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Hot Topics from 2017

The Eventful Group conducted an extensive research project over 12 weeks with Supply Chain & Procurement stakeholders around the world. The project featured two customer focus groups representing over 30 organizations across a variety of industries, with the goal of understanding the most pressing challenges and opportunities that customers face, and will face, in the SAP SC & P environment. We also interviewed over a dozen industry thought-leaders, internal SAP folks and partner experts to leverage their deep collective insights regarding the current state and trends in Supply Chain & Procurement, and to ascertain their outlooks for the future of the space – the innovative, visionary developments that are transforming the maintenance and asset management landscape.

The 2017 Mastering Supply Chain & Procurement with SAP Solutions conference will be built upon the topics outlined below, gathered as a result of our research. Download the full Research Report to see our comprehensive findings.

Interested in Our Research Report?
  • Reporting & Analytics

    Accurate and timeous reporting and analytics are crucial in efficient supply chain and procurement operations. With buzzwords like ‘big data’ and ‘data disruption’ being heard across the board, the spotlight has never been more focused on this! Many organisations are still trying to achieve consistent and effective reporting capabilities. In order to do so, it is vital that organisations know what reporting tools are available as well as which of these are best suited for their organisation.

    • Essential industry KPIs and how to measure them through SAP
    • The myriad of SAP tools available for analytics – keeping up with new names, what each does, which are mature and proven? BI, HANA, Lumira, Design Studio etc.
    • Getting the most out of core SAP reporting before you invest in new solutions
    • How are other organisations leveraging analytics in the supply chain?
    • How can you improve visibility and drive efficiencies?
    • Spend analysis tips and tricks
    • Leveraging real-time and predictive analytics to drive efficiency and improve revenue
    • Demand and supply balancing
    • Insights into reporting on BBBEE
  • Tools, Integration, Customisations & Mobility

    There are an increasing amount of exciting new tools and technology offerings that are enabling more efficient supply chain and procurement processes. These include new modules, enhancements of modules, third party tools, mobile solutions, user experience enhancements and cloud-based applications. With the myriad of options available, choosing the right solution for your unique purpose can be overwhelming. In addition, running a slick SAP operation is dependent on the successful integration of all of your tools and modules, which can be challenging. Lastly, some organisations are still heavily reliant on cutomised solutions to meet their business needs, but is customisation always necessary?

    • Tips and tricks for developing a mobility strategy and rolling out mobility projects seamlessly
    • Device and user interfaces that suit your business requirements
    • Case studies from customers who are successfully using mobility in their supply chain
    • Third party tools available in the supply chain & procurement space, and ‘when’ to use ‘what’
    • Licensing considerations around new tools and software
    • ROI for technology investments and factors to consider when quantifying an investment
    • Recognising the prime moment in time to invest in new technology to improve the organisation’s supply chain
    • Cross-modular, cross-platform and third party integration considerations
    • SAP standard vs third party tools vs customisation
    • Barcoding technology
    • Supply Chain applications in the Cloud
  • Managing Master Data

    The topic of master data management is always one of much debate and contention. The debate varies from who in the organisation should own master data management - business or IT - to how master data should be governed and maintained, to which tools should be utilised to assist in this. Ultimately, effective master data management is pivotal to the ongoing success of any organisation. It is critical that IT teams support business teams in managing master data.

    • Developing, implementing and maintaining an effective data management strategy
    • Structuring and managing Free Text – Free Text best practice
    • Understanding when to centralise and when to decentralise master data processes
    • Creating processes around building, changing and deleting data
    • Vendor Master management and BBBEE Compliance
    • Automation in master data management – what is possible?
    • Using source lists optimally
    • How to go about identifying inaccuracies in master data and strategies to maintain accuracies
    • Understanding the impact of master data on different business areas
    • MRP master data optimisation
  • Warehouse Management & Transportation Management

    There have been many exciting developments in the logistics space in recent years. Businesses are beginning to reap the benefits of more efficient warehouse and transportation management with the help of new tools and offerings from SAP and third parties. Questions to be vitally considered include: What’s next for logistics, and what are the right solutions for your organisation?

    • What are the latest developments in SAP’s TM module? Real experiences with new functionality
    • Explore the ROI of SAP TM – how have others achieved it?
    • Ascertain whether SAP EWM is useful and appropriate for your organization, and what the new functionalities are
    • Ensuring you’re making the most from core SAP before leaping to add-on solutions
    • Utilisation of RFID tags in warehouses
    • Integrating Internet of Things into Warehouse Management
    • Facilities layout design
    • Learn more about the SAP Yard Logistics offering
    • Centralisation in distribution – what tools are available and ‘when’ to use ‘what’?
    • Mobility solutions for warehouse operations and transportation
    • Test automation in Solution Manager
  • Disruptive Technologies, Innovation and the Future of Supply Chain & Procurement

    We are living in the digital age and the emergence of disruptive technology is rife! Although plenty of the new technology on the market still seems so far out of reach for many organisations in South Africa, there is no doubt that these solutions will make a pronounced positive impact on businesses in the future. The questions that reign within this domain include: How will these disruptive technologies impact the future of supply chain and procurement, and what is possible right now? 

