Business Process Flows in SAP PP-PI

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In this post we are going to see the main business process flows to take into account in the SAP PP-PI (Production Planning – Process Industries) functionality.


From the planning point of view, the business process flows of process industries are not different than the ones in discrete manufacturing. For more detail you can visit our Introductory Course to SAP PP.

The demand can be created via forecast, entered into the system as planned independent requirements, or, once sales order from customers have arrived, directly through these ones.

The MRP (Materials Requirements Planning), will project the stock, taking into account planned entries, due to other process or planned orders, and planned issues, due to demand or inspection lots. It will detect stock out and propose planned orders for filling them.

Once the start date of planned orders arrives, these ones must be converted into process orders in order to initiate their process.

Through this process, it will be possible to analyze the load capacity versus the available capacity (MRP live in S/4 HANA does not plan at finite capacity). It will also be possible to analize the costs to be incurred with the planned manufacturing activity.

Planning Business Process for SAP Process Industries



The execution process flow of the process order starts with its creation, either through the conversion of a planned order of through its manual creation.

Thought it is not mandatory, it is a common practice for compliance with the GMP guidance, mainly in some industries like Pharma, to request the approval of each process order. This one can be automatic, if the master data are already validated and approved, or manual for each process order in particular. It is possible to configure this approval according to the requirements of each organization.

The process order cannot be released till it is approved. The release process is the one that indicates the firm compromise of initiating that process order and it normally triggers automatically other actions, like the request of raw materials to the warehouse, the sending of the process order to the MES (Manufacturing Execution System), …

Normally, the release implies the formal transfer of the process order from the planning to the manufacturing department.

Depending on the functionality used in the warehouse for managing the raw materials and components, the staging process can be different. Functionalities with bin management, such as WM or EWM, allow more control over this activity. Normally, it will be the warehouse personnel the one in charge of moving the required materials to the location where they will be used for the manufacturing process.

Process manufacturing usually starts with the weighing process. So the PP-PI functionality will generally be connected to the weighing machine, either directly or through an MES which will be interfaced to SAP S/4.
The weighing process is complex. It implies the consumption of the required quantities (inside their tolerances) and return to the warehouse the leftovers.
Once the weighing activity has been done, the quantities to be processed will be consumed. Again, it is possible that is operation is done in a MES. In any case, this system will be connected to S/4 HANA, and it will transfer these consumptions in a way that they will be reflected automatically in the process order in real time.
Process Industries manufacturing normally have two very different manufacturing process. The Bulk manufacturing, that can be for cooking liquids, like creams, beverages, … or tablets or other products. And the Packaging, in the different containers, boxes and finally pallets.
Theste two proesses are very different. The first one requires additional hygienic measures and the capacity is restringed to the size of the mixers or cooking machines. While the packaging usually is done in production lines, in which helped by machines, operators pack the bulk until it is totally consumed.
Each quantity of bulk manufactured in a process order, due to that is is processed with the same parameters and materials, will constitute a new batch. In case that n the same process orders we would have quantities manufactured with different relevant parameters, we should split it in smaller ones. The main  function of the batch is to identify the quantities of a a material that have been manufactured in the same way, so that we can add to it the same common characteristics. They system will help us to maintain the trazability in order to know in which finished goods is used each batch, so that in case of a requirement to block or retire the quantities manufactured in a batch, these can be identified.
The bulk process orders and packaging process orders have the same structure and processes in SAP, but normally they contain different operations and phases and have different administrative treatments.
Once a process order has been completely processed, or during its process, it will be possible to enter the quantities that have been processed, as well as the times the operators or machines have employed on them. All of which will be used for calculating its real cost.
Either for entering the goods issues, as well as the confirmations, especially in those cases where there is not an MES in place, it will be possible to use the Work Instructions functionality (PI Sheet). In it, it is possible to detail the instructions for the operators, as well as to habilitate text boxes for entering the consumed materials, batches, times, quantities, …
Finally, once the manufacturing process has been completed, the goods entry of the manufactured material will be entered in the system. In the bulk manufacturing process, normally there will be only one entry, while in the packaging process, the quantities being packed are being entered, either once a pallet or a box is complete.
Business Processes for execution of manufacturing in Process Industries


Process Orders
SAP S/4 HANA PP-PI Transactions