Step-by-Step Guide to Create and Use Process Chains in APO

  • by Manoj Ambardekar, Solution Architect
  • May 15, 2007
The success of many SAP projects depends on managing how you execute background or batch jobs. Learn step by step how to configure process chains and use them to execute background jobs in SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization.
Key Concept
Background jobs are a critical component of any SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization implementation and also for its long-term sustainability. You can execute background jobs to, for example, load data to an InfoCube, generate a statistical forecast, or execute Supply Network Planning heuristics for a large amount of data. You can create these jobs as batch jobs, using transaction code SM36, or as process chains, using transaction code RSPC.
With SAP SCM version 4.1, SAP added process chain functionality to execute background jobs in Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO) Demand Planning (DP) and Supply Network Planning (SNP). This functionality was originally introduced in SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW). Recent versions of APO, including APO 5.0, have additional process types, although the core functionality of process chains remains unchanged.

Since APO 4.1, the traditional way of creating and running batch jobs using transaction code SM36 is less attractive than process chains. Process chains are more efficient because they allow you to define dependencies and execute steps conditionally based on success or failure of the previous step. For example, you can generate combinations of characteristics only if the InfoCube data load is successful. However, because process chains are a new concept in SAP APO, they can be difficult to understand.

I’ll present a common example in APO DP and take you through these six steps to create the process chain:

Step 1. Start to create the process chain with a start variant

Step 2. Add more process variants to continue the process chain

Step 3. Create a program variant to use in a process variant

Step 4. Load data to the DP planning area with a standard process type

Step 5. Perform a logical check of the process chain

Step 6. Execute the process chain

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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