PJ: What makes you confident that the SAP Enterprise Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) 7.0 and SAP Transportation Management (SAP TM) 8.0 products are finally on par (if not even better) than best-of-breed (BoB) warehouse management system (WMS) and transportation management system (TMS) products?
SAP SCM: With SAP EWM release 7.0, our customers have been telling us that our solution is on par in functionality with BoB solutions. The solution offers advantages as part of the SAP Business Suite, and that makes our WMS a top choice for those users.
For its part, SAP TM 8.0 is a broad departure from the other BoB TMS solutions. We offer a solution for all transport modes and are delivering a solution to meet the needs of all industries. In addition, we have created a solution that links all of the logistics processes together, from taking an order to settling that order. We believe that these differentiators are going to allow us to differentiate ourselves going forward.
PJ: What do you say to some BoB players claiming a staying power with their WMS products due to stronger Slotting, Engineered Labor Standards, Yard Management, and Task Interleaving capabilities? Along similar lines, they are claiming a staying power with their TMS products functionality to support a broad area of transportation processes including core carrier, fleet, and parcel, for both shippers and logistics services providers? Some also claim that SAP is in the process of releasing its TMS 8.0 in a controlled manner; is this correct?
SAP SCM: We believe that a lot of this is just misrepresentation and fear, uncertainty & doubt (FUD) tactics. We need to do a better job of showcasing these capabilities. SAP TM 8.0 is now generally available. We exceeded all ramp up targets and expectations for this release. See the official June 22, 2011 announcement for more details here.
In addition to general availability, SAP TM 8.0 is doing well in the market. We have many live customers and over 30 implementations underway. For more details on the capabilities and references of the product, take a look here. We are sure that you (and anyone else for that matter) will see that SAP is now as competitive as any niche player.
PJ: Is your currently available sales and operations planning (S&OP) solution based on SAP Budgeting, Planning & Consolidation (SAP BPC, formerly Outlooksoft) and aimed mainly at financial folks?
SAP SCM: The current Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS) for SAP BusinessObjects S&OP helps organizations to develop a single unified plan for driving business operations. In using this solution, you can gain an easy-to-implement offering for leveraging your existing landscape to consolidate data. To accomplish this, our solution provides you with the pre-defined analytics and expert support you need to manage your organization's enterprise-wide sales and operations planning processes. It is not “aimed mainly at financial folks”. For more info take a look at the SAP.com page here.
Having said that, our new upcoming SAP HANA-based S&OP solution will leverage data from numerous sources including ERP and SCM applications (see image below).
PJ: SAP RFID is apparently no longer part of the SAP NetWeaver platform per se, but rather a SCM module (or feature). What is the install base there and for what typical use cases?
SAP SCM: SAP AII (Auto ID Infrastructure) and SAP OER (Object Event Repository) are being used in a broad range of industries. We are seeing a significant amount of interest in item traceability scenarios. We have broad interest in industries such as life sciences, food/beverage, aerospace, automotive, chemicals, and retail.
PJ: Given JDA Software and RedPrairie’s success in marrying upstream consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers’ supply chains with those of retailers (see the related article here), why hasn’t there been much cooperation between SAP’s SCM and Retail teams? What is planned in the future to remedy this situation?
SAP SCM: We are addressing this right now. With the appointment of Lori Mitchell-Keller as head of the Retail Industry Business Unit (IBU), we are seeing an increase in collaboration and joint initiatives. There is an active project in development around SAP Demand Signal Management, which is collaboration between the two teams. More information will be available on this solution in the near future.
CPG and Retail are key industries for our supply chain execution (SCE) solutions. Our global trade management (GTM) solutions team is set up to coordinate cross-industry requirements and as we adopt Lean Principles, we will accelerate the delivery of solutions across industries and package existing ones to meet such needs.
PJ: Why do many SAP customers still opt for BoB forecasting and demand planning solutions (e.g., Logility, Demantra/Oracle, Smart Software, etc.)?
SAP SCM: We can only point out that we have many happy and successful customers leveraging the SAP planning solutions. Demand Planning is the highest area deployed in this space.
PJ: What is your view on Manhattan Associates’ attempt to marry planning and execution within its SCOPE (supply chain optimization-based planning & execution) suite and based on its SCPP (Suply Chain Process Platform)? What is SAP’s equivalent to a BPM-based platform a la Manhattan SCPP (see the related blog series here)?
SAP SCM: SAP has an underlying platform (being NetWeaver) that is a data-, event-, and process-based platform across the entire business suite, not just the supply chain solutions. This allows us to deliver truly end-to-end processes including the marriage of planning and execution.
PJ: Would you please elaborate on your alliances with SmartOps and Llamasoft, i.e., what white spaces do they fill?
SAP SCM: The partnership with the two companies are different in the following manner:
SAP Enterprise Inventory Optimization by SmartOps is a “Solution Extension,” which means it is an SAP branded product, sold on SAP corporate paper, and SAP provides Level 1 and 2 support
The relationship with Llamasoft is that of an “Endorsed Business Solution” for strategic network design, which means that we work together as complementary solutions.
PJ: Why was Crossgate acquired recently, and how and where will it fit within SAP SCM? What is the relationship between SAP Global Trade Services (GTS) and Crossgate?
SAP SCM: As the press release pointed out, SAP acquired Crossgate to “Instantly Connect SAP Customers and Their Business Partners for Networking at Enterprise Level; Will Link Enterprises for Smoother Interoperability, Faster Information Flows, More Productivity, Smarter Decisions.” As a leading provider of hosted business to business (B2B) integration services, Crossgate enables companies to fully integrate and network with trading partners, clients, and suppliers, allowing electronic data exchange (EDI) with any business partner regardless of their technical capability.
As a result of this acquisition, SAP will enable networking at the enterprise level, providing an easy way for trading partners to collaborate, share data and automate processes that link customers and suppliers for streamlined B2B e-commerce. As part of our historical relationship with Crossgate, for example we have available B2B packages for TM 8.0 that include Request for Quote (RFQ) Tendering, Direct Tendering, and Carrier Booking. Along that scope, we are currently finalizing roadmap items for similar network enablement of our Supply Chain LOB applications.