SAP S/4HANA Conversion: Why Disruptive Technologies Alone will Not Disrupt Your Shop Floor

Jan 10, 2019 posted by Steve Ladouceur under SAP

s/4 hana conversion

The IT innovations are leaping out at an astronomical pace. New buzzwords are gathering and losing storm quite often. This new IT nomenclature is invoking fears and feelings of hesitation in the manufacturing enterprises as they contemplate the conversion to SAP S/4HANA. If you think it’s all a donkey work, let’s quickly come up to speed with the new terminology of IT that is creating the clutter.

The IT Buzzwords of Today

  • Cloud Computing
  • The Internet of Things
  • The Industrial Internet of Things
  • Industry 4.0
  • Digital Transformation
  • Intelligent Enterprises
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Disruptive Innovation/Technologies

What Factors Feed the Fear of Manufacturing Shop Floors?
 

The term ‘disruptive’, particularly in Manufacturing Operations, is unheard of. The usual value drivers are reducing IT costs through consolidations, replacing out-of-date IT systems with new-age technologies, improving capabilities in Financial Consolidations, and providing Reporting and/or Customer-facing capabilities in Order Management.
 
While there’s no doubt that manufacturing stands to gain by natural integration that any modern ERP System provides, we also know that IT projects consume resources. The pricey proposition dampens the growing enthusiasm and most enterprises prefer to stay off the course.
 
However, to be disruptive and at the forefront of the digital economy, the manufacturing enterprises must increasingly focus on improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), reducing cost overheads, and collaborating with industrial engineers to become more responsive and drive transformational value. Contrary to this, they continually look within Manufacturing Execution Systems as a microcosm, which is indeed a shoddy approach to enable technological improvements.
 
Unfortunately, if you are an SAP shop, a conversion to SAP S/4HANA is a binding requirement as the mainstream maintenance of SAP ECC 6 is projected to end in 2025.

The Good Part

Those, in the IT, know that Core Manufacturing Processes in SAP S/4HANA haven’t substantially changed—which proves that the mere adoption of disruptive technologies will not disrupt the shop floor.
 
In order to convert to SAP S/4HANA, whether as a new implementation or system conversion, enterprises have to adopt well-founded agile methodologies and new tools to make it as seamless as possible.
 
The thought that SAP suggests, which we at Kellton Tech also embrace, is: Start Small, Think Big, Move Fast.

SAP S/4HANA System Conversion Improves Manufacturing Operations 

While IT ninjas already know that converting to SAP S/4HANA is a strategic necessity for enabling the next-level digitally-savvy shop floors, manufacturing enterprises kill its essence by choosing to adopt a ‘monkey-see-monkey-do’ approach. They must understand the importance SAP S/4HANA conversion beyond the usual necessity and make efforts to accomplish it. 
There are a number of new capabilities that are emerging around SAP S/4HANA at a rapid pace, and old IT limitations are eventually fading off. Before applying it right away, you must act decisively and get a hang around the capabilities available. Here is a round-up of all the disruptive capabilities available to you. Note that these technologies aren’t new, rather, they are more integrated with SAP S/4HANA. 

1.    Integrated Business Planning: A robust solution with immense collaborative and simulative capabilities ensures that your business is operating according to plan.
 
2.    Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling: The functionality and originality of the Advanced Planner and Optimizer have been pulled into core S/4HANA, and includes capabilities for planning in a constricted environment.
 
3.    Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning: This is a new MRP Type that separates the levels of manufacturing and plans them independently to optimize inventory levels. The benefit is in reducing how the variability in Finished Goods exponentiates to Sub- Assemblies, and Raw Materials, to stabilize planning.
 
4.    Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence: A platform that works by integrating shop floors with back-office processes.
 
5.    Manufacturing Execution: A pre-configured manufacturing execution system for discrete manufacturing.
 
6.    Fiori: A new front-end window into SAP with tile-based applications and full mobility, offering a more intuitive user experience than predecessors.
 
7.    Leonardo: A platform for SAP innovation containing emerging intelligent technologies such as:
a.    Internet of Things
b.    Machine Learning
c.    Big Data
d.    Data Intelligence
e.    Analytics
f.    Edge Computing

8.    SAP Analytics Cloud: A new business intelligence solution that delivers predictive analytics. 

Application of Disruptive Technologies to Improve Manufacturing Operations

The winning formula, “Start small, Think big, Move fast,” is the core mantra for improving manufacturing operations. This formula suggests that manufacturing businesses must ‘Think of the most pressing concerns, use imagination, and take mind beyond the limitations of the past.’ If you can think it, we can solve it. 

Kellton Tech can help with POC deployments of these new technologies and help enterprises scale fast in order to achieve improvements. We help you deploy fail-proof solutions by imagining the most complex use cases we have worked in, and find the exact pressure points that might impact the operations. This is called Predictive Maintenance. 

In case of an existing preventive maintenance system, integration of sensors to machines is possible to boost their potential. With us, you can visualize a shop floor facility where:

  • The readings of temperature, vibration, and/or pressure sensors on the machines are monitored automatically in real-time
  • A reading falls outside the defined tolerance 
  • Maintenance Managers, Operations Managers, and Shop Floor Supervisors are notified of information via emails and texts to their Smartphones
  • Maintenance Notifications are automatically created in the SAP System, for the correct piece of equipment, with its functional location, and the list of components that might possibly need replacement
  • Equipment drawings and manuals can be accessed from any mobile device
  • During diagnosis, spare part availability and reordering applications are available from any mobile device
  • Planners are notified of required downtime

At the same time:

  • A large video screen is deployed in the Maintenance Managers office, wherever that may be
  • A virtual representation of a factory floor is available, with the live status of every production line
  • OEE is automatically measured and displayed in real-time
  • Simple traffic light style visualizations pull attention to issues
  • Any piece of equipment can be drilled into, to see operating details
  • Live charts show a running value of any measured parameter
  • Downtime by reason code is always immediately available on any time horizon
     

s 4hana conversion path

As a leading SAP Gold partner, Kellton Tech uses design thinking and agile methods to design, develop, and deliver industry-specific solutions with new and disruptive technologies such as SAP Cloud Platform, SAP S/4HANA, the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, Analytics, and Mobile.
 

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