Supply chains that work with shelf life constrained products must be very fast and effective as their products may loose all the value in a short period of time. This case study details the challenges of order confirmation and the benefits that can be gained by development of specific algorithms for this process.
Although SAP APO supports planning for products with shelf-life constraints, there are many special cases that need custom heuristics for the wanted optimal business processes to work. One process that needs special heuristics is the available to promise process (ATP), that for some scenarios needs a special logic to match the available batches to the customer requirements.
The SAP advanced planning system (SAP APO) is a very extensible framework with entry points for developments that allow to implement custom heuristics in the order reassignment process (backorder processing functionality).
Comparing to previous experiences introducing custom heuristics, the shelf-life constrained assignment heuristic was more complex to implement mainly due to the multiple options available on the ATP process. The resulting solution works with a subset of the global ATP process with a focus on the specific customer goals. As in other implementations of backorder heuristics we found out that having a special algorithm on this process can have major benefits to the supply chain performance since this a process that is key for the stability and responsiveness of the confirmation and delivery processes.