MUFI Rating & Risk – SAP APO PP/DS

MUFI Rating & Risk – SAP APO PP/DS

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: SAP (Select For Vendor Profile)


SAP Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling (PP/DS) is the production planning and scheduling application within the SAP APO or SAP SCM (SAP’s new nomenclature for the suite is SCM, but most people still refer to it as APO) suite.

SAP APO is a broad advanced planning suite that includes, depending on how you count, around ten modules (although the bulk of its implementations are in just four modules. PP/DS is often implemented along with SNP (profiled in our Software Selection Package for Supply Planning). While there is some overlap (which will be explained), these are traditional sequential and supply planning first applications. Both of their designs go back to the mid-1990s, and both products are patterned off of products made by i2 Technologies, which SAP had a partnership within the mid-1990’s.

Application Detail

PP/DS is sold as a heavy duty and sophisticated production planning and scheduling system that can be used in almost any production environment. In truth, due to design flaws, most of PP/DS’s more sophisticated functionality goes unused on projects. Something, which goes virtually unmentioned by the major and even minor consulting companies that recommend PP/DS, is that the application has a narrow scope of practical usage. For this reason, PP/DS is one of the most over recommended applications that we cover. It is repeatedly selected for manufacturing environments that it has zero chance of ever being successfully implemented. One reason for this is PP/DS is chosen for buyers that have no idea how much maintenance is involved with PP/DS. Secondly, PP/DS can only manage discrete and repetitive manufacturing environments and is entirely inappropriate for process-batch and process continuously. Furthermore, even among discrete and repetitive manufacturing, PP/DS can only handle the simplest of manufacturing requirements. Because of PP/DS’s heavy maintenance overhead, it has the highest TCO of any application in its software category. Lesser known applications can produce superior planning output at less than half of PP/DS’s total cost.

Another area of confusion is how PP/DS is implemented. SAP markets PP/DS’s cost optimizer very slowly during the sales process, however, the optimizer is an old design which is extremely difficult to configure correctly, and which can only minimize costs. This is a first generation optimizer based upon when all optimization was cost driven, which has been demonstrated to be a poor approach to optimizing a production facility. Duration optimizers are more relevant for the problem and have proven to be much easier to implement in practice. However, only two software vendors that we cover – PlanetTogether and Delfoi have them. In fact, in the vast majority of PP/DS implementation, while they begin with the optimizer, they eventually move to heuristics. Therefore a significant reason for choosing PP/DS – its optimizer – is almost always nullified during implementation. This is extremely well known by large PP/DS implementers like IBM and Accenture, but they do not share this information with their clients as they want their clients to implement PP/DS. We do not rate applications based on their hypothetical functionality. That is why, even though PP/DS has a dated cost optimizer, as it is not usable, we consider PP/DS to be a heuristic based system. This is why we rate its functionality score as lower than average.

To purchase the most expensive application in the category, and then to accept all of its implementation and maintenance costs merely to run heuristics is a very poor expenditure of a company’s budget.

PP/DS has a difficult to use user interface. This, along with its overall difficulty level makes PP/DS have fixed user uptake issues to clients. This is exacerbated by the fact that PP/DS is also complicated to maintain – meaning PP/DS implementations that we analyze are often in a state of disrepair.

As with all of the APO products, while the ability to simulate is touted in the sales process, in reality, it is so onerous to set up, and on most APO projects simulation is only rarely performed. Therefore companies that use PP/DS

PP/DS has had ample opportunity to be successful, but it has not proven to be so. PP/DS has been negative for production planning and scheduling software in general. It is the best-known high-end production planning and scheduling application, and its failures have given a black eye to the overall software category.

For years consultants have been telling companies to buy a “real” production planning and scheduling application rather than relying upon MRP and Excel. However, when they do – they find that this solution also does not work and does not improve their production and scheduling plans. Many companies think that as SAP is such a large and distinguished company if they can’t get it to work who can? Most do not understand that PP/DS is merely a weak application. If there were a functioning market of information on enterprise software, PP/DS would no longer be recommended, but PP/DS implementations are lengthy and expensive endeavors, two things, which are highly desirable to the major consulting companies.

