization > Supply Network Planning > Environment > Current Settings > /SAPAPO/MSDP_ADMIN - Administration of Demand Planning and Supply Network Planning (Figure 2). The steps to display the type of data storage for any key figure are as follows:

  1. Select the planning area in Supply and Demand Planning Administration. In my example, you select planning area 9ASNP02 and then right-click for the context menu.
  2. Choose Display from the context menu. This displays the planning area with the first tab of basic information.
  3. Click the Key Figs tab. Then click the Details button that pops up on the screen.
  4. Select the required key figure and display the semantic code. I selected key figure 9AAFCST – Forecast (addition.) and pressed the F4 key on the fourth column.
  5. The semantic code is 000 for LC orders, 001 for LC time series, and 002 for an InfoCube. The semantic code for key figure 9AAFCST is 000 for type LC orders (Figure 3).


Figure 2
Planning area display


Figure 3
Semantic for any key figure
 

The first two methods store data either as LC time series or LC orders in memory liveCache. The third method of storing data in an InfoCube is used to back up SNP or DP planning data. You can also use InfoCubes to load data from flat files and then transfer the data from InfoCubes to LC time series key figures. In my scenario, I need to extract the data from an SNP planning area to SAP APO InfoCubes so I can transfer it to SAP NetWeaver BW.

The next step is to add new LC time series key figures to the SNP planning area. These are used to copy LC Order data as you cannot extract this data from the SNP planning area. To create a new key figure InfoObject, go to transaction code RSD1 in APO DEV as shown in Figure 4. You can use Key Figure ZK_EX1- KF Extra 1 as an LC time series key figure to copy the LC order key AAFCST data in Figure 2. You then can extract data stored in key figure AAFCST.


Figure 4
Create a new key figure

To add the newly-created time series key figures, deinitialize the SNP planning area and add it with key figure semantic 001 for LC time series or 000 for LC orders. Ensure that all the prerequisites such as CIF queue stopping are done prior to deletion of this data.

You also need to add these key figures to the SNP planning book. Then write new macros to copy the data in LC order key figures to LC time series key figures so you can extract this data. You can check the new time series key figures to be added using transaction /n/SAPAPO/SDP94 or by following menu path Advanced Planning and Optimization > Supply Network Planning > Interactive Planning (Figure 5).


Figure 5
Check the data in the SNP planning book

Step 2. Build Extractors for the SNP Planning Area

Now that you can copy the planning data to LC time series key figures in the SNP planning area, you create an extractor for the SNP planning area to extract the data. Create the extractor using transaction /SAPAPO/SDP_EXTR for DP/SNP Data Extraction, as shown in Figure 6.


Figure 6
Create an extractor for the SNP planning area

To create the data sources, enter the name and select all the key figures to be extracted from the SNP planning area. The system automatically generates a new extract structure. You can test this data source to ensure that it is able to extract data and that all the time series key figures such as Z_EX1 created before are being populated. Also check that all the time periods (such as 104 weeks in the future) are extracted with data. If they are not, you need to check the data source for errors. Otherwise there will be downstream errors in SAP APO and in SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCubes.

Step 3. Build InfoCubes in APO to Transform and Store the Data

Once you have checked that the SNP data is being extracted properly, you create an SNP cube in SAP APO to store this data. Use transaction RSA1 and create an InfoCube for storing the SNP planning area data (Figure 7). The SNP cube should have all the key figures of the SNP planning area that you need to extract to SAP NetWeaver BW. This includes the new custom key figures created to copy LC order data to LC time series.


Figure 7
Create an SNP InfoCube

Step 4. Connect SAP APO to SAP NetWeaver BW and Extract Data to SAP NetWeaver BW 

Before you can import the data from SAP APO to SAP NetWeaver BW, you need to define source systems for SAP APO and SAP NetWeaver BW by creating Remote Function Call (RFC) destinations. Then you replicate the source systems to generate all the data sources that are active. Finally you replicate the metadata for the SAP APO data source in SAP NetWeaver BW using transaction RSA1 in SAP NetWeaver BW. Go to the Modeling tab and select the data source for the SAP APO InfoCube. Right-click the data source for the InfoCube and select the Replicate Metadata option (Figure 8).


