SAP's Strategy for Intelligent Asset Management Solutions & Digital Intelligence in the Supply Chain

SAP’s Strategy for Intelligent Asset Management Solutions & Digital Intelligence in the Supply Chain

The most recent SAP Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Conference: “Mastering SAP Enterprise Asset Management” took place in Australia last November 22-24, 2019. For three days, SAP experts, partners, and end customers presented and discussed latest developments in SAP products. The conference also covered SAP deployment and use in a variety of novel solutions for different industrial sectors. These sectors included manufacturing, energy, water management, logistics, oil & gas, food & beverage, and smart farming.

An abundance of over fifty conference presentations focused on leading-edge SAP solutions and included mainstream products such as SAP Intelligent Asset Management, Intelligent Supply Chain Management, and S/4 HANA. It also showcased more specialised solutions in areas like Mobile Asset Management and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) dashboards.

A key highlight of the conference was the participation of different stakeholders, who contributed complementary perspectives about how to deploy, use, and fully leverage SAP EAM solutions. SAP experts and executives introduced unique technical views on the functionalities of emerging SAP products with an outlook towards their readiness and evolution for the Industry 4.0 era.

At the same time, SAP partners and customers presented real-life experiences from the practical deployment of SAP solutions, focusing on the ever-important business process reengineering, and techno-economic evaluation processes. Some presentations were given jointly by both solution provider and end-user where they discussed the same project from different perspectives.

Although presentations were delivered by dozens of speakers from all over the world, most of the customer presentations and case studies came from industrial organisations in Australia and New Zealand.

SAP’s Strategy for Intelligent Asset Management Solutions

Mastering SAP EAM Australia - Manufacturing Mining

SAP Intelligent Asset Management (IAM) was among the core and most widely discussed topics of the conference. SAP experts provided insights into how the company’s IAM solutions are destined to deliver the next generation of asset management solutions. They also highlighted added value features of these solutions. For example, they covered predictive insights into the assets and tools for more effective collaboration between asset management stakeholders and supply chain partners. Techniques for asset performance estimation and tracking were also discussed.

SAP’s strategy for next-generation asset management was presented by Patrick Crampton-Thomas, SAP’s Head of Digital Asset Management. The presentation emphasised the disruptive impact of IAM solutions on enterprise operations. Collaborative best practices enable new business models by integrating silos and transitioning from reactive to prescriptive maintenance. Equipment-as-a-service and other pay-per-use models were illustrated as examples.

In another presentation given by Matthew Easlea, Chief Strategy Officer for Intelligent Asset Management with SAP, it was emphasised that all business partners should share the same information and be able to interpret it based on commonly agreed semantics.

The presentation also discussed the role of industry standards (e.g., ISO 14224, ISO 15926) in producing and sharing meaningful information about assets across the entire chain of stakeholders.

Dean Fitt and Alex Mathew talked about SAP’s Asset and Performance Management Strategy (ASPM) towards handling risks, failures, and reliability. They presented a risk-based approach to identifying critical assets and strategies for their optimal management.  They also identified the use of prediction and simulation as key activities for improving reliability and reducing downtimes. Finally, they also stressed the importance of collaboration across asset management stakeholders.

In addition to insights delivered by SAP executives, several SAP customers showcased their experiences of the practical issues of asset management deployments. For example, in a presentation given by David Peters of ElectraNet (electricity transmission company) and Anthony Cook of Enerven (energy and equipment solutions provider), a case study about the management of assets across their entire lifecycle was presented and demonstrated. Key success factors for the project included a commitment to ISO 55000 certification, as well as the separation of the asset risks from the actual work delivery. Scott Geappen, Maintenance Manager at Hydro Tasmania, the predominant electricity generator in Tasmania, presented on the importance of connecting all stakeholders to a long term asset plan, detailing aspects such as asset management planning and planning for maintenance after upgrades of the assets.

Martin O’Connor, Supply Chain Manager at Roy Hill, one of the most prominent iron ore mining projects in Australia, showcased how the project leveraged SAP enterprise management solutions as part of a unified planning process that was driven by business objectives. Roy Hill adopted an Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process towards translating desired business outcomes into financial and operational resource requirements.  The Roy Hill case study indicates that an IBP process could help to maximise cash flows and minimise risks while addressing proclaimed limitations of supply processes in the mining industry.

