For many of us, our first interactions with the Exception Monitors in SAP leave us at a loss for where to begin. We’ve got a slew of messages broken out into groups and with too many message number's to memorize, some seemingly in conflict with one another and sometimes with “hidden” second messages on the same MRP element.
It is a lot and it can be hard to know where to start. As we start to try to work with these messages, we can often lose the forest for the trees. We focus on a specific MRP element with a specific message rather than on evaluating our planning situation and working to bring the plan for that material into alignment.
How Do Supply Chain Planners Work With Exceptions?
The good news is that there is a method to attack this madness and by working your exceptions in a particular order, you can surface the materials that are most in need of an intervention. Once we have those materials selected, we can work through the planning situation overall to help bring the business plan into healthy alignment- and even improve the quality of our MRP output going forward. Approaching your reviews in this way, also improves the efficiency of your planning work and allows you to identify trends in the types of issues you may be experiencing. There is something of a synergy bonus that comes with the sequence of review- and the cadence and repeatability help us to organize work and improve the ability to efficiently prioritize. A hard truth in the lives of supply chain planners is that time is a precious commodity- we need ALL of the efficiency builders we can get.
What is SAP Exception Monitor?
The Exception Monitor is one of SAP’s primary way’s of communicating with the supply chain. From messages designed to let you know when we’re running behind in getting plans in motion (which can be costly), to messages that let us know if something is ill timed to the demand- or in some cases- no longer needed, to messages that alert us to master data issues or problems in the MRP run…there is no shortage of communication happening!
The problem is: Sometimes we just don’t believe that those messages are real. The quality of the advice is questionable. We can’t see how this is helping. We pick and choose what we’re going to listen to and what we’re going to ignore. And therein lies the rub….we become selective listeners… and stop focusing on the bigger picture.
Addressing your planning situation, the quality of your planning output- and specifically the quality of the plans generated by MRP- takes you down a path that leads to real, relevant and actionable communication in the form of quality Exception Messages. You get there by working on one material at a time- rather than one singular exception message against an MRP element at a time. The focus must be in making SAP as informed as possible through the alignment of rules and behaviors. Then, Exception Monitoring is a value add! You’re not hitting the snooze button or selectively listening. You are now receiving information your organization can rely on and SAP extends our vantage point so that your supply chain is able to analyze, prioritize and resolve process breakdowns, capacity constraints and misalignments of supply and demand.
Managing by exception requires consistently staying on top of materials inventory and schedule while moving the process seamlessly from purchase to production. For a deeper dive into Exception Management join us at our upcoming MasterClass SAP Supply Chain Bootcamp. To learn more on this topic, read this white paper, “Managing by Exception: Cut 50% of Hidden Cost from Your Supply Chain“.