Finite or Bottleneck Resource

The PP/DS optimizer has the option of paying no attention to the bottleneck setting on the resource or of constraining all bottleneck resources. 

Plant Interactions

In environments where there are dependencies between production activities. One example of this is when a finished good in one factory is fed by semi-finished goods or components (or the components are in a third plant supplying the semi-finished goods plant, which I have in fact seen at several companies) — then the production across the various plants ends up being poorly integrated. For example, the widely used SAP PP/DS application has no way to resolve conflicts between factories that feed each other.  Like almost all production planning and scheduling applications, the application cannot even “see” this relationship because its design is such that each plant is seen as independent during the planning run. While the supply planning system can see the overall supply network, the vast majority of supply planning software can do nothing concerning multi-plant planning because it cannot create routings that span multiple factories.

PP/DS is an application buyer should steer clear of. It does not do what it promises there are far better alternatives in the market.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

SAP along with the major consulting companies have done a very effective job of convincing clients that SAP PP/DS is one of the best production planning and scheduling applications in the market. The fact that it is not only not even technologically impressive, but is extremely difficult to implement – and must be implemented only with its heuristics means that buyers are in for a rough ride with any PP/DS implementation. The trick with PP/DS is only to implement it in elementary environments. PP/DS will fail in complex environments like process industry manufacturing, and there is no advice that we can offer that will change that. We have been kept up to date on a process industry buyer that has been trying to get PP/DS to work for ten years. We told them about the limitations of PP/DS before their implementation, but they decided to put their trust in SAP, and now their operations are seriously compromised because of this application (as well as SAP SNP and DP). Because a PP/DS implementation will have problems in every possible dimension (functionality, user adoption, troubleshooting, output, etc..) PP/DS implementations must be kept simple to avoid a complete disaster.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

PP/DS should not be implemented with its optimizer – it will not work but will burn a tremendous amount of time during the implementation. Instead, PP/DS should be implemented with heuristics right from the beginning. Because the user interface is so weak, the users will require prodigious amounts of training. There are only two possible outcomes to a PP/DS project, very moderate success in the most uncomplicated environments, or failure, which requires successive, visits by high priced “SAP Platinum Consultants,” which don’t end up solving the problem. Following the advice in this section can put a buyer on the pathway to the former. All buyers should be prepared for an extremely challenging implementation.

*We often recommend independent consultants on projects to gain an objective opinion, but this advice will not work for PP/DS. PP/DS consultants that are independent hold the SAP line and distribute information that is as bad as that which is provided by consultants that work for SAP.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Production Planning software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for SAP PP/DS.

Enterprise Software TCO Calculator – SAP PP/DS

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.


  • Vendor Name: SAP (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Production Planning and Scheduling
  • Company Headquarters: Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16, 69190 Walldorf, Germany
  • Site:
  • Contact number: 49.6227.747474
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for SAP PP/DS.

Project Planning Package – SAP APO PP/DS

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.


  • Vendor Name: SAP (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Production Planning and Scheduling
  • Company Headquarters: Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16, 69190 Walldorf, Germany
  • Site:
  • Contact number: 49.6227.747474
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for SAP PP/DS.


Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.


Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Software Category Analysis – Production Planning and Scheduling


Production planning and scheduling software have many more software vendors listed for it in some sources that we think qualify for the title. This is because many ERP vendors say that they can perform production scheduling when in truth most ERP systems provide functionality which is just good enough to impress executives during the sales process, but not good enough to use. In fact, of all of the ERP systems that we cover, only Process Pro and Rootstock meet our standard in terms of having basic functionality in this area.

Most of the ERP applications work off of simple MRP for production planning and scheduling combined with a simplified scheduling screen. However, MRP is only designed to create the initial production plan, and at the very least, production planning and scheduling software should have heuristics. (for instance, Rootstock has a scheduling algorithm) Many ERP software is an attempt to try to cover as broad of an area as possible, but this ends up with dissatisfaction once the system is live. This has been a constant feature in the production planning and scheduling space, which is why so many companies still rely upon Excel to perform production planning.

In practice, the cost savings from effective production planning and scheduling are such that it typically makes sense to purchase a specialized application to do the job. Therefore a well-managed software selection and implementation will often result in a good return on investment.

