Sustainable Supply Chain

Digitally Transforming Your Supply Chain Made Easi(er) - A Chat With Sandy Markin

March 25, 2022 Tom Raftery / Sandy Markin Season 1 Episode 211
Digitally Transforming Your Supply Chain Made Easi(er) - A Chat With Sandy Markin
Sustainable Supply Chain
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Sustainable Supply Chain
Digitally Transforming Your Supply Chain Made Easi(er) - A Chat With Sandy Markin
Mar 25, 2022 Season 1 Episode 211
Tom Raftery / Sandy Markin

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Digital Transformation projects are notoriously long, expensive, and disruptive for organisations.

What if there were an easier way? A way to dip your toes in without testing the depth of the water with both feet?

In today's episode of the Digital Supply Chain podcast I talked to Sandy Markin and he told me about the S/4 HANA DSC Edition which helps companies do exactly that.

We had a great conversation discussing supply chain's increasing need to be responsive, how using a solution like DSC Edition can help, and why it is like a "short cut".

It was a fascinating conversation. I learned loads. I hope you do too.

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

And don't forget to also check out the 2021 MPI research on Industry 4.0 to find out how to increase productivity, revenues, and profitability for your operations. This global study examines the extent to which manufacturers deploy Industry 4.0 in their business and the benefits it brings.

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! 

Support the Show.


Podcast supporters
I'd like to sincerely thank this podcast's generous supporters:

  • Lorcan Sheehan
  • Olivier Brusle
  • Alicia Farag
  • Luis Olavarria
  • Alvaro Aguilar

And remember you too can Support the Podcast - it is really easy and hugely important as it will enable me to continue to create more excellent Digital Supply Chain episodes like this one.

Podcast Sponsorship Opportunities:
If you/your organisation is interested in sponsoring this podcast - I have several options available. Let's talk!

Finally
If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to just send me a direct message on LinkedIn, or send me a text message using this link.

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 for listening.

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Show Notes Transcript

Send me a message

Digital Transformation projects are notoriously long, expensive, and disruptive for organisations.

What if there were an easier way? A way to dip your toes in without testing the depth of the water with both feet?

In today's episode of the Digital Supply Chain podcast I talked to Sandy Markin and he told me about the S/4 HANA DSC Edition which helps companies do exactly that.

We had a great conversation discussing supply chain's increasing need to be responsive, how using a solution like DSC Edition can help, and why it is like a "short cut".

It was a fascinating conversation. I learned loads. I hope you do too.

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

And don't forget to also check out the 2021 MPI research on Industry 4.0 to find out how to increase productivity, revenues, and profitability for your operations. This global study examines the extent to which manufacturers deploy Industry 4.0 in their business and the benefits it brings.

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! 

Support the Show.


Podcast supporters
I'd like to sincerely thank this podcast's generous supporters:

  • Lorcan Sheehan
  • Olivier Brusle
  • Alicia Farag
  • Luis Olavarria
  • Alvaro Aguilar

And remember you too can Support the Podcast - it is really easy and hugely important as it will enable me to continue to create more excellent Digital Supply Chain episodes like this one.

Podcast Sponsorship Opportunities:
If you/your organisation is interested in sponsoring this podcast - I have several options available. Let's talk!

Finally
If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to just send me a direct message on LinkedIn, or send me a text message using this link.

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 for listening.

SandyMarkin:

now we're talking about digital supply chain transformation and, um, you know, we can no longer afford to have these multi-year projects, that, take, three to five years to see some type of result or some type of payoff. And it's not just an, an ROI discussion. It's really, How are we responding to the needs of humanity?

TomRaftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast. The number one podcast, focusing on the digitization of supply chain. And I'm your host global vice-president at SAP Tom Raftery. Hi everyone. Welcome to the digital supply chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and with me on the show today, I have my special guest Sandy, Sandy. Welcome back to the podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?

SandyMarkin:

Sure. Thanks, Tom. I'm glad to be back. Yeah. real quickly. I'm Sandy Martin. I'm a part of the SAP digital supply chain, solution management, or now known as marketing and solutions organization. And, uh, I am responsible for a number of strategic initiatives, within digital supply chain, including the one that I think we're going to talk about today. So.

TomRaftery:

Superb, thanks Sandy. It's been two years now of COVID disruption. How has that affected our customers?

SandyMarkin:

It's affected our customers in, in many, significant ways, Tom. you know, I have a lot of regular discussions with customers. I run, different, types of, customer collaboration groups. And I have a lot of individual discussions with customers. it's certainly affected them, personally, as it, as it has all of us. But from a business perspective, they, they are dealing with. tremendous disruption, things like, you know, which products do I continue to, to make, uh, in, in this environment, given scarce resources, given the volatility of demand, the volatility of supply, I have one customer, a very large consumer goods company that said that they actually had to, shelve, 40% of their, items that they sell, just because of the shift in demand from one channel to another. So, it's been a very, you know, that's pretty dramatic when you think about it. and, yeah, I mean, we, we see that type of thing all over the place, so, yeah, the, the impact on our customers has been, you know, very, very dramatic.

TomRaftery:

And it's not just COVID. I mean, I shouldn't have just referred to COVID. I mean, we had that ship getting stuck in the Suez. We have the, now the, the war that's happening in the Ukraine. the Biden administration's announcing they're going to cut off, Russian oil. So all kinds of huge disruptions happening, the massive sanctions taking place, you know, so this is going to affect things like semiconductor production. Again, we're going to have a food security issue. All kinds of industries being hit by this, customers are going to need to be extremely, extremely agile and resilient in their, in their supply chains right?

SandyMarkin:

Absolutely. you know, one of the interesting things about this, this particular time, I mean, we, we've, obviously we've seen disruptions, over the years, from similar types of, situations, like you just mentioned, right? I mean, we've had wars in the past. We've had, you know, weather events we've we haven't had too many pandemics, fortunately, but yeah.

TomRaftery:

Brexit is another one.

SandyMarkin:

Brexit is another one, but these seem to be coming like back to back to back. So, you know, I don't think you mentioned maybe it did, but I don't remember you mentioning climate change. but another, another major one. So companies are having to deal with these, you know, sort of on top of each other. And, you know, as I think back in my number of decades, so almost four decades in manufacturing and supply chain, uh, the term supply chain was something that, you know, most people just really, they, they knew the term, but they didn't really understand what it meant. And now it's front and center. Um, and you know, it, it just means that companies, as you said, are going to have to be more responsive, more resilient. They're going to have to be much faster in, not only responding to these types of disruptions, but they're going to have to be proactive. they, they have come to expect that, disruptions are, are just, you know, part of the game. And how do we get ahead of it? How do we stay on top of things?.

TomRaftery:

So, how do we get ahead of it? How do we stay on top of things?

SandyMarkin:

I mean, obviously a lot of this is, you know, the way that companies are structured, and now you see, you know, government actually getting involved in supply chain, right? So it's, you know, how to, how do governments and how do companies collaborate. But I think, you know, from an SAP perspective, what can the technology do to support this? I think that's the really important question. And one of the things that we're seeing is, this concept of digital transformation. It's something that we've been talking about for a while, but now we're talking about digital supply chain transformation and, um, you know, we can no longer afford to have these multi-year projects, that, take, three to five years to see some type of result or some type of payoff. And it's not just an, an ROI discussion. It's really, How are we responding to the needs of humanity? so the technology needs to be flexible. It needs to be modular. It needs to be interoperable. and, and that's, what's really gonna drive. determined companies' abilities to not only respond, but to kind of get out in front of these things and be more effective in making sure that, that their customers are getting what they need.

TomRaftery:

Okay. So how do customers go from, where they are today to being digitally transformed and it not be a multi-year project?

SandyMarkin:

So we, you know, SAP being, the, largest, ERP company on the planet, we have thousands and thousands of companies sitting on our ERP platform, that has been around for many years. and the idea of trans transforming or moving to this new digital platform that we call S/4 Hana is certainly, something that that they're looking at. The question is how do we do that in a way with that doesn't require us to, you know, disrupt the entire business to unplug systems that we've had in place for many years that are actually doing the job, but then add to them, new capabilities, that allow them to sort of accelerate their digital transformation, without disrupting the entire business. That's where this, DSC edition, comes into play, the DSC edition or the S/4 HANA DSC edition, which essentially allows customers to take parts of S four HANA, which is our digital, platform, if you will, digital transformation platform and deploy those in a, in a modular fashion, so that they can, for example, Go from, establishing and putting up a new warehouse in, in a, in a matter of years to doing it in a matter of months, using our extended warehouse management capability and using what we call the DSC edition version of extended warehouse management. they can do that very quickly. Another example is in the area of production planning. companies are running with, a scarce capacity. They're having to shift capacity resources, production resources from one product line to another, from to service one channel to another, uh, that requires agility and planning. And so we have a capability called manufacturing planning and scheduling that again is part of the core S/4 HANA platform, but we can deploy that, in a modular fashion within the DSC edition. to do that very quickly so that you can have, for example, a centralized planning environment that supports, multiple production facilities across the globe. So these types of capabilities really allow companies to do this in an accelerated, and decoupled fashion. The important part is modularity is, is, the first step. but to sustain the benefits, these solutions have to be interoperable. They have to work together. They have to work within the existing ERP environment or with the, future to-be environment with S/4. And, uh, that's something that we provide as well.

TomRaftery:

Yeah, because I was going to say, if someone took on the warehouse module and then they took on the planning module, could those modules talk to each other.

SandyMarkin:

Sure. They could talk to each other. You know, I don't want to delve too much into the underlying technology, but these are our, cloud based solutions. they can be deployed in a single instance, a single client, meaning, sharing, master data, sharing, business data, sharing processes, both, amongst themselves as well as with the underlying, financial environment, that would be a part of the ERP system.

TomRaftery:

Okay. And is this like a gateway drug for full S/4?

SandyMarkin:

Very well put, I would say that that's a fair, that's a fair characterization. obviously our goal and, and many of our customer's goal is to, you know, to move to the latest and greatest digital platform. So yes, this can be positioned as a, a first step, and it can be, multiple steps, they don't have to do the whole thing at once. We've kind of clustered these DSC edition components into logical, groups of solutions. So we have what we call our logistics cluster, which would include warehouse management, transportation management. We have our manufacturing cluster, which would include production planning, service parts, planning, service, parts management. So, they can go with, those as, logical clusters or they can, you know, kind of mix and match. They have full flexibility, as to where they want to go. And we also have, we call our customer journey, which takes them from step one to step two, and ultimately to the, you know, the final to-be state, which would be an S/4 deployment.

TomRaftery:

Okay. Now you came on the podcast. I mentioned this was your, that you were coming back to the podcast. So you, you came on the podcast. I want to say it was around a year ago, talking about this very product what's happened in the meantime?

SandyMarkin:

So we started out with basically, a couple of core components, warehouse management, transportation management. the first, release back in last February. when we last talked, we had added production planning and scheduling. So we had sort of this, you know, what we call the three leading solutions since then we've added some other capabilities. We added something called yard logistics, which integrates with warehouse management to manage the, the facility, if you will, outside of the warehouse. we've added, what we call service parts planning, which is, a very sophisticated planning capability for managing, aftermarket, parts that are used in, OEM products, original equipment manufacturing products after they've been sold. And we need to service those out in the field. So that's another, another element that's been added, we added something called production engineering and operations. This is a, an application that is designed to be used in what we call complex manufacturing, primarily, mostly, in the defense industry, So we've added what I would call, very specific, industry capabilities, uh, in those three that we just talked about. And, um, and again, so these are, have extended the capability, and the industry coverage, if you will, of the DSC Edition.

TomRaftery:

Okay. Can you speak to any outcomes, any kind of wins that we've had with this?

SandyMarkin:

yeah. So from a broad perspective, in the first year we've actually signed up, over a hundred customers, in, you know, in the DSC edition. I would say the largest majority of them are looking are, in the logistics area. but we're also seeing some. uptake in these other, topics, as I mentioned in the manufacturing side, we have some, recent wins, in different industries. I won't name any names here, but, um, you know, we have, customers in the consumer goods, consumer packaged goods area. that have adopted, the DSC edition, just for the very reasons that we talked about before their long-term plan is a full S/4 transformation. They need to keep their ERP system in place currently to not fully disrupt the business. They needed improvements in, you know, warehouse management, transportation management. so we've seen several customers in the, consumer packaged goods. we have some examples of companies in the life sciences, which is obviously become extremely important, with, pharmaceutical distribution around the world. And, we even have, companies in automotive and home goods that have adopted these capabilities to, to deal with this, accelerated digital supply chain transformation initiative that they're undertaking.

TomRaftery:

Okay.

SandyMarkin:

Yeah, those are some pretty significant, wins and, and successes, that we're seeing in the marketplace.

TomRaftery:

And are there any particular outcomes we can talk about?

