It is April 3rd 2020 and the world is in the middle of a deadly pandemic which by the end of yesterday had infected over one million people, and killed over 50,000 with both numbers rising at exponential rates.
Businesses and entire industries have been massively negatively impacted (tourism, restaurants, sports, etc.) while demand for things like webcams has soared as people shift to working/studying online.
This crisis has really highlighted importance of supply chains as automobile manufacturers have pivoted to building ventilators, airplane manufacturers switch to 3D printing protective visors, and drinks makers start making hand sanitisers. And that doesn’t even start to get into the challenges facing grocery stores maintaining stock levels.
Given all this chaos SAP, whose software runs many of the world’s most complex supply chains, has looked at this issue to see how best we can help. We have decided to make some of our most useful cloud-delivered supply chain software free for our customers. I invited SAP SVP Martin Barkman (who was on the show just last week) to come back on to explain this new and timely free offering from SAP.
Click on the player above to hear our conversation and/or check out the transcript below:
Martin Barkman [00:00:00] I think if there’s one thing we’ve seen it, it’s that the world now needs operational and resilient supply chains more than ever before. Why? We need to bring certain goods and services to end consumers. And there’s a sense of urgency. We all live it. We all feel it.
Tom Raftery [00:00:37] Hi, everyone, welcome to the Digital Supply Chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery and I’m with you today on a special edition of the Digital Supply Chain podcast where we’re going to talk about Covid-19 and what SAP are doing to help our customers. So, with me in the show, I have Martin Barkman, who came on the show last week and very generously given more time to explain to us what the current situation is, and how we’re going to help our customers. So, Martin, do you want to take it away?
Martin Barkman [00:01:05] Absolutely. Thanks, Tom, and thanks for bringing us together again. I think if there’s one thing we’ve seen it, it’s that the world now needs operational and resilient supply chains more than ever before. Why? We need to bring certain goods and services to end consumers. And there’s a sense of urgency. We all live it. We all feel it. But supply chains are threatened. There is now more complexity, uncertainty, volatility that supply chain leaders have to cope with. Right. And we see this across the whole supply chain spectrum. You may be short on certain raw materials, right? So can you switch in your bill of material for another ingredient or component? You have to understand your capacity, which could be changing because of labour challenges. How do you adjust your capacity to meet demand that is now coming at you with more uncertainty and changing quite a bit? We also see a lot of companies rethinking what products should they produce? Should they reduce the number of SKUs and really crank up the throughput to make sure they deliver the volume of product that the consumers need. And of course, in some cases, companies are retooling their manufacturing lines completely and making things like hand sanitizer, gowns, facemasks. Distribution is a challenge. Now, all of a sudden there are limitations and restrictions. So even if you make the product, you have to think through how do I get it to the end customer? And then, of course, this all assumes that the assets you have in your supply chain are operational. And as we know, maintenance is importance in this pandemic era. How do you do maintenance? So, my goodness, there is just so much that we now have to go tackle and help supply chain leaders sort out.
Tom Raftery [00:02:57] So what do we do to help?
