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The Merchandising to Shelf Optimization Integration ES bundle provides retail operations with a service-enabled interface between SAP Retail and third-party shelf optimization programs (SOP).

Business Value

The bundle helps reduce the time required to plan and arrange space for changes and additions in product lines within a single store or a store group and contributes to rapid and efficient changeovers of stock, improving sales and minimizing customer dissatisfaction. It furthermore increases the data quality and accuracy in both systems and reduces the errors caused by manual data transfer.  Finally, product assortments are not overcrowded when checked against capacity constraints, which results in better inventory control.

The enterprise services in this ES bundle are used as part of the iterative process of interacting with SAP Retail (SAP ERP configured as industry solution for Retail) and the third-party SOP system. E.g. The SOP operator performs an optimization of shelf space, visualizes the items in SOP and then delivers a space-optimized assortment to SAP Retail including valuable shelf capacity and labeling information per product assigned. The assortment planner then checks these changes and releases or changes the plan, and sends it back to SOP.

The Merchandising to Shelf Optimization Integration ES bundle leverages SOA by interfacing SAP Retail with external SOP software packages.

Merchandising to Shelf Optimization Integration
(click to enlarge)

Audience

Planners and managers in retail operations who are responsible for determining how and where a store presents products to shoppers will find this ES bundle valuable.

The following roles could use services of this ES bundle:

  • Space planners: Space planners are responsible for the optimization of the shelf space and the proper visualization of the given products. Dependent on the organizational structure, a space planner's responsibility can vary from pure placement to responsibility for product assignment and deletion.
  • Category managers: Category managers are responsible for the final results of a category and approve all the work done by specialists for this category.
  • Assortment planners: Assortment planners work on assortment proposals which are then communicated to SOP for optimization. Sometimes the roles of assortment planners and space planners are combined.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace .


How to use this Bundle

Today's retailers are responsible for the management and presentation of thousands of products.  Integration between the highly visual SOP systems and retail software such as SAP Retail is crucial to help ensure that the right products are in the right stores at the right time and at the right price, a process that entails anticipating what customers are looking for and building a product mix that attracts customers. Shelf optimization software enables the best possible use of space to maximize sales and profits while addressing a retailer's strategic assortment goals, by identifying the ideal product placement to attract customers. SOP packages also assist managers who may be called upon to generate a plan showing a product's visual appearance on a shelf before releasing the plan to the operational processes. And finally they support shelf compliance in the store to put the new planned shelf layouts into action.

Shelf optimization is a very agile process that employs various components such as analytics, planning, merchandise management, and shelf optimization. In the fashion industry, plans are made for the long term; in the fall and winter months, fashion retailers are talking to their suppliers about what kind of clothing will be in style for spring. Even though the products are still in the planning phase and not yet physically somewhere in the distribution chain, retailers want to plan how everything will look on the shelves and the racks. Food retailing, on the other hand, very often does this planning over shorter operative processes, as do electronics and other non seasonal retail operations which may be driven more by holiday sales.

Before we describe the process, let's review the key business objects:

Assortment : An assortment is a grouping of products that may be ordered by a store or by a wholesaler.

Store Layout Element : A Store Layout Element is an element of a layout presentation for a group of materials in a store. A store layout element can correspond to one or more store fixtures containing the offered products and a placement sequence can be established within it.

Store Fixture: Store Fixture is a means of presenting goods in a store. Examples of store fixtures are shelves, racks, pegs, rounders and freezer cabinets.

SAP Retail Term

SOP Term

SOA Term

Layout Module (time dependent)

Planogram

Store Layout Element (time dependent)

Table 1. SAP Retail, SOP, and SOA terms

The SOA Business Object store layout element corresponds in SAP Retail with the layout module. Both objects have versions representing a time dependent status. The layout module version / store layout element version corresponds in the Shelf Optimization Program (SOP) with the so called planogram (= shelf plan). The relationship between layout module and assortment has to be 1:1.

An assortment planner releases the Store Layout Element to SOP using the layout workbench (this requires that the SOP is installed and running on a server and not the front end). Alternately, a space planner could open a relevant Store Layout Element, which corresponds to a planogram within SOP, and requests the data from SAP Retail by calling an enterprise service. After the Store Layout Element is optimized, the space planner sends back the Store Layout Element from SOP to SAP Retail. If the communication starts from a third-party SOP, then that program's provider has to create a specific UI for the communication.

System Requirements

  • SAP Retail (SAP ERP 6.0 EHP5)
  • Third-party Shelf Optimization Solutions
  • SAP Netweaver PI

Use Cases

The following series of use cases for the Merchandising to Shelf Optimization Integration ES bundle show how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations. While these examples illustrate a few of the ways that this ES bundle could be used, the intention is to show the flexibility and reusability of these business objects and enterprise service operations so that you will have a clearer understanding of how to best deploy them in your own environment. This wiki is also a space for you to share knowledge and collaborate with others who are implementing the Planning to Shelf Optimization Integration ES bundle.

Use case 1: Optimizing Shelf Space (Push Scenario)

The process starts inside the Layout Workbench of SAP Retail where an assortment planner creates a layout module version and assigns products to it. Additionally (and optionally), he makes a recommendation about the number of units (facing) or a preferred location on the shelf after negotiations with the supplier or instructions from the category manager. The assigned products are only a proposal as it is not clear at this stage if all products can be fit into the corresponding shelf.

