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In 2009 we wrote Best Practice blogs on how to monitor typical process like Best Practice: Business Process Monitoring for Order to Cash, Best Practice: Business Process Monitoring for Procure to Pay or Best Practice: Business Process Monitoring for Manufacturing. I want to pick up this thread again and want to explain on how to monitor a typical replenishment process with Stock Transport Orders (STO) best. This process is similar to Procure to Pay but the big difference is that in the STO process all process activities are depending on your own organization, i.e. no external vendor is involved who is delivering the goods to your warehouse.

Business Process Monitoring for Stock Transport Order Replenishment

Business Process Monitoring (BPMon), as part of Solution Monitoring in SAP Solution Manager means the proactive and process oriented monitoring of the most important or critical business processes including the observation of all technical and business application specific functions that are required for a steady and stable flow of the business processes.
One of the most critical business processes in the SAP ERP environment is often a replenishment process (either within a company code or between different company codes). Such a process looks more or less like the process below.

STO process

 

The replenishment process starts either with a direct or an indirect creation of Purchase Requisitions which can be differentiated by the so-called Creation Indicator. „Directly“ means that someone from the requesting department enters a purchase requisition manually. The employee creating the requisition determines what and how much to order, and the delivery date. The employee creating the requisition determines what and how much to order, and the delivery date. In many case purchase requisitions are created automatically by MRP (Material Requirements Planning) run or „Indirectly“ by other SAP components like SD, PP, PM or PS. In our example we have a MRP run on SAP ERP side. Of course you could also have some corresponding planning runs in the Supply Network Planning or Production Planning in SAP APO. All these planning runs are normally executed in background mode and hence could be monitored by the job monitoring functionality from Business Process Monitoring. For more information you could have a look into the Best Practice document “Best Practice - Background Job monitoring “.  

Remark: Everything described below can also be used in Retail scenarios. You only have to remember that the "site" in the retail scenario is (technically speaking) nothing different than the "plant" mentioned in this blog.

Once the Purchase Requisition is created then for each Purchase Requisition item a corresponding Stock Transport Order item for should be created Usually a Purchase Requisition item is flagged as closed once the requested order quantity has been included in one or more respective STOs. Or if the goods/materials or services are no longer needed then the replenishment request is cancelled and the corresponding Purchase Requisition item can be flagged as closed manually. 

For each Purchase Requisition item (the whole order quantity) a corresponding Stock Transport Order should be created (usually of type NB for cross-company and of type UB if you deliver within a company code) quite some time before the planned Delivery Date is reached. Otherwise such a Purchase Requisition item is considered to be open and overdue.  

Once a Stock Transport is created it is the task of the supplying plant to start the outbound logistics on time so that the receiving plant gets the requested goods on time. The first step is typically that on supplying plant side a replenishment delivery (usually of type NLCC for cross-company and of type NL if you deliver within a company code) is created in reference to the STO. The thing that should be ensured is that the replenishment delivery is created on time (e.g. via transaction VL10*). For this delivery a corresponding Goods Issue should be posted at the latest at the Planned Goods Issue date. Once the Goods Issue posting took place the goods a considered as Stock In Transit.

For every Stock Transport Order item it is expected to get the full order quantity delivered until the Delivery Date is reached, i.e. a corresponding Goods Receipt posting for every item should have taken place in the receiving plant. Otherwise such a Stock Transport Order items is considered to be open and overdue.

The Invoice Verification completes the material replenishment process, which started with the Purchase Requisition and resulted in a Goods Receipt. Incoming invoices are verified in terms of their content, prices and arithmetic. The system updates the data saved in the invoice documents in Materials Management and Financial Accounting. An invoice can be blocked, i.e. Financial Accounting cannot pay the invoice.
In a last step one would pay the invoice and hence clear the corresponding Accounts Payable item. 

Within such a Stock Transport Order replenishment process there are of course many things that could be monitored and Business Process Monitoring provides many technical and business application specific monitors for this purpose which come out-of-the-box and can be adjusted to the customer needs, e.g. by entering data for supplying and receiving plants and document types. Probably the most important key figures are the following: 

  • If you want to monitor problems between creating an STO item and the corresponding Replenishment delivery you can use key
    figure Overdue STO items w/o outb. del. completion in the application area Procurement. This key figure shows all STO items where the system still expects a Replenishment delivery and the delivery creation is overdue. For this key figure you can for example select specific shipping points
  • If you want to monitor for which deliveries you are not posting the GI on
    time, then you have to use the key figure Outbound deliveries (overdue)
    in the application area Logistics Execution with the delivery type (NL, NLCC or similar) and here you also specify a shipping point.
  • If you want to monitor problems between sending the goods from the supplying plant and receiving the goods then you use key figure Stock
    in Transit for STO Items with LE in the application area Procurement where you specify e.g. supplying and/or receiving plant but no shipping point.
  • If you want to monitor the process as a whole you use key figure STO Items with LE overdue in the application area Procurement where you specify e.g. supplying and/or receiving plant but no shipping point. The output list of this key figure contains the all the information about the quantity ordered, committed, delivered, issued, received respectively.

Example

As an example we look at the key figure STO Items with LE overdue. Once you entered the Business Process Monitoring setup environment, selected the business process and business process step that you want to configure, then you chose Application Monitors: Procurement as a filter criteria. Within the next check you select Stock Transport Orders as monitoring object. After saving this entry you can then select the wanted key figure from the list of available key figures, in our case STO Items with LE overdue. 

key figure selection

After maintaining the Monitoring Schedule (typically once per day), you can save and on the next level maintain the wanted selection criteria.

Selection criteria

Then you specify meaningful threshold values for the selection and save your entries. As a last step you have to generate and activate the new monitoring settings as is true with all Business Process Monitoring configuration.

If you check later the results then you can do the typical forward navigation from the business process graphics down to the single alert. And from the single alert you can navigate from the SAp Solution Manager to the respective backend system in order to get the detailed document list showing all problematic documents. An example for the STO Items with LE overdue is shown below.

For document 4500003715 you can see that the goods left the supplying plant but were never received. For STO 4500003558 you see that the process failed earlier on as no replenishment delivery was created. For STO 4500003559 the replenishment delivery was created but no Goods Issue was posted. So this one key figure can create a lot of transparency for the whole STO replenishment process.

Deatail list

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Business Process Monitoring are answered under http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/SM/FAQ+Business+Process+Monitoring.

The following blogs (in chronological order) provide further details about Business Process Monitoring functionalities within the SAP Solution Manager.

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