    • Insights into SAP’s roadmap for supply chain & procurement
    • The impact of S/4HANA on supply chain & procurement processes
    • What does a true digital supply chain look like?
    • Harnessing digital solutions to improve integration across the entire supply chain
    • How to employ digital solutions in complex supply chains
    • Which processes can benefit most from automation?
    • What does a next-generation supply chain look like?
    • Technologies and solutions promising to bring supply chain into the 21st century
    • Insights into SAP’s mobility roadmap for supply chain
    • Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) Learning
    • How to future-proof your supply chain and SAP system
    • SAP’s recent development to make customer-centricity easier. How do solutions like Hybris affect supply chain?
  • Change Management, Training & Resourcing

    The introduction of new technology in organisations comes with all sorts of complications and challenges. The biggest challenge, more often than not, is getting the users to fully adopt new tools and technology and use them to improve the business processes for which they are responsible. With a workforce that can sometimes be considered as “stuck in a rut” and comfortable with the deeply embedded (and often outmoded) processes to which they’ve become accustomed, training and change management is needed to drive a culture of technological adoption, advancement and progression. Sustainable and effective training methods need to be developed for technical teams, as well as business users, to ensure that massive technology investments are worthwhile and fruitful long after implementation.

    • Setting up your organisational structure for success
    • How to inspire and energise an already-stretched workforce to embrace technology
    • Finding skills and knowledge on SAP – both core functionality and new solutions
    • Designing and upgrading your system to meet the needs of current and future generations
    • Communicating the importance of change management in any technology transformation
    • Latest developments in training and change management of the future
    • How can you enhance SAP to make it more usable for non-super-users?
    • The supply chain & procurement teams of the future
    • Upskilling on SAP standard – understanding what is possible
    • How to get more out of what we already own
    • Introducing new SAP Technologies – training and change management considerations
    • Best practice MRP application
    • Bridging the skills gap across the SAP knowledge spectrum
  • Procurement Processes, Challenges & Developments

    It goes without saying that an effective procurement operation is essential for the overall success of a business. It is therefore essential that businesses are investing time and money into ensuring that procurement teams are equipped to perform optimally. Procurement Managers and their teams need to understand more about the technical solutions that are available to aid procurement processes, as well as how to overcome the unique challenges that procurement departments face in a South African context.

    • Longer-term strategic planning and negotiations to free up working capital
    • How much automation can be built into procurement processes?
    • Incorporating rigour and governance into contracts and purchasing through technology, as well as building a business case for more sophisticated procurement and sourcing tools
    • Contract management best practice
    • Exploring Ariba and key associated questions which include: Which modules can provide the most value? How are organisations making Ariba work for them? How does Ariba compare to alternative solutions?
    • SAP’s product roadmap for sourcing and procurement. What should you be preparing for?
    • Methods to report on procurement effectiveness
    • Purchase Order best practice in SAP
    • E-procurement in the South African market – cost considerations, challenges and benefits
    • BBBEE considerations in procurement
    • How SAP and third parties are helping organisations become more “green”
    • Procurement outsourcing – the good, the bad and the ugly
    • Centralised vs decentralised procurement
    • How do we take fragmented purchasing units and bring them together – what tools are available? What can be leveraged?
  • Supply Chain Strategies of the Future

    In the current climate of economic uncertainty within which the simultaneous advancement of technology is occurring at warp speed, the need for an agile and long-term strategy for all areas of business has never been more necessary. From a business perspective, there is much those in strategic positions need to consider when outlining their future strategies. These range from economic challenges to the next-generation workforce, and from diversity to cross-functional integration, among others. From a technical perspective, building a roadmap that supports a business’ strategic objectives and aligns with SAPs product roadmap, whilst ensuring a solid support pipeline, is imperative. Leaders need to have a clear understanding of both so as to be able to adequately prepare.

    • Understand how future technologies are enabling future strategies
    • Ensuring tactical execution of strategies
    • Aligning supply chain strategies with the organisation’s vision
    • Getting rid of silos within your organisation and simplifying the entire supply chain
    • Preparing for the next-generation workforce
    • How to improve the interoperability between businesses and functions
    • Bringing centralisation into your supply chain strategy – what are the different options and approaches?
  • Demand Planning & Materials Management

    Supply chain efficiency is heavily dependent on accurate forecasting and demand planning. Managing materials flawlessly is equally as crucial in ensuring that businesses have access to materials when and where they are needed. There have been some interesting technological developments in both areas, and organisations are increasingly adopting these to improve processes and to ultimately prevent wastage and redundant stock.

    • Better planning and forecast accuracy to ensure the preservation of stock and the minimising of wastage
    • Comparing the tools available and SAP’s roadmap for each – ECC vs. S/4 vs. APO vs. S&OP on HANA vs. IBP
    • Barcoding for inventory management
    • Integrating Supply Chain Planning & Financial Planning
    • Utilising tools that are already available in core SAP to provide accurate forecasts with SAP Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)
    • Managing expiry dates with notifications and early alerts
    • Know your inventory - differentiating and managing stock items
    • What are the best tools available for inventory management?
    • Inventory optimisation – a balance between customer service levels and internal service levels
    • Mobile solutions available for stock management


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