Figure 8
Replicate the SNP InfoCube data source in SAP NetWeaver BW
 

Step 5. Build InfoCubes in SAP NetWeaver BW to Store the Data from SAP APO 

Before you can import SNP data from SAP APO into SAP NetWeaver BW, you need to create an InfoCube in SAP NetWeaver BW to store this data. Go to transaction code RSA1 in SAP NetWeaver BW and create an InfoCube similar to the one in SAP APO.

Go to the Modeling tab and select the InfoCube you have created in SAP NetWeaver BW. Right-click the InfoCube and select the Create Transformation Rule option. Then you create transformation rules and connect the above data source from SAP APO to the SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCube. The source fields on the left are from the SAP APO data source and the target is the fields in the SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCube (Figure 9).


Figure 9
Create transformation rules for the SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCube

This imports the data stored in the SNP InfoCube to the SAP NetWeaver InfoCube and uses ETL rules for mapping the data. Then you can build an SAP NetWeaver BW setup such as a data transfer process (DTP) and InfoPackages to import the data into the SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCube. Process chains need to run in SAP APO and SAP NetWeaver BW to ensure that all the steps are run in the right sequence to import the data. 

Step 6. Build Queries and Reports in SAP NetWeaver BW

Next you can build queries and reports in SAP NetWeaver BW to execute calculations on the data that you have imported from SAP APO to SAP NetWeaver BW. You can build new queries in BEx Query Designer based on InfoProviders in SAP NetWeaver BW. To create a query, you need to log in to the BEx Query Designer using your SAP NetWeaver BW user ID and password. The define query screen opens up and here you define the rows and columns for the report layout (Figure 10). The rows in my example are SKU, Customer, and DC, while the key figure is Shipment History. The layout of the query output is shown in the preview. Once you create the query, you can then use it for Microsoft Excel-based analysis in BEx Analyzer or for Web-based analysis in BEx Web Analyzer. The data analysis is based on InfoProviders from SAP NetWeaver BW.


Figure 10
Build a query using the query designer tool

Step 7. Publish the Query to SAP NetWeaver Portal

It is much easier for users to display a report on the Internet browser versus the SNP planning book. You can publish the SAP NetWeaver BW query to the SAP NetWeaver Portal. Use the iView concept to integrate SAP NetWeaver BW applications and bring individual Web applications as an iView into SAP NetWeaver Portal.

The iView in simple terms is any kind of application or service that can be visualized in a Web browser frame. iViews are self-contained Web documents that are provided via a Uniform Resource Locator managed by the SAP NetWeaver Portal framework. With portal content the system generates an iView to the BEx Web Application or query in the Portal Content Catalog. Then the Portal Roles view displays the portal roles assigned to the user.

After the technical setup is complete in the Portal Content Studio, the user can log in to display all the queries assigned to his role such as an SNP inventory or shortages report. The output of the report is displayed in an Internet browser using the data stored in the SAP NetWeaver BW InfoCube. It is important to realize that data needs to be extracted from the SNP planning area to the SNP InfoCube on a daily or weekly basis. Then this data needs to be imported to an SAP NetWeaver BW NetWeaver InfoCube for the user to display the report using an Internet browser (Figure 11).


Figure 11
Display the report on an Internet browser
 

Manoj Ambardekar

Manoj Ambardekar has more than 20 years of IT and manufacturing experience with firms such as IBM, Infosys, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Siemens Information in the CPG, brewing, and process industries. He has more than 14 years of experience with SAP APO and SAP ECC with specialization in logistics. He has played multiple roles as functional and technical lead as well as project manager. He has implemented SAP applications at more than 12 large- and medium-sized projects since 1998. Manoj is a chemical engineer certified in production and inventory management (CPIM) from APICS – USA, and holds a master’s of engineering (industrial) degree from B.I.T.S. in Pilani, India. Manoj works on both large and SME clients to implement SAP as both a configuration SME in APO/ECC PP-MM/Solution Manager and project manager/team lead. He specializes in supply chain management solutions using software such as SAP APO, SAP SCM, SAP ECC, SAP Solution Manager, and business intelligence for North American clients.

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You may contact the author at manoj_bits@yahoo.com.

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