Hot Topics

Eventful Conferences recently conducted an in-depth research initiative to identify the top priorities professionals are facing in the areas of materials & logistics management. Interviews were conducted with 40+ customers representing over a dozen industries using SAP to run their business.  The attendees – all involved in various areas of supply chain & materials management – were asked what issues they are facing with SAP and what topics they would like to see covered at the inaugural 2017 SAP-Centric Materials & Logistics conference.

The challenges listed below make up the wish list of the North American materials & logistics community, designed by the community, for the community. These Hot Topics will be addressed by a combination of local and international customers, thought leaders, SAP experts, and technology partners at the SAP-Centric Materials & Logistics conference in Huntington Beach, CA, March 5-8, 2017.

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  • MRO & Spare Parts

    Preventive and routine maintenance rely on the proper management of spare parts to complete their work. Often challenged to keep inventory low, MRO & Spare Parts management becomes a balancing act of competing priorities. Customers have identified the following areas they look to continue to improve:

    • Tracking service parts inventory data for planning, monitoring and forecasting
    • Automating the process of spare part usage and replenishment
    • Reducing excessive parts holding to free up capital
    • Maintaining master data to allow for smooth plant maintenance integration
    • Integrating accounting rules and accounts payable with MRO processes
  • Track & Trace Visibility

    As businesses continue to operate in a larger global network with outsourced processes it is important to run strategically to guarantee regulations are adhered to. The track and tracing of products needs clear visibility to ensure quality through the entire process.

    • Leveraging Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and barcode technology to deliver traceability in real-time
    • Using SAP Event Management application to manage processes across partners, inventories and assets
    • Improving visibility and feedback time to increase customer and business partner satisfaction
    • Uncovering exceptions quickly that do not match planned processes
    • Accurately meeting requirements of traceability compliance reporting and batch genealogy
  • Inventory Optimization & Inventory Management

    Forecasting and predictive analytics are top of mind as supply chain professionals shared their need to free up capital while maintaining optimal inventory levels. Explore business scenarios that illustrate how to prevent stock-outs, improve demand response time and asset utilization, reduce inventory, and enable faster order cycle times using SAP technology

    • Balancing the need to keep inventory levels low whilst planning for the unknown
    • Understanding where SAP Business Objects Dashboards have been harnessed to improve the visibility of inventory performance
    • Using inventory analysis to highlight inefficiencies in your supply chain
    • Effectively using cycle counts to manage inventory and verify accuracy
    • Using SAP Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) SAP to provide accurate forecasts
    • Understanding how other organizations have successfully forecasted demand
  • Master Data Management / Managing Material & Vendor Masters

    The SAP world is changing. In the last two years more data was produced globally than in all of history. As this data volume continues to grow exponentially, clean and accurate master data becomes even more imperative to the organization.

    • Identifying who should own master data quality and integrity in your organization
    • Quantifying the risk of “bad data” in your organization
    • Integrating a breadth of data from different business units and external systems
    • Creating accurate service masters to ease service purchase orders
    • Building data correctly from the start so materials masters contain full information for specs, etc.
    • Leveraging data for greater visibility, predictive capabilities and process optimization
    • Synchronizing data flow throughout the supply chain in procurement, inventory, production, maintenance and customer service
  • Reporting

    As more data becomes available it is important that the business uses the information to make strategic decisions. Real-time reporting and dashboards are reshaping the way executives look at their business. Using predictive analytics is slowly becoming the standard for an effective asset management and supply chain team.

    • Harnessing comprehensive cross-functional data for quick and informed decisions
    • Effectively getting material data in the hands of our people is where it is important
    • Reducing inventory values by 20% with standard reports available in ERP
    • Using SAP technology to provide self-service reporting to customers and suppliers
    • Understanding how SAP’s HANA tool can enhance supply chain reporting
    • Identifying best practices data visualization techniques for dashboards and report
    • Leveraging real-time reporting and predictive analytics
  • Sourcing & Procurement

    Sourcing and procurement is ripe for digital disruption. Innovations are completely transforming capabilities in this space. However, not all organizations are ready to make the switch and still have a multitude of unanswered questions.

