Forecasting and resolving capacity issues in production planning with SAP S/4HANA pMRP 

In this article, we briefly introduce SAP’s new predictive material and resource planning solution, the steps of the simulation, and also an SAP pMRP sample process for a finished product.

Brief description of the SAP pMRP solution

Predictive Material and Resource Planning or pMRP for short, is a new functionality available since the SAP S/4HANA 1909 version, supporting the efforts of production planners in medium and long-term planning in a simple and user-friendly fashion.

The goal of the pMRP is to identify potential capacity problems in production and supply at an early stage and to support the evaluation of solutions using a simplified material requirements planning algorithm.

In this article, we briefly present where predictive MRP is positioned in the production planning chain, review the basic process associated with the function, and the array of prerequisites and master data required for the execution.

Finally, we illustrate the practical operation of a predictive material and resource design solution through an example developed in a live system.

High-level introduction of the production planning process in the SAP S/4HANA pMRP solution

First, let’s review the entire SAP S/4HANA production planning process shown in the figure below.

The first step in any case is Sales & Operations Planning, supported by the comprehensive SAP IBP (Integrated Business Planning) solution.

The next step is Demand Management, followed by the long-term material and resource planning. Previously a feature called Long-Term Planning (LTP) was recommended by SAP for this step, but pMRP is aimed to replace this.

Once the overall basic planning is done, it is followed by Master Production Scheduling and Material and Resource Planning, which can be executed in a single step using MRP Live.

The results of MRP Live planning can then be scheduled and optimized using S/4HANA Embedded PPDS (Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling).

Finally, this is succeeded by the execution of the production and finally the order settlement.

The complete SAP S/4HANA production planning process

Figure 1: The complete SAP S/4HANA production planning process.

Developing a Predictive Material and Resource Planning Process in SAP

Next, let’s examine the details of the SAP predictive MRP solution.

As mentioned above, a similar solution was previously available in the SAP landscape under the name of Long-Term Planning (LTP). However, compared to pMRP, LTP requires a much more complex master data structure and takes longer to set up.

In contrast, pMRP works with a simplified input file and does not require complicated setup steps to operate.

The pMRP design process consists of the following steps:

The SAP pMRP planning process

Figure 2: The SAP pMRP planning process.

The first step is to define the pMRP scenario, where the master data which the planning is based on is determined. Then, in the second step, these master data are copied to the simulation data model, on which the simulation itself is created in the third step.

This is followed by the fourth step, running the SAP predictive material and resource planning simulation, and in the fifth step the evaluation of it. During the evaluation of the pMRP simulation, it is possible to compare several different results and to run each simulation again if necessary.

Finally, at the end of the process, the modifications can be transferred to the live plan, taking into account the simulation results, thus reducing the likelihood of future capacity and supply problems. 

Data structure of the predictive material and resource planning

As mentioned above, the operation of the SAP pMRP is based on a simplified data structure. This structure contains the following objects:

  • The range of materials to be planned
  • Bill of materials
  • Work center and related capacity parameters
  • Routing
  • Production version
  • Planned independent requirements uploaded into the system

Overview of the SAP pMRP sample process for a finished product

Now a predictive material and resource planning sample process will be presented, which illustrates the practical operation of the SAP pMRP function. In the example we follow the steps of the predictive planning of a finished product, whose above listed production master data meets the necessary prerequisites.

Creating Planned independent requirements

As the first step the planned independent requirements have to be created, which form the basis of the planning. The Create PIRs (Planned Independent Requirements) SAP Fiori tile can be used for this.

After launching the SAP Fiori Create PIRs application, the material number to be planned and the plant code is entered on the selection screen.

Following this, the planned production quantities on a weekly basis are loaded, as shown in the figure below.

Create SAP PIRs tile

Loading the planned production quantities on a weekly basis

Figure 3: Loading the planned production quantities on a weekly basis.

Creating Predictive Material and Resource Planning Simulation in SAP Fiori

The second step in the predictive material and resource planning process is to create the simulation. As this is a new feature, this task can only be initiated via the SAP Fiori interface using the Schedule pMRP Simulation Creation tile. The traditional GUI transaction is not available.

The pMRP simulation is started at the finished product level, as a single and instant run (it is also possible to create scheduled repetitive runs), with the parameters shown in the image below. The predictive material and resource planning reference data and the simulation also received a unique identifier, the period to be examined and the weekly breakdown for the evaluation of the plan was set. In addition, the material number and plant were entered as initial parameters.

SAP schedule pMRP simulation creation tile

Creating Predictive Material and Resource Planning Simulation in SAP Fiori

Figure 4: Creating Predictive Material and Resource Planning Simulation in SAP Fiori.

Evaluation of the pMRP simulation results in the SAP Fiori solution

According to the settings, the SAP Fiori pMRP simulation was completed in a few seconds, so the next, third step can follow, during which the results can be evaluated. To do this, the Process pMRP Simulations Fiori tile has to be used. A traditional GUI transaction is not available in this case either.