Alongside customers’ stories, there were also presentations from SAP consultants and partners, which explained how they develop added value asset management and digital maintenance solutions over SAP EAM products and solutions. As a prominent example, Sri Karthik from Innovapptive, a provider of Connected Worker solutions for Asset Intensive Industries, presented a novel fully digital solution for inspections, checklists, and operator rounds. The solution eliminated paper and clipboards while increasing data clarity and integrity. Furthermore, it enabled the management of multimedia information, including photographs and videos from the field. It also provided mobile asset management functionalities. Mobile Asset management was a key discussion topic in many other presentations at the conference.

Note also that there were presentations on how novel concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Digital Twins can enable the simulation and the estimation of asset performance. Moreover, they emphasised the importance of setting up a pilot project towards exploring and deploying advanced IAM technologies.

Digital Intelligence in the Supply Chain

Mastering SAP EAM Australia - SAP ASPM

Supply chain intelligence was one of the more extensively discussed topics at the conference. Relevant presentations included insights on the supply chain management capabilities of SAP S/4 HANA and revealed information about their use in practical deployments. However, there were also forward-looking presentations that discussed opportunities stemming from the enhancement of SAP products with advanced capabilities provided by technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain.

In his presentation, Till Dengel presented the past, the present, and the future of supply chain management. Dengel gave an overview of SAP S/4 HANA capabilities for Supply Chain Management, including functions of major modules such as Transportation Management (TM) and Yard Logistics. Additionally, Dengel provided an outlook on technologies that are impacting logistics and fulfilment execution, such as IoT, Data Science, and the blockchain.

In another impactful presentation, Chet Harter, VP Digital Business and Innovation at SAP, emphasised opportunities stemming from the capture and analysis of real-time operational data from the supply chain. Harter explained how it’s possible nowadays to connect and monitor the entire supply chain. Moreover, he presented BMW’s inbound material monitoring solution as a case study of the benefits of real-time visibility on inbound and outbound materials movement. Based on SAP-enabled solutions the giant automotive manufacturer has real-time access to information about shortages or potential shortages that could disrupt production.

There was also a joint presentation given by Madiha Tariq and James Tucker introducing the value of effective collaboration across the digital suppliers’ network. They also presented functionalities of both the S/4 supplier portal and SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration.

In a similar context, Graham Nicholson and Rio Tinto presented an application called sparesFinder for tracking and locating spare parts, and highlighted several key achievements in the implementation of the SAP Ariba network which matches invoices automatically.

Keith Harrison, Solution Delivery Manager with Coca Cola Amatil, presented Coca Cola Amatil’s Journey with SAP Enterprise Warehouse Management (EWM) and Transportation Management (TM) solutions. The presentation highlighted a range of best practices for successful implementation in relation to ABAP skills for TM, business users’ and transport providers’ involvement, as well as best practices for master data accuracy.

In another customer presentation about supply chain optimisation based on SAP solutions, Anita Grenside from Ballance Agri-Nutrients, a New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative, discussed how one can leverage SAP products such as S/4 HANA and Fiori for providing real-time, holistic traceability of nutrients across the food chain. Grenside also presented the integration of device connectivity such as eRFID and Barcode scanning devices with Neptune based applications.  

One more supply chain intelligence presentation was delivered by Frikkie Koen, SAP Solution Lead with KMG Chemicals. Koen presented opportunities for supply chain accuracy and confrontation of constraints. He also highlighted opportunities stemming from the collection of digital data and the creation of digital models about market constraints. He stressed the need for companies to implement digital models that will enable them to respond quickly to rapidly evolving market forces.

It was certainly a very interesting conference that raised the expectations bar for the coming SAP EAM conferences in future locations such as SAP-Centric EAM & Supply Chain in the United States, planned for March 2020 and Mastering SAP EAM & Supply Chain in South Africa, planned for June 2020. And Gentackle will be there to attend and share knowledge, opinions, and insights from SAP clients and partners.

Read Mastering SAP Enterprise Asset Management: Insights (#2) from the Recent Event in Australia, November 2019