The assortment planner releases the layout module version for optimization from the Layout Workbench in SAP Retail. In this “Push”-case the service Request Assortment Store Layout Element  is used.

(Optional) The Space Planner needs further information about the fixtures that are assigned to the store layout element. For this purpose the service Read Store Layout Element Store Fixture  is used to send the fixture information for a store layout element from SAP Retail to SOP.

The Space planner optimized the planogram within third-party SOP. E.g. he removes products or changes facing quantity of products.

The space planner has finished his optimization. The Maintain Store Layout Element* *service operation is called out of SOP to update the assignments of an existing store layout element (for example, If you remove a product from a layout module version and update the facing quantity for other products) accordingly in SAP Retail.

The category manager finally checks the optimized layout module version and approves it by releasing its status from “Planned” to “Released”. The automatic listing activities are started. If it is not approved, the assortment planner makes changes again and resends these changes to the SOP for completion. This means that the communication between SAP Retail and SOP can happen several times until the new layout module version is finally approved.

Step

Enterprise service invoked

Step 1: the assortment planner creates a layout module version in SAP Retail and prepares it for the optimization.

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Step 2: the assortment planner sends the store layout element from SAP Retail to Shelf Optimization Program.

Request Assortment Store Layout Element

Step 3: (Optional) the assortment planner sends the fixture information for a store layout element from SAP Retail to SOP.

Read Store Layout Element Store Fixture 

Step 4: the space planner optimizes the planogram within third-party SOP.

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Step 5: the space planner sends the updated store layout element back to SAP Retail to update the layout module version accordingly.

Maintain Store Layout Element 

Step 6: the Assortment planner checks the optimized the layout module version in SAP Retail

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step


Use case 2: Optimizing Shelf Space (Pull Scenario)

This use case is an alternative for use case 1.  Now the space planner opens in SOP an existing planogram, invoking the enterprise service Read Assortment Store Layout Element  to read the latest information from SAP Retail (Pull). The space planner then optimizes the planogram in SOP. Once finished, the space planner sends the planogram back to SAP Retail by invoking Maintain Store Layout Element , which updates the assortment version with all related information. The assortment planner may now approve the new version in SAP Retail.

Step

Enterprise service invoked

Step 1: the assortment planner creates a layout module version in SAP Retail and prepares it for the optimization.

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Step 2: the space planner opens the planogram in the SOP system and reads the latest information to this store layout element from SAP Retail.

Read Assortment Store Layout Element 

Step 3:  the space planner optimizes the planogram within third-party SOP.

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Step 4: the space planner sends the updated store layout element back to SAP Retail to update the layout module version accordingly.

Maintain Store Layout Element 

Step 5: the Assortment planner checks the optimized the layout module version in SAP Retail

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Use case 3: Creating a new assortment /layout module in SAP ERP Retail from SOP (from scratch)

Besides the typical optimization process there is also the need that the space planner has got the permission to create a new layout module with its initial version out of SOP.

This use case starts with the space planner creating a new planogram in SOP from scratch. No previous planogram exists  and requires the creation of an initial assortment/layout module in SAP Retail accordingly. The synchronous service Maintain Assortment  enables the maintenance of an assortment in SAP Retail. It allows the creation of a new assortment and its corresponding layout module (and its initial version), which can be triggered automatically through certain customizing parameters.

Step

Enterprise service invoked

Step 1: the space planner opens SOP and creates a totally new planogram from the scratch.

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Step 2: the space planner assigns products to this new planogram and optimized it.

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Step 3: the space planner sends the new store layout element with its placement information to SAP Retail and the assortment and its corresponding layout module with an initial version is created in SAP Retail accordingly.

Maintain Assortment
Maintain Store Layout Element 

Step 4: the assortment planner can now check the proposal of the space planner in the Layout Workbench of SAP Retail

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Use case 4: Creating new layout module version in SAP Retail from SOP

Alternatively to use case 3 (creation of layout modules) there is also the need that the space planner has got the permission to create new layout module versions out of SOP.

This use case starts in SOP when the space planner opens an existing planogram, invoking the enterprise service Read Assortment Store Layout Element  to read the latest information from SAP Retail. The space planner then creates a new planogram and optimizes its layout. Once finished, the space planner sends the new planogram to SAP Retail by invoking Maintain Store Layout Element , which creates the new layout module version inside SAP ending the current version one day before the validity date of the new one automatically. The assortment planner may now approve the new layout module version in SAP Retail.

Step

Enterprise service invoked

Step 1: The space planner opens the planogram in the SOP system and reads the latest information to this store layout element from SAP Retail.

Read Assortment Store Layout Element 

Step 2: The space planner creates a new planogram and optimizes the layout.

no enterprise service operation is invoked during this step

Step 3: the space planner sends the new store layout element to SAP Retail to be created there as layout module version accordingly.

Maintain Store Layout Element

Future Directions

No future directions are planned for this bundle at this time. Related retail bundles are planned for development.

Related ES Bundles

This ES bundle is similar to the ES bundle Planning to Shelf Optimization Integration .

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