Success Story

With SAP IBP: Stabilus Group standardizes planning processes and takes them to a whole new level

Sectors: Non sector-specific
Processes: IT, Intralogistics, Warehouse control, Manufacturing, Data Management
References: Stabilus

With the SAP Integrated Business Planning (SAP IBP) cloud solution, the Stabilus Group is creating a single source of truth for planning as the cornerstone for consistent and faster in-depth planning processes that are standardized across departments. The integrated planning solution also helps to permanently improve planning and forecast accuracy, while enabling exception-based planning at the same time. The motion control solutions manufacturer relied on ORBIS’s expertise for the implementation process.

Stabilus offers reliable and innovative solutions that enable, improve or automate precise moving, positioning, opening, closing, lifting, lowering and adjusting and is one of the world’s leading providers in this field.

Stabilus Group

Sector: A leading global provider of motion control solutions for a wide range of industries such as mobility, industrial machinery, automation, energy, construction, healthcare, leisure and furniture
Products: From vibration isolation and shock absorption to electromechanical drives
Head office: Koblenz
Sites: 34 in 18 countries
Employees: Roughly 8,000 employees worldwide

Becoming the world market leader with Strategy 2030

The innovative and high-quality solutions and systems created by the company, which has its head office in Koblenz, usually meet motion control requirements in a wide range of sectors particularly well: in the automotive and solar industries, in furniture, medical and agricultural technology, in aviation, and in industrial plants. It has a global production and sales network at 34 sites in 18 countries, currently employs around 8,000 staff, and generated a turnover of EUR 1.2 billion in 2023.

The development and manufacture of innovative, high-quality products – not to mention tremendous flexibility in terms of customer requirements – have always been crucial to the company’s commercial success. The Stabilus Group is keen to continuously and sustainably strengthen its leading position as part of the “STAR 2030 Strategy”, with the aim of becoming the “world market leader in smart motion control technologies”. The strategy comprises the following four core components: continued solid growth in all regions (primarily in the Asia / Pacific region), a steady improvement in customer and employee satisfaction, targeted expansion of the product range through innovation, and ambitious sustainability targets.

Efficient planning: a competitive advantage

However, highly efficient and transparent core processes that are standardized across all sites and are constantly being improved are just as important for market success. The starting point for this is the central SAP ERP system (ECC 6.0), which is soon to be migrated to SAP S/4HANA, to prepare for the requirements encountered in a dynamic business world and to promote process digitalization.

Stabilus had already introduced the cloud solution SAP Integrated Business Planning (SAP IBP) independently of the switch to the current ERP suite from SAP. It replaces the previously heterogeneous planning landscape, consisting of Microsoft Excel, the SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization (SAP APO) application and SAP’s custom developments. “The different and insufficiently integrated IT tools led to numerous media disruptions and manual interventions during planning, to the detriment of efficiency and transparency,” remarked Timo Kachel (Head of Strategic Controlling at Stabilus).

Single source of truth for planning

Things are different now: SAP IBP creates the single source of truth for planning that is needed to establish standardized and consistent planning for Sales, (Strategic) Controlling and along the logistics chain across the Automotive and Industrial business units. Planning processes can now be completed in greater detail and much faster than before, especially in Sales.

“Above all else, by using SAP’s cloud-based planning solution we are laying the foundation for turning the vision of exception-based planning into a reality in the long term. Exception-based planning focuses on plausibility activities and enables us to work more effectively,” explained Dr. Kachel.

This means that predefined exceptions, rules and alerts directly indicate where there are planning deviations.

SAP IBP also noticeably cuts the complexity of planning for the approximately 220 end users. This includes eliminating manual entry of planned figures for the forecast, leaving more time free for core tasks such as order entry or firefighting. The integrated planning environment also makes a considerable contribution to improving planning and forecast accuracy in the long term.

The flexibly adjustable alert functions, which check planned quantities for consistency as soon as they are entered and immediately display errors or deviations from predefined threshold values, are also very helpful. If there are any undesirable developments (if the planned quantity is lower than the current order backlog, for example), the end user is immediately alerted and can adjust the planned figures promptly. This significantly increases the reliability of planning.

Implementation with expertise from ORBIS

The project managers were still looking for a suitable IT partner to support the challenging SAP IBP implementation process. And that’s precisely what they found in ORBIS SE, which impressed with its expertise in planning processes with SAP IBP, and which they had already successfully implemented several projects in the SAP environment with. Thanks to the collaborative partnership between all those involved in the IT project, not to mention ORBIS’s expertise and the use of agile methods, the introduction process was completed quickly and within the estimated budget, even though it presented a number of challenges.

These included special requirements at Stabilus with regard to expanding the planning area (customer, material, project), adapting the logic for medium-term capacity planning, and combining the various forecast functions to create a standardized planning forecast. The latter means that different forecast variants are stored in two key figures that look back different lengths of time into the past (such as 12 or 24 months). This leads to different results for the planning combination, from which SAP IBP automatically selects the one with the lowest forecast error.

It was also necessary to integrate planning-related data from SAP and non-SAP solutions, as well as other external sources, for planning purposes. The existing SAP BW/4HANA solution is used for this purpose. The data from the various sources is loaded into BW, where it is transformed and prepared for planning. Data from SAP ERP (on the likes of validity of BOM items and available capacities) is, in turn, integrated into IBP planning using logic created specifically for this purpose. Conversely, planning figures from SAP IBP are also incorporated into SAP BW/4HANA and further data is prepared, creating a standardized database for planning evaluation, which is carried out in the SAP Analytics Cloud.

Exception-based planning: a future goal

Planning processes are currently carried out in SAP IBP at 28 sites. Since 2023, the cloud solution has been gradually rolled out in the plants of the Industrial business unit that use SAP software, and currently also in sites that form part of this business unit and use a non-SAP solution. Stabilus is keen to further optimize and strengthen planning with SAP IBP, which forms an integral part of the continuous improvement process (CIP), in the foreseeable future. Among other things, the plan is to extend supply chain planning, which is limited to component pre-planning, to the entire product range at the sites that use SAP ERP and to also carry out purchasing and resource planning in the solution.

Dr. Timo Kachel, Stabilus

„With SAP IBP, we are creating a single source of truth and are thus forming the foundation for consistent and faster planning processes in Sales, Controlling and along the supply chain that are standardized across business units and departments. The cloud software also enables us to implement exception-based planning in the future.” remarked Dr. Timo Kachel.

Dr. Timo Kachel, Head of Strategic Controlling

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