Perhaps you are one of the many who are constantly hearing the messages from SAP regarding Real-Time Business applications. Usually those statements are connected with their newest flagship product – SAP HANA. It is really hard to change our mind and become open to this new opportunity. We think it is normal to change our scheduled plans only with the help of manually executed transactions or with the help of scheduled background jobs on predefined period. It is not so easy to get out of this old thinking and imagine the new possibilities.
Usually you are making materials resource planning based on algorithms with many criteria. For example if you want to replenish your stock on chain of vending machines you will need to now what is the usual demand in previous period, weather forecast, availability of lorry trucks, market demand of particular products, etc. In the fashioned way you will have to send somebody to check what is left and replenish the empty spots. In such cases it is really difficult to have good planning without reasonable margin of safety. You never know what exactly was consumed, but you are guessing based on historical data.
Let’s think if we have case with broken compressor. If you have some basic sensors it will send you feedback by SMS or other communicating channel that the vending machine is out of order. You will send technicians, but usually they will not bring with them a compressor, because it is an expensive part. The result will be a lost of a lot of time, money and unhappy customers. It is also possible to have problems with lorry truck. It could go either in heavy traffic jam or technical fail. In such cases it will be very difficult to find alternative lorry truck without compromising the rest of the schedule.
In the last two years there is a strong commitment of the companies to connect many home appliances to your network and make them accessible over the internet. In the last two years those connected machines are more popular as Internet of Things (IoT). There is also a big push from the technical companies to integrate sensors in such machines which will help you in remote management. They will send you data in real-time.
Now imagine what if you have sensors in every vending machine giving you feedback about current stocks, count of passing individuals, condition of the compressor and condition of the individual electrical modules. What if also know the GPS coordinates of your Lorry drivers and your maintenance team which are navigated based on scheduled plans from your ERP application. What if you also connected your ERP to resources with live data about weather forecast and traffic.
Now with all the information above you could built sophisticated model to plan and allocate resources for maintenance and replenishment. The problem till now was that, usually material resource planning scheduler program usually took several hours to complete. So, basically it was not possible to run business in real time. With the help of SAP HANA, now it is possible. It is even possible to trigger Schedulers based on any change on the underlying information related to the model. Check the next video to see it in action.