The Opportunity of Multi-plant Planning

Multi-plant planning, sometimes called a multi-site plan, is the ability to model and make decisions to schedule production between alternate internal production locations that can produce the same product. By definition, companies that have components and subcomponents of final finished goods that are moved between factories have a multi-plant planning requirement. And this requirement applies to all manufacturing environments (discrete, repetitive, process batch, process continuous. A company that does not have multi-plant planning requirements when they start out will have these requirements as soon as they choose to consolidate one stage of manufacturing to a single location to benefit from economies of scale and economies of specialization in that manufacturing process.

Multi plant planning is a more realistic representation of the real modelling requirements within many companies. This is because factories do not merely accept raw materials and ship finished goods. Instead, many factories receive raw materials and ship out subcomponents. Other factories receive subcomponents and ship out components or subassemblies. Many possible combinations of factories are reasonable and always have been at least to some degree.

There is little doubt of the many companies with multi-plant planning requirements. We have experienced the requirements first-hand and in-depth at one company, but have found these requirements at other companies as well – its simply that most are unaware what these requirements are called, that there is academic work which describes them. They are unaware that they are losing efficiency by not being able to account for these requirements. Multi plant planning is a crucial stage in the evolution of planning software. Multi plant planning related to subcontract and contract manufacturing planning all of these planning requirements mean the planning system is indifferent to whether the manufacturing location is owned or not owned by the implementing enterprise. Companies have little in the way of information on multi-plant planning, which should not be surprising in the least. We know from our consulting experience that many companies have multi-plant requirements but are merely not leveraging the software currently available to manage these requirements. In fact, at most companies, the internal discussion about doing so has not even begun. Common reasons as to why this is the case are listed below:

  1. Many decision-makers in companies with multi-plant planning requirements do not know that the functionality to specifically address these requirements exists.
  2. Many companies do not include vendors with multi-plant planning functionality in their software selection initiatives.
  3. No ERP vendor makes external planning software that performs multi-plant planning. Buyers would have to be willing to choose a smaller vendor rather than merely purchasing the ERP vendor’s external planning system. This is, of course, a limiting factor, because buyers tend to buy as much software as they can from one vendor. Incidentally is why the enterprise software sector is so monopolistic and why so many buyers have such a poor fit between their business requirements and the applications they have purchased.

Intercompany Transfer, Subcontracting and Contract Manufacturing

As software buyers/companies have moved to more specialization in their factories (co-locating specific manufacturing in global locations), intercompany transfers have become increasingly common. Concentrating on similar types of production in factories globally has been occurring for some time. Things like subcontracting, which at first glance would seem to reduce the necessity for multi-location planning, increase the necessity for multi-location planning. Even in instances where third parties are involved – such as with subcontracting — the first company or OEM often wants to plan the activities, also if they do not perform the actual execution. We now have the common scenario where planning factories — or at least partially planning factories that are not owned by the company conducting the planning — are a common requirement.

As most enterprise software is not designed to accommodate these requirements, a great deal of effort is needed on the part of companies to both implement and maintain the software. The retort from many vendors might be, “but we offer supplier collaboration and subcontracting” — which is true. However, it is also true that these tend to be tricky implementations, and in some cases, such as with supplier collaboration, there are in fact, few success stories.


Along with multi-plant planning, subcontracting has dramatically increased as a planning need within companies. Subcontracting is another form of production where there is ambiguity between the external plant and the internal locations. Another related concept is contract manufacturing, where the product is produced entirely by the contract manufacturer, but planning responsibility is shared. Some supply chain planning applications can plan subcontracting; however, the functionality of multi plant production planning functionality can make comparisons between an alternative product that is either internal or external to the company. In some circumstances, production may be outsourced; in other cases, it may be planned to be produced internally. Often inflexible planning systems mean that companies are forced to make these types of decisions “strategically.” However, in the software described in this book, the alternatives can be set up in the model, and the application can switch between internal and outsourced manufacturing as the situation changes.

Understanding the Segmentation Between Supply and Production Planning


The main area of focus of most supply chain planning vendors that develop software in this area has been not to integrate the supply planning application and production planning application. Most software vendors assume them to be two different things.