    • Building an end-to-end source-to-pay solution with SAP
    • Understanding Ariba and how it integrates with standard ERP solutions
    • Building a business case for more sophisticated procurement and sourcing tools
    • Understanding how to leverage Ariba and SAP’s Supply Network Collaboration (SNC) to improve collaboration and visibility
    • Capturing procurement contracts and data in one tool
    • Managing spend through automated approvals of purchase requisitions
    • Cost considerations around e-procurement and insights into the use of e-catalogues
    • Designing effective catalog content management to create a single source of truth accessible from anywhere for all customers, suppliers, etc.
    • Improving governance over procurement and sourcing decisions
    • SAP’s product roadmap for sourcing and procurement. What should you be preparing for?
  • Contract Management for Goods & Services

    Automation and standardization are keys to success in managing source-to-contract processes. The supply chain community needs greater visibility and control over how hard won contracts are administered every day.

    • Developing a sustainable contract strategy
    • Managing the indirect costs of non-adherence to contracts
    • Maximizing savings through contract compliance
    • Taking advantage of Ariba’s centralized repository and leveraging tool for contract creation
    • Identifying best practices on linking service masters to contracts
    • Understanding how automation can be built into contracts and payments
  • Contractor Management

    Management of contractors is a difficult task filled with varying requirements and complicated agreements. Organizations continue to seek best practices for management of outsourced labor.

    • Managing contractors on site, is a significant safety challenge
    • Understanding permits to work and qualifications
    • Using Fieldglass as a technology to solve third party contract labor challenges
  • Transportation

    The fundamental role of carrier negotiations and reducing costs is now only one small piece of transportation management. Transportation departments are tasked with finding ways to save money while still maintaining high customer service levels in order to stay competitive.

    • Using SAP TM to manage the entire transportation process through order management to financial settlement
    • Improving transportation decision-making processes with automation
    • Utilizing TM for e-Tendering
    • Learning how to incorporate transport costs into your material valuation
    • Understanding how others are harnessing mobile technology in transportation
    • Examining the value of SAP’s TM (Transportation Management) 9 solution
  • Warehousing

    Customers are interested to hear what others have done with SAP’s Extended Warehouse Management solution and if it is a good fit for them. Organizations are constantly looking to cut costs and time in warehouse operations.

    • Leveraging SAP’s standard warehouse management tools to their full capability
    • Discover how voice technology can improve warehouse efficiency
    • Using mobile data collection on the shop floor to increase inventory integrity
    • Dealing with the process change around new tools for warehouse management
    • Insights into the future of warehousing, transportation and logistics from an SAP perspective
    • Exploring SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management) to improve stock accuracy and obtain a greater visibility of processes
  • Asset Lifecycle Management

    Effective asset lifecycle management is the key to success for asset intensive industries. The integration of an effective materials management team and asset management group can increase the lifetime of assets and improve the overall business.

    • Identifying a single source of truth for asset information needed by internal groups including both materials and maintenance teams
    • Using analytics to make decisions around asset management


  • Integrated Business Planning

    Technology for this critical function continues to evolve. Customers are looking to solve the following:

    • Identifying supply chain’s role in IBP
    • Understanding where and when to integrate your supply chain to improve efficiencies
    • Learning how the SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) platform built on SAP HANA can change/improve the supply chain planning approach
    • Making accurate planning a priority for the business and obtaining sponsorship from the top
    • Understanding how SAP IBP can integrate across the organization to deliver real-time dashboards and advance predictive analytics
  • Change Management

    As organizations continue to purchase new technology and improve processes, success can only come from a skilled workforce. Involving end users in process decisions and conducting proper training are perhaps often more important to the success of an implementation than the technology itself.

    • Gaining an understanding of how a large system implementation will affect supply chain functions
    • Involving end users prior to implementation to improve user adoption
    • Obtaining strong management support to promote business engagement from the top-down
    • Communicating the importance of change management in any technology transformation
    • Building the relationship and collaboration between business and IT
    • Identifying practical ways to enhance collaboration and performance in your team

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