After launching the application, the simulations performed so far can be listed. The screenshot below shows that the predictive run created in the previous step appears in the list. Even in this view it is visible that the system encountered 4 capacity problems during the planning.

Process pMRP simulations tile

Evaluation of the pMRP simulation results in the SAP Fiori solution

Figure 5: Evaluation of the pMRP simulation results in the SAP Fiori solution.

For a more detailed analysis, the SAP Fiori’s Simulation Summary feature can be used. Clicking this button will display a summary on a weekly basis about at which work centers and what level of inadequate capacity is expected.

SAP Fiori Simulation Summary feature

Figure 6: SAP Fiori Simulation Summary feature.

Solution options for the Demand Plan Simulation

To start the solution process, the SAP Fiori Simulation Views button has to be clicked, where the user can choose from several options. In this example, the operation of the Demand Plan Simulation and the Capacity Plan Simulation functions will be demonstrated, as these may provide a solution to the problem at hand.

First, we have to examine the solution options for the Demand Plan Simulation. Selecting this will display the screen shown below. The system indicates with a red frame during which weeks the problem is expected to occur.

SAP demand plan simulation view tile

SAP Fiori Demand Plan Simulation function

Figure 7: SAP Fiori Demand Plan Simulation function.

The user can also access a more detailed analysis by clicking on the framed fields in the SAP Fiori Demand Plan Simulation interface. To do this, the Multi-Level Material Simulation function key has to be pressed. The following interface will appear, where the user has two options to resolve the problems.

SAP Fiori Multi-Level Material Simulation function

Figure 8: SAP Fiori Multi-Level Material Simulation function.

Either we change the source of the given component (Change Source of Supply) if it is possible to replace the in-house production with an external supply, or we change the planned quantities. However, this can reduce the Delivery Performance, so in this example we do not select these solutions, but use another method, which can be accessed using the Capacity Planning Simulation.

In this view, the SAP Fiori Demand Plan Simulation system also indicates in red, which week and at which work center the capacity problem is occurring. On this interface, we do not examine the capacity in unit measurements, but in hours. It is clear that the capacity issues are also graphically represented at the bottom of the screen. 

SAP Fiori Demand Plan Simulation function

Figure 9: SAP Fiori Demand Plan Simulation function.

In this simulation view, the system offers three possible solutions: either ignoring the capacity issues (Disregard Capacity Issues) or change the capacity available for the given week (Change Available Capacity). As an additional third option the requirements can be rescheduled with the Shift Demand softkey.

hen the interface below will appear, where the SAP pMRP system suggests rescheduling the excess quantities that are causing the issue. 

SAP Fiori Shift Demand function

Figure 10: SAP Fiori Shift Demand function.

When the Adopt Proposal button and then the Apply function is clicked, the demand quantities will be rescheduled within the predictive material and resource planning simulation. It is easy to see that with the acceptance of the above recommended change, the number of capacity problems within the simulation reduced from four to three.

Result of the recommended change in SAP Fiori Multi-Level Material Simulation function

Figure 11: Result of the recommended change in SAP Fiori Multi-Level Material Simulation function.

By performing the same process for all fields marked in red, the number of problems can be reduced to zero without compromising the 100% Delivery Performance, as shown in the simulation main interface below.

SAP Fiori Multi-Level Material Simulation function’s main screen

Figure 12: SAP Fiori Multi-Level Material Simulation function’s main screen.

After that, the only thing the user has to do is to enable the activation of the SAP Fiori pMRP simulation results using the Release button. As a result, a new plan version will be created instead of the previously loaded planned independent quantities, so the plan can be executed without the capacity and the delivery performance problems. 

Activating the results of the Demand Plan Simulation

Activating the results of SAP Fiori’s Demand Plan Simulation

Figure 13: Activating the results of SAP Fiori’s Demand Plan Simulation.

Benefits of the SAP pMRP

To summarize the above, SAP’s predictive MRP’s simple and flexible operation, user-friendly interface, and visual elements offer significant support in planning the material and resource needs in the medium and long term.

Therefore, the use of SAP’s Predictive Material and Resource Planning solution is recommended for all midsize and large enterprises, where potential capacity problems create serious risks, since these can be predicted and eliminated with the pMRP application.

The flexibility of the SAP pMRP solution is increased by the fact that not only can it be activated during a system implementation, but it is also possible to activate and start using this function in a live SAP system. The only thing required is to purchase the SAP S/4HANA for Extended Planning license package.

Onespire Ltd.’s SAP pMRP services

If you are planning to implement an SAP predictive MRP solution, our company can provide professional support in obtaining the necessary SAP S/4HANA for Extended Planning licenses and then in activating and parameterizing the SAP S 4HANA pMRP function.

In addition, if required our colleagues can efficiently execute the synchronization of the master data required for the usage of the function, and the daily support activities.

Do you have any questions about developing or optimizing the SAP pMRP processes? Send us a message and our experts will contact you!

Forecasting and resolving capacity issues in production planning with SAP S/4HANA pMRP

Author: Péter Turóczi

SAP Warehouse and Transport Logistics Competence Centre

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