The weakness of this design is the natural inconsistency between the supply planning application and the production planning application. For example, SNP and PP/DS — and most other supply and production planning applications — work off of a different set of assumptions. Just setting the timings and planning horizons between these various systems is a lot of work, as is displayed by the following screenshot.

APO Planning Horizons

We have spent quite a lot of time walking implementing companies through how to integrate planning horizons and timings in SAP APO. The topic is so involved we published a book specifically on this topic titled, SCM Focus Press book Planning Horizons, Calendars and Timings in SAP APO.

In environments where there are dependencies between production, such as when semi-finished goods or components feed a finished good in one factory. Or the components are in a third factory supplying the semi-finished goods plant – which we have seen at several companies. Then the production planning and scheduling across the various plants end up missing out on several planning opportunities that a multi-plant planning system could leverage.

Software Category Summary

Production planning and detailed scheduling is still an area with a great deal of potential. The software category does not have that many quality applications – and most the applications are 1st generation applications that are masquerading as leading-edge applications that should probably be retired. Once again, proper selection is critical, as the ability to receive value from 1st generation production planning applications has proven to be very difficult.

MUFI Rating & Risk

See the MUFI Ratings & Risk below for all of the applications we cover.

Vendor NameApplication
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP ECC
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
EpicorMUFI Rating & Risk – Epicor ERP
SageMUFI Rating & Risk – Sage X3
InforMUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Lawson
Small and Medium ERP
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP Business One
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – JD Edwards World
ProcessProMUFI Rating & Risk – ProcessPro
RootstockMUFI Rating & Risk – Rootstock
ERPNextMUFI Rating & Risk – ERPNext
OpenERPMUFI Rating & Risk – OpenERP
MicrosoftMUFI Rating & Risk – Microsoft Dynamics AX
Financial Applications
IntacctMUFI Rating & Risk – Intacct
IntuitMUFI Rating & Risk – Intuit Quickbooks Enterprise Solutions
FinancialForceMUFI Rating & Risk – FinancialForce
NetSuiteMUFI Rating & Risk – NetSuite OneWorld
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP PLM
Arena SolutionsMUFI Rating & Risk – Arena Solutions Arena PLM
Hamilton GrantMUFI Rating & Risk – Hamilton Grant Recipe Management
Demand Planning
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP APO DP
TableauMUFI Rating & Risk – Tableau (Forecasting)
Business Forecast SystemsMUFI Rating & Risk – Forecast Pro TRAK
Demand WorksMUFI Rating & Risk – Demand Works Smoothie
JDAMUFI Rating & Risk – JDA Demand Management
ToolsGroupMUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)
Supply Planning
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP SNP
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP SmartOps
ToolsGroupMUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply Planning)
Demand WorksMUFI Rating & Risk – Demand Works Smoothie SP
PlanetTogetherMUFI Rating & Risk – PlanetTogether Galaxy APS Superplant
Production Planning
DelfoiMUFI Rating & Risk – Delfoi Planner
PreactorMUFI Rating & Risk – Preactor
AspenTechMUFI Rating & Risk – AspenTech AspenOne
PlanetTogetherMUFI Rating & Risk – PlanetTogether Galaxy APS
BI Heavy
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP BI/BW
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP Business Objects
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle BI
SASMUFI Rating & Risk – SAS BI
MicroStrategyMUFI Rating & Risk – MicroStrategy
IBMMUFI Rating & Risk – IBM Cognos
TeradataMUFI Rating & Risk – Teradata
ActuateMUFI Rating & Risk – Actuate ActuateOne
BI Light
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP Crystal Reports
QlikTechMUFI Rating & Risk – QlikTech QlikView
TableauMUFI Rating & Risk – Tableau (BI)
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP CRM
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle RightNow
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle CRM On Demand
InforMUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Epiphany
Base CRMMUFI Rating & Risk – Base CRM
SalesforceMUFI Rating & Risk – Salesforce Enterprise
SugarCRMMUFI Rating & Risk – SugarCRM
MicrosoftMUFI Rating & Risk – Microsoft Dynamics CRM
NetSuiteMUFI Rating & Risk – NetSuite CRM