Chapter 1. How to Use This Book: APO as a Mind Map

As with most SAP applications, the best path through this text is not a straight one. SAP applications in general and SAP APO in particular are simply too multidimensional to be suited to a simple, linear decomposition. Just the same, we have undertaken great pains to make SAP SCM as navigable as humanly possible. SAP APO seeks to replace some work that until recently has been strictly limited to the aegis of the human intellect—yet it ultimately does not replace people as much as it elevates their purpose by providing better computation and leveraging more strongly on the human specialties of reason, interaction, and qualitative judgment. Where SAP APO expands the scope of the system in supply planning is when it computationally takes over as much as possible of what used to be exclusively a human analytical domain; in this respect APO may be said to “map a supply planner’s mind,” yet there is no simple way to lay out a map to the human mind. The mind, like APO, is nonlinear. In finding the best way through SAP APO we should think of the supply chain models created in it as models of all the objects, relationships, and dynamics that a human master scheduler, buyer, or production planner intellectually masters in order to employ his or her craft.

Our planner, as such, is concerned with certain components of the supply chain: locations of plants, customers, vendors; products, their components, the transportation lanes between them ...

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