AI in SAP Supply chain S4 HANA IBP

AI-driven supply chain: innovate your SAP solution suite

With the release of ChatGPT in 2022, AI has moved from being an ‘expert tool’ to becoming a buddy for every business professional. In supply chain processes, for example, AI holds promises of improved efficiency, optimization, and decision-making. Not sure how to integrate it into your IT infrastructure? SAP has everything sorted for you: from embedded AI to custom AI solutions that can tackle unique challenges. Time for an overview.

Embedded AI solutions: the power of ‘plug and play’

Artificial intelligence is already deeply embedded in the cloud solutions of SAP S/4HANA and Integrated Business Planning (IBP), where it is developed further. These AI applications can – and already do – help you boost your business processes in many ways, from customer segmentation and real-time decision-making to predictions and forecasting. SAP’s embedded AI solutions for supply chain, which can be enriched by SAP Analytics Cloud at any time, are centered around 3 main solutions:

  • Manufacturing and execution processes (in SAP S/4HANA cloud)
  • Supply chain planning (in SAP IBP)
  • Supply chain collaboration (in the SAP Business Network on BTP)

Soon, numerous new use cases will be embedded in your SAP cloud solution. So keep a close eye on the most recent developments, like our cloud releases in SAP IBP and S/4HANA.
Here’s already a little taste, with two real-world examples of AI-driven business processes and supply chain planning.

  • Automated sales order processing in S/4HANA: Simply upload a PDF or Excel file and let AI extract the sales order data from it, create the sales order, and even try to predict the missing data. You can also activate robotic processing, which enables the app to scan your mailbox for sales order documents and upload them to your SAP cloud ERP solution.

    The result? Less manual work, no more incomplete and overdue sales orders, and on-time order fulfilment.

    Want to see how it works? Let our experts show you how it works. Watch our webinar on AI driven Supply chain processes.
  • Recognizing patterns in master data in SAP IBP: Embedded AI solutions in IBP make it easier to keep master data consistent and spot errors before they can impact planning. The machine learning classification algorithms analyze the data, identify hidden patterns and trends, and detect and report anomalies.

    The result? A deeper understanding of your data to make informed decisions, and course-correct where necessary.

Custom AI solutions powered by SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP)

While it is still early to map out the full impact that AI technology will have on our day-to-day processes, the standard use-cases are evolving rapidly. But even if the embedded AI functionalities currently still fall short, SAP offers worthy alternatives. SAP’s dedicated AI tools – powered by SAP BTP – allow you to create custom-build AI solutions. Here are 2 examples.

  • Predicting lead times with SAP Data Intelligence: Based on historical data, pattern recognition, and external factors (like the weather), customized machine learning algorithms can predict lead times with a certain degree of confidence.

    The result? Improved stock positions and more accurate supply chain planning and resource allocation – helping you to easily deal with today’s highly dynamic supply chains.

    Because the solution is customized, you retain full control over the data pipelines, i.e., how the data is extracted from the data source. Data can also be manipulated and sent to SAP IBP in any preferred format.
  • AI-supported document processing with Easily enter documents received via mail, RPA, and API into SAP S/4HANA. Going beyond mere sales orders (see example above), the solution helps you create and/or scan any document type for which an API exists. More than that, you can consult and consolidate the documents, and create them in your S/4HANA Sales & Distribution (SD) modules . In this way, this custom solution enhances what SAP already offers as an embedded solution.

    The result? Less errors and loads of time-savings.

The future of AI at SAP: JOULE

In 2024, SAP is launching its own next-generation AI chatbot for S/4HANA: Joule. The solution already exists for its SuccessFactors HXM solution, where it helps employees to easily retrieve HR data and generate content. For example, Joule can create open positions and publish them on the website automatically. So brace yourself, as, Joule will certainly change the way reports are retrieved and created in S/4HANA as well. Stay tuned!


The tip of the (A)Iceberg

AI solutions are trained for specific use-cases, of which we have mentioned a couple above. There are, of course, an almost infinite number of possible use cases for AI in supply chain and operations but the goal is always to be able to work faster, smarter and with a higher degree of accuracy. One thing’s for sure, however: despite the hype, AI is here to stay, and will change the way we work. Implementing AI in your business is a journey, and making full use of the standard available solutions is a great place to start.

At Flexso, which is a part of the Cronos group, we provide guidance, implementation, and ongoing support for your SAP solution needs.

By leveraging AI into these solutions, we aim to minimize manual labor, enhance insights, and help your team concentrate on the most important tasks.

Cronos is leading the way in AI-based solutions with over 70 different applications and a team of more than 250 AI specialists. This combined with Flexso's in-depth expertise in SAP solutions, we're perfectly positioned to help you develop your personalized AI strategy for SAP, ensuring you to choose and apply the best solutions for the unique challenges you face.

AI in SAP Flexso

Want to dive into custom AI? Make sure you define your business case and the problem you’re trying to solve very well. And … of course, we can help!

Need help on your AI journey in SAP?

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