Managing Master Data in SAP APO is Managing Costs

Posted by Ben Jansen Van Vuuren on 19-Feb-2014 10:58:00

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Managing Master Data costs in SCM report

We all know the old saying of ‘Garbage in, Garbage out! Companies with ERP systems have learnt this the hard way over the years in implementations and in their day to day dealings with planning systems. Bad master data can be crippling to a businesses and its systems.

Gradually organisations have become proactive in maintaining data right, the first time around. We have seen a real effort from clients in improving data quality within their ERP platforms. However this level of attention is just as important in advanced planning systems where the output of complex functions are highly dependent on good housekeeping. Together with our clients we have identified critical master data for running their SAP APO systems; this can be done with master data dashboards, alerts and simple reports. At this point these tools are not delivered as part of the standard SCM package, however we can help.

Master data quality is one thing, but what about master data quantity? We have seen, especially in the FMCG sector, SKU proliferation creating a particular challenge. Multiple SKUs become redundant on a regular basis, driven by promotion or seasonal cycles. As a result we have seen hardware costs spiral at some of our clients where this has not been dealt with. Demand Planning master data in particular can be hugely resource intensive. Characteristic Combinations in Demand Planning consume system memory especially where the Characteristic Combinations are stored at several levels of the hierarchy. SAP offer standard reports to delete such master data, but it is hard to apply business logic to these processes. The same applies for Supply Network Planning master data. Location products can be deleted after they have been flagged and all transactional and related master data has also been deleted. This makes it extremely difficult for the users to know which products can be deleted from APO. This is where our experience in this area has been invaluable to our Clients.

Our Experience

When speaking to our clients about redundant master data in APO, there are three golden rules we recommend they follow:

Make a start NOW – Clearing old master data should not be an afterthought, it should be an integral part in the planning of any implementation. However if this was not done at implementation stage there is no time like the present. A system top heavy with redundant data, can be crippling.

Periodic – Master data clean up in APO should become part of your normal IT processes and at most clients we have seen that monthly deletions are imperative. The deletions need to tie in with the product life cycle management process.

Automate – We have found that the process of deletion should be automated as far as possible. SCM users love planning, they do not enjoy cleaning up master data and being tied up in complex manual deletions.

With our clients we have developed master data housekeeping programs which can be automated as part of your job schedule to delete redundant data based on defined business rules. We have seen up to 30% of total master data being deleted, equating thousands of pounds in hardware savings. Not only is there a financial implication but efficient optimized systems, mean a much better user experience in terms of system performance and usability.

SCM users love planning, they do not however enjoy cleaning master data and being tied up in complex manual deletions.

A managed master data maintenance strategy provides the following positives for your systems:
  •  Improved performance
  •  Planners time freed up to concentrate on planning
  •  Improved user experience
  •  Efficient product life cycle management
  •  Considerable cost savings on hardware

Click below to learn how our implementation of a data maintenance strategy helped one client improve their system's user experience and claim thousands of pounds in hardware savings.

Download Managing Master Data Costs in SCM


Read more on: SAP APO, SCM Master Data