Reduce Overhead and Increase MRP visibility in SAP with Materials Planner / Buyer Role

Espresso Tutorials

Fabian Bentz

SAP Material MasterTraditional manufacturing organizations that operate in an ERP environment include the positions of both materials planners and materials buyers to plan and procure the necessary materials and resources needed for production.  While both functional roles use MRP requirements to make their decisions, it is common for misalignments in scheduled receipts of procured goods to make their way into the production plan.  These misalignments may result from many different unforeseen and legitimate events that cause a supplier to exceed the quoted lead time.  However, the resultant MRP rescheduling that must take place can add significant capacity and resource strain to the host organization, and may eventually lead to poor customer satisfaction.

The issue is not with the supplier.  Surely, even the most trusted supplier will experience these unforeseen issues such as a machine failure or discrepant raw material.  The real issue is with communication and visibility amongst planners and buyers at the host organization.  The world’s most integrated production teams must still take the time to meet and discuss material shortages and rescheduling to maintain proper visibility.  The buyer has visibility into supply issues and the planner has visibility into the demand, but neither has complete supply chain visibility without the other.  This break in visibility can cause significant production time loss while all the parties are engaged in rescheduling.

The solution to this may be found in combining your planner and buyer roles into one position.  This will allow information from the supplier to be directly and effectively implemented into the production plan.  By employing streamlined planning solutions offered by SAP materials management like automatic reorder points, min / max values, rounding values and fixed lot sizing techniques, daily planning fatigue can be significantly reduced.  In parallel, using SAP procurement tools such as automatic PO releases, Basic Order Contracts, and automatic messaging can reduce procurement fatigue.  These solutions add up to saved time, which can allow one person to do the job of two.  Combining these roles not only allows you to increase your supply chain visibility, it also allows you to reduce overhead by employing less resources.

By Espresso Tutorials author Matt Johnson.

Get more great tips in The SAP Material Master – a Practical Guide and learn basic concepts about how to tailor the SAP Material Master to your production environment, as well as detailed information on material master settings and their impact.