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Can You Hear SAP Speak?  What Exactly is Exception Monitoring?

By David Carroll July 9, 2019 by David Carroll

Exception monitoring is SAP’s way of showing you where your supply chain imbalances are.  It’s a very simple method that works extremely well, but only works if everybody who uses SAP has their data set up correctly, trusts the data implicitly, and behaves correctly while analyzing the outputs of the data. Exception monitoring is such a powerful tool and technique that it needs to be managed daily, collectively, and with complete discipline.  Exception monitoring isn’t a panacea to solve your supply chain issues. Rather, it’s a way of helping your organization address and fixes them.

Exception Monitoring

Exception Monitoring directs you to 4 things:

  1. Incorrect Rules (Master Data)
  2. Behavior does not match the rules
  3. The process is incorrect or broken
  4. Bad data – overdue elements

In principle, it sounds so easy.  You come in every day and clear your exceptions. Job done… Except for tomorrow, the same ones are back again.  That’s because done in isolation (“silo-ation”), they will never go away.  The thing with exceptions is that they need to be addressed collectively as a whole, and that is where we need to begin this journey.

Is Your Organization Mature Enough as a Business to Actually Start Clearing Exceptions?


It is the hardest thing as a business to do, but the best team exercise you will ever undertake. There are eight exception groups that will tell you where each problem lies when balancing demand and supply. Each exception group has several messages that give you more information on the imbalance.

The main message is – there is a message for everything

First, you need to understand what the messages are telling you.  Then you need to be able to fit them into the correct context, and ultimately, you need to address the reason for the exception.  This is where it becomes difficult because you have to CHANGE something. A process, data or people.  Let’s take the simple concept of a message 10,  Reschedule in.  Something has changed that demands (YEP DEMANDS) because it’s all demand-driven. You have to bring in a purchase order or a production order.  It seems fairly simple, but this is happening all the time. You naturally ignore it because you know it can’t happen, and you don’t have the power to address the demand signal, so you eventually stop looking at exceptions.  Trying to address exceptions individually is futile. Everyone in the supply chain needs to understand their place, and quite frankly, needs to get over their collective individualism and learn to integrate. Only then can you start to improve.  Are you as a business mature enough to start to improve and reap the benefits?

To learn more listen in on my webinar on,  how do you use one system of record to show you the way? The way to expose the inefficient processes that stop you from gleaning and improving integration, breaking down siloes, while reducing costs. There is nothing more powerful than understanding where your issues are. Understanding how to read exceptions and how to solve them will increase your vision of your business plan and truly expose any inefficiencies that will prevent you from achieving it and at the same time improve process efficiencies and costs. 

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