Business Technology Consulting GmbH

Using SAP IBP Driver-based Planning to steer your supply chain through the crisis


Being able to make the right decisions in a crisis is critical for enterprises. Supplying consumers and other businesses with vital goods has an impact on our society as a whole - for good or bad. A state-of-the-art supply chain management of all enterprises is therefore in our all best interest.

In an extraordinary situation or a crisis, it is primarily the individual commitment of employees that helps handling such situations. But above that, it is the availability of suitable tools that enables companies to cope with extraordinary complexity.

SAP IBP for Demand is used by more and more enterprises as a cloud-based tool for demand planning. Since some time now, this application contains a new functionality called "driver-based planning". Driver-based planning provides means to handle temporary circumstances - called drivers - that have influences on the demand-planning process. These can be risks as well as opportunities. In a planning model, drivers can be created on any suitable aggregation level, e.g. customer or product groups, locations, countries or country groups.

I want to show this using a simple but current example: a global epidemic has a negative impact on the turnover of all products within the next six months. Using the app "driver-based planning", a driver is created and the the estimated reduction factors are maintained:

Maintaining drivers in SAP IBP

In the beginning, you may want to use a driver only in a simulative version: this is possible. In the second step, you will then use the driver in the productive version.

The detailed planning in Excel shows how the globally maintained factors are valid for all products immediately:

Result of drivers

This simple examples can only show the basic operation of driver-based planning. In real situations, modelling of drivers will probably be more complex since not all products and markets would be affected by a driver in the same way. SAP IBP provides a wide range of possibilities for this.

An up-to-date process and application architecture has to ensure, users are not only able to plan and execute at "fair weather". It has also to make sure, tools are available for extraordinary situations and users know how to use them. It is laudable, SAP IBP contains such functionality - now it is the task of enterprises to make sure it is actually used!