Have you ever been told to do one thing and know you should do the exact opposite?
Being a consultant, I travel incessantly – new airports, new cities, new addresses and different rental cars. Every week, I have to figure out how to connect my phone via bluetooth to a different car model (I need to start traveling with a millennial) so I know where to go.
In addition, to that is Google. Now don’t get me wrong; I love my cell phone and Google maps, but I grew up with a father who had an innate ability to know where to turn. Now I am the father, and I believe I should have the same intrinsic ability when it comes to direction. That ability has been relegated obsolete due to that lady with an English accent directing me from my phone. Nearly every week she tells me to turn left when I know I need to turn right. More oftentimes than not, though, she’s correct.
Interestingly enough, supply chain planners using standard SAP exception monitoring are challenged by a similar internal battle — not which way to turn, but deciphering the exception message presented in the Stock Requirements list or the MRP exceptions list. The exception message presented indicates one course of action when the planner intrinsically knows he/she may need to take another. In these cases, however, the planner seems to be correct more times than not.
In SAP, an MRP element may have up to two exception messages. One is presented in the initial display, and the second, if generated, has to be sought out.
SAP has grouped and prioritized exception messages. Forty-something messages divided unequally into eight groups. Independent of those groups, SAP has assigned a priority for each message. The priority determines what order messages are presented. Higher priority messages are presented before those of lower priority.
Here is an example. Notice the three highlighted exception messages below: Reschedule Out, Reschedule In and Finish Date “in the past.”
Reschedule Out and I have a higher priority than late (as indicated by a higher number in the EMpr. column). In certain cases, this manifests a mixed message and creates obfuscation in what the planner is supposed to do. An example of this is below. Notice the shipping notification. As I write this on 11/9/2016, the element is clearly late: 9/16/2016. The exception message presented is 15; Reschedule out. Furthermore, it displays a date in the past to reschedule.
If the magnifying glass is selected, a second message is shown, 07 Finish Date “in the past”; however, it is not the priority message, but perhaps it should be.
If we look back at the settings, logically, it seems the priority is reversed. Certainly, rescheduling an element in to meet a customer order is more important than rescheduling an element out that is not currently needed. Late probably tops the list of the three in question because the element should have already arrived.
The good news: Re-prioritizing exception messages is a simple configuration change and may help deliver a clearer and more consistent message to the supply chain planner. It will hopefully further advance the efficiency of your supply chain. The bad news: I will still be making wrong turns and arguing with an English-accented woman who works for Google.
Managing by exception requires consistently staying on top of materials inventory and schedule while moving the process seamlessly from purchase to production. To learn more on this topic, read this white paper, “Managing by Exception: Cut 50% of Hidden Cost from Your Supply Chain“.Tags: Inventory Control, SAP, Supply Chain Planners