Tuesday, July 04, 2006

External storage location in APO

Consider this generic scenario:

A plant has an external warehouse. The products are planned and produced in the plant and after are transported to the external warehouse. Later they will be transported to the final customer (customer picks the goods or there is another transport).

For example, a specific scenario:
The plant has a warehouse in the harbor for storing materials to be included in a ship transport.

The most obvious way to model this external warehouse in APO is as a location. But then, having a location for each external warehouse has many disadvantages:

- a lot of master data must be created and maintained (if there are 10 plants, each having 10000 materials, and 10 external locations, there will be one million more location-materials in APO).

- demands would have to be created for the external warehouse, and the decision on which warehouse to use may not be available at that time.

Another way (that I'm not sure if it is a supported scenario, but seems to work well) is to model the external warehouse as a storage location of the plant. To transfer goods one has to create STOs having the same supplying and receiving plant (with the storage location address being the base for the address in the delivery). There are some gotchas with this approach:

- the address for TP/VS transport planning is not relevant, so some hacking it's needed to change the destination location for planning the transports

- if using make to stock production, something must be done to avoid the material in the external location being used for other orders

This last approach is bit hackish, but other than that it works and makes the model simpler and more flexible. In my opinion, the overhead for using a location in APO is too large and that reduces it's practical application scope.



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