CSIPER installs new supply chain prototyping solution

Johannesburg, 13 Sept 1999

CSIPER has become the first consulting company in Africa to install SAP`s new supply chain management (SCM) software, the Advanced Planner and Optimizer, thereby empowering the company`s consultants to pass on first-hand knowledge to clients.

SAP APO is said to provides users with the most sophisticated planning features available for seamless integration with both SAP R/3 and legacy ERP systems.

"SAP APO offers a complete solution enabling close interaction and synchronized planning between all supply chain participants from suppliers, sales representatives and production planners through to purchasers, customers and consumers," says CSIPER SCM specialist Erik Snyman. "Powerful, user-friendly software allows you to model, plan and monitor your supply chain processes from end to end, on a global scale and at various levels of detail. This, in turn, enables implementation of best business practices and the achievement of outstanding improvements in areas such as sales and operations planning, vendor-managed inventory and synchronous manufacturing."

A South African company with a global presence in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation and integration market, CSIPER consults to a number of blue-chip companies, including Barclays Bank, Billiton, British American Tobacco, Caltex, Conlog, Engen, Iscor Speciality Steels, Johnson & Johnson, Land Rover, Lever Ponds, Mitsubishi Electric Taiwan, Mossgas, Sanlam Properties, Singapore Airlines, the South African Post Office and Telkom.

"Properly implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, such as SAP`s R/3, means half the battle for competitiveness has been won," says Snyman. "It is then time to ensure your organization wins the second half by synchronizing its supply chain."

A sophisticated, high-performance SCM system will enable the user to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive business environment by meeting rising customer expectations, slashing development life-cycles and improving the quality of both products and services, while at the same time cutting costs, he says.

"To achieve all this, your systems must be capable of optimizing the performance of the supply chain across multiple dimensions: customer service, costs, investments, profits and speed. Companies need to break down barriers with partners, and use technology to share information. With strong performance measurement tools and an appointed executive to manage the process, companies will be able to effectively integrate the extended supply chain and reap enormous benefit."

That argument is persuasive in the light of the proven benefits of quality SCM, which include increased customer service, reduced inventories, cycle-time compression, lower supply chain variability and maximized return on assets (ROA).

"This adds up to a major bottom-line boost, as efficient supply-chain practices can save a typical company the equivalent of 7% of annual revenues," says Snyman.

In practice, few are yet benefitting to this extent as a survey of North American manufacturers earlier this year reveals: while over 90% of those polled rank SCM as "critical" or "very important" to their company`s success, only 2% rank their own supply chains as world class.

"One major reason for slow supply chain progress is that few companies have developed formal SCM strategies," says Snyman. "Instead, many are launching isolated supply chain initiatives that, because they are not integrated with other core systems, can never result in world-class performance levels."

He strongly supports the view that the supply chain must be redefined to encompass the management of products, information and funds from the raw material supplier to the ultimate consumer.

"Integrated supply chain management and real-time decision-making are crucial in order to keep pace with rapid changes in supply and demand," he says. "The new offerings from SAP enable users to obtain a total overview of the supply chain. This is achieved by integrating information and decisions from the entire supply chain into a seamless, automated and optimized information infrastructure."

The new software has wide application throughout industry. Among the first users are manufacturers of packaged consumer goods, says Wolfgang Eddigehausen, a CSIPER consultant specializing in this field.

"In the packaged consumer goods market, profitability depends increasingly on good day-to-day Promotional Planning and Life-Cycle Management," he says. "Both of these vital operations are made easier with SAP APO. The benefits have proved highly significant for early adopters. The streamlined business processes strengthen the user`s competitive edge and positions the company to expand market share and reap greater profits."