Solving Stock Challenges in Real-Time

For the consumer product industry, one of the main challenges is ensuring that products are in stock in sufficient quantities to meet customers’ demand while at the same time dealing with expiration issues: goods that are about to become unsellable due to a too short remaining shelf life.

If a stock problem occurs, countermeasures are often taken by different departments, e.g. one unit being responsible for fixing expiration issues (stock at risk), another being in charge of avoiding shortages. Unaligned countermeasures, however, may have a contra-productive effect, such as a short supply leading to an increased production, which then increases both production cost and stock at risk.

Today the work of the stock analyst, whose responsibility is to ensure the right stock-balance, consists of a time consuming collection and compilation of data from heterogeneous systems. Yet, the consolidated view only represents a snapshot in time, and reality may have changed before any decision has been made. Thus, companies need to make a decision without having a full and consistent overview of all relevant cost and profit elements, resulting in potentially false decisions.

In a co-innovation project, the Innovation Center Network joined forces with selected consumer product companies to develop a solution that helps overcome these challenges. The prototypical Stock Champion App breaks the organizational silos by integrating both logistic and financial information from S/4HANA in a single application. This holistic, real-time view of both stock at risk (expiration) and short supply in one application enables unprecedented informed decision making for the consumer product industry. By using projections based on real-time insights, the app proposes prioritized solutions before a problem even occurs, utilizing external as well internal data.

This early-stage Stock Champion App demonstrates how new possibilities unfold when one rethinks business applications based on S/4 HANA. The ICN will continue to collaborate closely with selected consumer product companies as well as our colleagues from SAP S/4 HANA Finance and SAP Simple Logistics in order to see how and to what extent functionalities presented in the Stock Champion App may be implemented in future SAP software.

Watch the replay of Prof. Hasso Plattner’s keynote at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015, introducing the Stock Champion App: