Automation of production planning with SAP PP Why it's worth getting started

Cumulative crises are currently exacerbating the volatility of global markets. But fluctuations in demand and the demand for delivery times that are as short as possible are not new, nor are growing complexity and continuing cost pressure - both in discrete manufacturing and in the process industry. However, producing more efficiently, maintaining flexibility and at the same time guaranteeing the usual high level of quality requires integral, reliable production planning and control (PPC).

SAP PP - short for Production Planning and Control - is a module from the SAP ERP world that helps you master the challenges involved and, at the same time, fully meet your customers' expectations. In our latest blog article, we explain why this is not just a promise disguised as a steep thesis, but why SAP PP actually brings far-reaching, lasting benefits in real-life tests.


In the context of production planning, both primary and secondary requirements can be calculated precisely. Internal and external influencing factors are also evaluated in the software in order to design the production process optimally and efficiently. Production control, in turn, explicitly follows the specifications of production planning and continuously compares the actual and target status.

With SAP PP (SAP Production Planning and Control), the manufacturing industry automates and simplifies production planning and control. The software handles material requirements, production process and batch size planning, taking capacities and deadlines into account. It prioritizes the sequence, controls orders and monitors the entire execution process.

Effective and efficient production is a central pillar for assured competitiveness in dynamically developing markets. Increasingly complex processes in conjunction with a high diversity of variants can only be mastered and efficiently controlled with software support today. One such tool or quality guarantor is SAP PP (SAP Production Planning and Control) in conjunction with SAP MES.

Production planning and control - a definition

As a sub-discipline of production management, production planning and control focuses on material requirements planning, production process planning taking into account planned batch sizes, deadlines and capacities, as well as the continuous monitoring and control of operational production processes. The aim is to optimize production facilities and systems throughout, while maintaining constant capacity utilization. Target deviations are detected at an early stage and can be corrected by targeted countermeasures. This is usually done on the basis of standard software such as SAP PP (SAP Production Planning and Control).

Scope of functions (SAP Production Planning and Control)

The central task of SAP PP (SAP Production Planning and Control) is to create a process design within production that is optimized in line with the daily order volume and in which one cog meshes smoothly with the other. To this end, the global market leader SAP SE has integrated five sub-modules into the standard softwareSAP PP:

  1. SAP PP-MRP - "Material Requirements Planning" is essential to ensure the highest possible material availability at all times. These can be raw materials, individual parts or even entire assemblies.
  2. SAP PP-PI - "Process Industries" primarily addresses, as the term already implies, the batch-oriented processes of the process industry - such as in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
  3. SAP PP-REM - "Repetitive Manufacturing" serves the needs and goals of discrete manufacturing in the course of flow and series production - for example, at automotive manufacturers and suppliers.
  4. SAP PP-SFC - "Shop Floor Control SFC" is the centrally located control instance that constantly compares ongoing production processes with the specifications of the orchestrating production planning and is equipped with an alert function.
  5. SAP PP-MP - "Master Planning" supports you in particular with regard to long-term production planning. For example, material requirements that arise on a quarterly or half-yearly basis can be identified and ordered at an early stage.

Which areas does planning and control cover?

The variety of variants resulting from increasingly special customer requirements, the trend towards individualization or batch size 1, and the demand for high adherence to delivery dates with constantly shortening delivery times are making production planning more and more complex. To achieve this reliably and at the same time to act economically is no longer possible today without adequate software. This also becomes clear when looking at the potential bundled in SAP PP (SAP Production Planning and Control).

The following tasks or areas are covered by SAP PP:

  • Material requirements planning
  • Production process planning
  • Lot size planning
  • Scheduling and capacity planning
  • Sequencing
  • Order release and
  • Order monitoring

All options of SAP PP are united by the goal, together with SAP MES(ME, MII, DM), of creating continuous transparency about the current order processing status, minimizing storage, production and setup time costs, constantly utilizing existing capacities and ensuring a high degree of adherence to schedules with a maximum of quality. In particular, the data generated in the course of order monitoring also provides valuable information for maintenance and service planning in order to maintain machine and system availability.

Advantages of system-supported production planning and control

Companies that want to take advantage of automated, digitally supported production planning and control are basically free to decide whether to work according to the push or pull principle. Proactive production according to the push method can be particularly profitable for large batch sizes and few variants. This can still be organized comparatively. System-supported production planning and control (PPC) based on the pull principle, on the other hand, is much more complex and much more difficult to manage. This is because just-in-time or just-in-sequence specifications are often also applied here, so that synchronization of procurement, production and delivery is mandatory.

Basically, the customer, who has to remain competitive in his industry-specific market, sets the pace. Considering the results to be achieved by using SAP PP (SAP Production Planning and Control), it is clear that both companies and their customers benefit equally.

Achievable benefits through SAP PP in conjunction with MES (ME, MII, DM):

  • Inventory in the warehouse and capital commitment costs are reduced
  • Existing production capacities are utilized in the best possible way
  • Flexible reaction to new requirements and prioritization is possible at any time
  • Shorter lead times ensure high delivery readiness and adherence to delivery dates
  • Production costs are successively reduced in the long term

Conclusion and outlook

In production, varying customer requirements and economic constraints come together, which have to be solved in terms of planning - and this as quickly and reliably as possible on a daily basis. The networking of machines and IT, or the digitalization of production, opens up approaches to solutions here that have proven themselves in practice for years on the one hand and open up completely new perspectives on the other.

As a user of SAP PP (SAP Production Planning and Control) and SAP MES (ME, MII, DM, PCO), you also have an overview of all processes and the status of production at all times thanks to feedback tools. Scrap and deviations are detected and reported directly, enabling you to react on the spot. Material requirements planning in SAP PP also has the enormous advantage of being able to take longer-term precautions in times of material shortages at the requirements level. Short-term and often overpriced ad-hoc procurement processes are not completely eliminated, but they are reduced to a minimum.