Some of the questions we would ask before we engage in your implementation
Architecture and Design
- Selection of the right elements in building your demand planning architecture is critical to a successful implementation. The Data Mart in APO provides for the use of ODS Objects, Infocubes and other staging objects. What will you choose for which requirement and why?
- Optimize your data flow to reduce load times and automate processing so that there is no downtime for the users. How will you automate your loads and coordinate them amongst several different systems and platforms?
- Structuring of your planning hierarchy and the use of Navigational Attributes in the definition of characteristics is also an important consideration which needs to be given upfront to an implementation. What is your criterion for making these decisions?
- Data extraction from BW, R/3 or other legacy/ERP systems is essential to drive Demand Planning processes. How will you source this information and what extractors will you use? How will you ensure the connectivity and accuracy of your data and build in processes to account for contingencies?
- How will you design your planning areas and Infocubes to optimize the use of APO's capabilities and balance this with the hardware, sizing and memory requirements? Investment, performance and risk need to be balanced in order to implement DP right. Do you know the parameters that would influence the design in this regard?
- What is your reporting architecture? How do you enable real time reporting from APO and what are the pros and cons of this as a design? How can you leverage the power within BW to address this requirement? How should you use Remote Cubes in APO?
- How do you configure your system to appropriately aggregate and disaggregate data? What are the different methods of disaggregation and in which scenarios would you choose one over the other? What are the impacts of changing these decisions?
- How can you accurately forecast based on historical demand? Obviously, APO comes with tools to perform statistical forecasting but how do you design your process to increase forecast accuracy and come closer to true customer demand? What kind of monitoring can you put into your forecasting processes to ensure quality of results, check your forecast errors and achieve your forecasting metrics?
- How would you implement a Consensus Forecasting process on APO? Typically this involves members of the Sales, Marketing and Production departments of the business to agree upon one set of numbers before they send this forecast to supply planning. Have you thought of how you are going to share your forecast within your business before it is officialized?
- How do you implement a Collaborative Forecasting process on APO? How do you share information with your account representatives, customers and trade partners? How can you receive input from the field? What are the things to watch out for in such an initiative? How can this process be made confidential, cost effective and reliable?
- How do you manage selections, forecast profiles, unique assignments etc. in your system? Have you ever considered automating processes to check the consistency and validity of these elements and their relationships?
- How do you design processes to perform product lifecycle planning in APO? Features such as Like Modeling, Phase In, and Phase Out help you achieve the results if configured and used correctly. Have you implemented them correctly to ensure you are getting the results expected?
- How do you use MLR or Composite Forecasting to fine tune your forecasts? What are the parameters and limitations of these tools?
- What are the advantages of using DP-BOMs? What would it take to implement Characteristics based Forecasting? If your business has configurable products, what would be the right way to implement DP? How do you capture demand at the right level so that we can leverage the power of DP?
Maintenance and Monitoring
- How do you cater to real life scenarios which force changes to the planning hierarchy? How would you address merging of multiple customers, relocation of DCs, consolidation of product groups or platforms? How is APO going to handle these scenarios accurately? Is Realignment a requirement in your design? What are the pros and cons of the different methods of performing realignment? How would you automate a realignment process?
- How can you directly update data in LiveCache to avoid complex loads of data into the DP Data Mart? How do you optimize this through the use of BAPIs?
- How would you use the Alert Monitor in DP to make your forecasting group more proactive about problems? How can you integrate event management to DP?
- What is your transport strategy? How do you ensure that the development work is successfully migrated to the QA and Production systems? What are the caveats in transporting configuration and code in APO? How do objects referencing elements in BW and R/3 get migrated? What is the right sequence?
- How do you archive data in APO-DP to improve performance and reduce the data storage requirements as to reduce hardware cost and make your system more efficient?
- How do you use CCMS to automate mass processing jobs and reduce human intervention? How do you perform this in multiple different systems like BW or R/3?
Integration with SNP
- How do you compare the unconstrained demand plan with the constrained demand plan which is sent back from SNP? How is such a reconciliation process designed and implemented with the business?
- How do you optimize the release of the forecast from DP to SNP? What are the lessons learnt in this area? How is the demand bucketed in SNP and what are the ways of controlling the release from DP to SNP?
- How do you configure the correct planning strategy to meet your business requirements? What is customizable and in what instances would you customize it?