Accurately Plan Configurable Products with SAP APO Characteristics Dependent Planning

  • by Sobhan Vemulapalli, Director — SAP, Radinnova Inc.
  • November 24, 2009
Learn about the basic concepts of characteristics dependent planning (CDP) and how to use CDP for accurately planning configurable products within an SAP Advanced Planning & Optimization environment.
Key Concept

Configurable products are make-to-order (MTO) products in which variations are managed under a single product number as attributes (characteristics). The final product is dynamically configured based on customer requirements, and a sales-order-specific manufacturing process is carried out. Configurable products are widely used with increasing popularity across many industries, as they not only enhance customer empowerment but also prove to be a key differentiator in competition.

Characteristics dependent planning (CDP) resides within the SAP Advanced Planning & Optimization (SAP APO) Production Planning/Detailed Scheduling (PP/DS) functionality, and is used for planning in-house production for configurable products using characteristics. It allows for the configuration of planned orders in PP/DS based on characteristics-based forecasting (CBF) prior to the receipt of sales orders, thereby planning and procuring parts and components in advance. The final manufacturing is initiated after the receipt of the actual sales order.

CDP allows forecast consumption, product allocation, and available-to-promise (ATP) production based on characteristic values. CDP supports make-to-stock (MTS) in Industry Solution Mill Products for batch managed products. The CDP characteristics can be derived from Batch Characteristics (Class type 023). A key challenge for users is to plan supply and procure components to fulfill customer requirements and at the same time ensure that the forecast consumption and ATP requirements are accurately met. CDP is used for supply planning of configurable products in SAP APO.

I will explain the functionality of CDP for MTO by focusing on the system prerequisites, master data, system configuration requirements, the overall planning process, and key benefits and limitations. The scenario in this article uses CBF, an SAP APO demand planning (DP) functionality, as the initial step to create the forecast of configurable products (demand planning). You then perform planning with Production Data Structures (PDS) explosion in APO PP/DS – supply planning. The PDS explosion triggers the procurement of components and, at the same time, fully takes advantage of the additional features of CDP such as forecast consumption, availability product check, and forecast consumption using characteristics.

Sobhan Vemulapalli

Sobhan Vemulapalli is an entrepreneur and a director of SAP at Radinnova Inc. He is an SAP, APO, and PLM specialist with 10 years of experience and has implemented 12 projects across the US, Mexico, and India. He is currently focused on building a specialty practice in SCM, PLM, and MDM, targeting their niche areas. Sobhan holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA in general management.

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