Solving Supply Chain issues



Published: 21/03/2018

Sometimes capabilities and needs are mapped through pure timing of conversations.  It was such a conversation that led Ignite Data to work in partnership with a global, fast-moving consumer goods company to kick start their considerable investment in HANA Enterprise.  After months of sourcing struggles, we were chosen for this engagement due to our proven experience in architecture and design leadership for HANA adoption. The partnership ensured that our client met their goals around the delivery of global supply chain and sales analytics solutions. Critical to this success was our design coordination across several simultaneous projects delivered by Ignite Data, internal staff and system integrators. One of the key elements of this engagement was to empower the clients internal staff to be self-sustaining with customised coaching and training.

As an organisation of such a large scale, they had a huge global supply chain network, and wanted to leverage HANA to enable real time insights to seek efficiency improvements and monitor performance. There was a need for guidance regarding design standards and best practice in regards the utilisation of their HANA platform to acquire real-time insights around sales, the effect of customer promotions, supply chain and equipment efficiency.  Alongside this was also the need to develop reporting solutions that quantifiably measured all performance metrics.

The development of a trusted relationship between ourselves and the client allowed us to share our experience to influence the platform direction, further investment and analytics led proof of values.

The deliverables included a series of successful HANA initiatives that provided real-time global insight into the clients supply chain, across four disparate regions and source systems.

As the go-to partners for any HANA development in the organisation, we delivered four complex end-to-end implementations during the span of our engagement. We were involved right from requirement gathering to go-live activities, with a thorough understanding of their business issues that enabled us to deliver optimal solutions leveraging HANA. This also resulted in us having initial input into the creation of HANA architecture principles and guidelines to set the design standards for their initiatives moving forward.

The first solution was designed to provide a base data set and reporting capabilities across customer promotion and sales data. Along with delivering high performance data models we also delivered the ETL jobs in Data Services to get the required data from SQL systems to HANA. The solution helped them successfully understand the correlation between various promotions and their ongoing effect on sales.

The second project was to provide global information on sales and deliveries to customers to track performance of orders that are delivered on time and in full. The data was replicated from four disparate regional ECC systems which had to be cleaned, modified and combined to provide real time reporting on their consolidated global supply chain. The aim of this information was to provide insights into the global supply chain and track order performance and identify reasons for failures, through a consistent, seamless single view.

The third solution captured equipment utilisation information from multiple systems and merged them in HANA to understand the overall equipment efficiency. This allowed them to measure the full design capacity effectiveness and the maximum possible production during scheduled hours at optimal speed.  This information empowered the operations team with effective analytics required to capture cost saving opportunities.

The latest solution was aimed at providing end-to-end supply chain reporting for the management team with a weekly update of activities linked to planning, root cause analysis, inventory reduction and demand and supply analysis. With the help of this solution, the supply chain management team had access to a single report to measure metrics such as production cycle time, forecast accuracy, adherence to schedule, daily out of stocks, inventory quantity and many more.

While delivering these projects, we discovered that the organisation was in need of global master data models which could be utilised across all projects. We took the initiative to develop and deliver these models, which in turn brought uniformity and decreased the duplication of effort. Along the way we realised that non-SAP reporting tools such as Tableau and QlikView posed performance issues when working with HANA as a data source. We took steps to understand the challenge and deliver models that were optimised to give the best possible performance with these tools. By staying on top of the fast-changing pace of HANA, we made sure we brought the latest skills to all projects.

This engagement involved collaboration with project resources that were spread across four different global regions and accompanying time zones, and as a result we set realistic timeline predictions allowing for these time zone and communication constraints.  We were able to highlight gaps in the delivery methodology early, especially those where agile expectations were not aligned with the business.

Through our involvement, we were successful in unifying their disparate supply chain data sources to develop live models that have become the single trusted source of truth with the goal of making relevant information available to the business. The customer is now to able to tap their live global supply chain data to generate reports that bring measurable improvements to their organisation.