SandyMarkin:

You know, it's a little bit early to talk about real outcomes. we, we don't have any, um, at this point, I mean, we have lots of outcomes. With our warehouse management production planning capabilities, but in this, in these particular solutions, it's a little bit early to talk about specific outcomes, the fact that these customers went down this route, I think was a very positive outcome in and of itself. And I think, you know, the next time we talk, we will have, some more specific things to talk about.

TomRaftery:

Okay, cool. And where to from here with the DSC edition, what's what's next on the roadmap?

SandyMarkin:

So we're seeing an interest in other areas. one of the areas is interesting enough, an area we call project management or, enterprise project and portfolio management. We have a solution, it's part of S/4, it's called EPPM. and we are actually talking about perhaps. making that available on the DSC edition. These are for companies that, have to manage, large scale projects that for, that could involve, the creation of a new product, and, as we we look at more and more disruption, creations of new products or, the, the changes required to, adapt a product to changing conditions. That's what this solution provides and, and having that type of capability, may sound, you know, how does this relate to digital supply chain transformation? And we're finding that there is, there is interest in this area. Another area is in, in sustainability. and, there's a solution that we call EHS, environmental health and safety, which is part of our sustainability portfolio. And, we see that as a, as an opportunity as well. Again, not an area that that companies can afford to wait for, uh, for years or even months before having a solution in place. so, this would enable them to take advantage of the, the, the latest and greatest. And, and again, we're, we're talking about, a set of, cloud-based capabilities that can be, deployed in a, in a single environment, you know, a unified environment, to really drive down, not only accelerate the, the time, but also drive down the overall cost of ownership.

TomRaftery:

Okay. Very good. Very good. And, and, And time to value. as well. I'm sure.

SandyMarkin:

And time to value. Of course. Yes,

TomRaftery:

Okay, cool. Sandy, we're coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, is there any question that I haven't asked you that you wish I had, or any aspect of this that we've not touched on, that you think it's important for people to be aware of?

SandyMarkin:

You know, I don't, I can't really think of anything. Significant. I think we, you know, we covered, the, kind of the rationale behind this. I guess the only thing that you, you didn't ask, now that I think about it is, when a customer you use the term, is this a gateway drug to,

TomRaftery:

Yeah.

SandyMarkin:

S/4, where do we, where does a customer go next? Once they start this journey?

TomRaftery:

Right.

SandyMarkin:

The way that we look at that as you know, we actually have a very prescriptive customer journey and depending on where a customer starts, typically we're talking about an SAP ERP, um, ECC customer, depending on what their, um, where they start and what their step one, two, and three is going to determine, how they, how they move into a full S/4 deployment down the road. They have full flexibilities to how they want to do that. They can choose to stay with the DSC edition, add additional components. and then ultimately, uh, start moving into what we call the embedded S/4, which would mean that these, different solutions are actually sitting, directly on the S/4 platform as opposed to a side-by-side, which is the DSC edition. They can continue to, to use their DSC edition solutions at the same time that they're deploying, other solutions embedded in S/4. So, there is no sort of mutual exclusivity here. they can continue these on parallel paths. Ultimately we have a, a methodology to merge these together because there are advantages to being on a common S/4 platform. And as companies move more towards the S/4, S/4 HANA cloud, platform, this will be an ideal opportunity for them to kind of merge everything together, between the DSC edition and S/4. So that's kind of what we see, as a, a long-term plan. And again, we have multiple paths, multiple approaches, that that customers can, look at to, to take that journey.

TomRaftery:

Cool. Cool. Great. Okay, Sandy, if people want to know more about yourself Sandy Markin or about the DSC edition or any of the things we talked about on the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

SandyMarkin:

So they can certainly look me up on LinkedIn. And you can read all about my, my glorious past, And, there are links there to the DSC edition. I posted links out there. They can go to sap.com and I will actually send you, there's a direct link that will get them. There are multiple ways, from within sap.com to get to the DSC edition. I will send you a link that, you know, has the fastest way to get there.

TomRaftery:

Tremendous tremendous. I'll put that link in the show notes. So everyone has access to it. Sandy. That's been really interesting. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

SandyMarkin:

Well, you're welcome, Tom. And thank you for hosting and I wish everybody out there, safety and, and, and, and good times.

TomRaftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to sap.com/digital supply chain, or, or simply drop me an email to Tom dot Raftery @sap.com. If you'd like to show, please, don't forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application at choice to get new episodes, as soon as they are published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks catch you all next time.

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