Martin Barkman [00:02:59] Yeah, it’s if we are we are here to help. As as you know, we have a broad and deep and functionally rich portfolio of supply chain solutions at SAP. And we’ve thought about really what are what are now going to be the most important capabilities that our software has that can not only help customers work through these challenges that I mentioned earlier today, but also how do we build? As we do that, how do we also build a foundation that’s going to help a company manage through this? We don’t know what the recovery will be. I’ve heard V-shaped, U-shaped, L-shaped, who knows? But there is going to be an evolution, right? Something’s going to happen over time. So how do we really look at the capabilities that are going to help companies digitally manage their supply chain? Well, with with more and more remote people making decisions more quickly, harnessing the information that’s coming at them. And then, of course, we have to even think beyond this crisis, because let’s not forget that supply chains were already undergoing a digital transformation. Things like better visibility, things like pivoting the supply chain to be more customer centric, things like looking at productivity through advancements in the industrial Internet of Things or Industry 4.0 or even thinking about sustainability. Right. The topic of sustainability is still true and important to many of the companies that are operating supply chains. Hopefully most of the companies, if not all. And now we have an opportunity as we go through this, to also think wisely about how we’re preparing for a future where resources are scarce and consumption can’t be unbounded. So that’s what we’re looking at overall in the very, very near term we have thought about our capabilities and there’s one capability that we think can help companies literally right now, and that is how they do planning. For many companies, planning is sequential, people-centric, I want to say in part spreadsheet-governed process. Think sales and operations planning. It plays out typically over the course of a month. Well, guess what? Now we are not living in months. We are living whatever was taking months, maybe was trending towards days. Today it’s happening every hour. Right. So companies are constantly having to update their plans. So we’ve partnered with our, we are offering, we have 90 certified integrated business planning software partners at SAP and we are offering them for the next 90 days the ability to run planning as a service for companies that are struggling to do planning with their spreadsheets. So what does that mean? We are allowing our ecosystem to use our software to deliver a capability to customers, basically to offload that firefighting exercise and bring resources to help customers get through through that type of that type of process. So we’re really excited about this because we think it can have an immediate impact and immediate difference. And we’re very blessed to have such a such a passionate and knowledgeable ecosystem of partners that already know the SAP software solution for this. And now they can bring that capability for the next 90 days and help companies navigate through this crisis.
Tom Raftery [00:06:48] And you said its cloud delivered so there’s no hardware installation or anything like that.
Martin Barkman [00:06:53] Exactly. So we will host it. Its cloud, delivered. We will stand up the system that our our channel partner would, would, would use. They can move the data in remotely using file uploads and then start to run these planning scenarios. To look at things like, well, what are the bottlenecks in the supply chain? How do I plan around those? What is the demand that’s coming in? What what’s produced material do I have? Where do I need to get it? How do I analyse different scenarios, for example? Do I want to put service level targets do I want to aspire to it to achieve? How did those change perhaps based on where the crisis is, is most urgent. And they can run these different scenarios and evaluate, evaluate what to do, and our hope is that we can help supply chains get the products to where it’s most needed. It was really interesting, of course, I can’t help, but I have to watch the news. And earlier this week, the president had CEOs on the White House lawn talking about what they’re doing to help with this crisis. And one of the CEOs for a large defence company, said this is war. And in war strategy is great, but logistics wins the war. So, think supply chain, if we can have supply chains, do more, do better, do it faster. It’s going to have a huge impact for all of us as individuals, let alone as businesses.
Tom Raftery [00:08:31] Sure. This is a free offering, as you said. If if I am an organisation who wants to take advantage of this, what do I do?
Martin Barkman [00:08:40] Yep, so certainly contact your your SAP account executives. We have processes where we can get that level of interest and funnelled and channelled through our partner ecosystem, furthermore, you can also contact your your your supply chain partner if they are a certified partner on our SAP integrated business planning solution than they’ll be made aware of this offer and can consider it to see if it’s something that they support and that they can deliver for the customer expressing the interest.
Tom Raftery [00:09:20] Superb, superb, Martin that has been fantastic. I’m sure there’ll be huge interest in this offering. Where is this mentioned online as well? That I can put a link in the show notes?
Martin Barkman [00:09:30] It is. You can go to http://www.sap.com and look through the section of our offers that we have across the company. And there is a mention of this particular offer right there on the Web site.
Tom Raftery [00:09:46] Fantastic. Martin, that’s been great. Thanks a million for coming on and telling our listeners all about this.
Martin Barkman [00:09:51] Thank you, Tom. And let’s go make a difference.
Tom Raftery [00:09:55] Let’s do it. Everybody stay safe. Stay home, stay healthy, stay sane. Thanks.
And if you want to know more about any of SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don’t forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.
And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!