SAP Product Footprint Management: Q3-22 Updates & Highlights

This blog post continues my quarterly series of highlighting the major new features and functions in SAP Product Footprint Management. In this edition I will cover:

Emission Factors Management

One of the main challenges in calculating product footprints is finding and assigning the right emission factors for evaluating the environmental impact of business activities. In SAP Product Footprint Management, we address this challenge by providing apps to import emissions factors from various sources and for mapping those factors to business data from connected ERP systems. To improve and simplify those tasks for our customers we introduced many enhancements in the recent releases.

Improved Import Emission Factors App

In SAP Product Footprint Management, you can leverage emission factors from existing lifecycle assessments (LCA) – your own ones or datasets provided by LCA content providers. For sure also data coming from suppliers directly can be used and is the preferred option if available. For uploading and managing this data we developed the Import Emission Factors app. You find more and detailed information in this blog post: Emission Factors Management in SAP Product Footprint Management.

In the app you can import datasets from our partners directly (see next chapter for more details) or you can download the template in MS Excel format and maintain it with your own LCA data, with data from any LCA content provider or with data from your suppliers. Next week, we plan to release a whole new user experience in this app: You can search and view all the imported emission factor datasets and navigate through all the data that is available in your system. For every factor you receive a detailed overview, making it easier for you to understand the specifics to being able to later map the right factor to your business data:

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Import Emission Factors App – View Dataset

For future releases we plan further improvements and plan to offer a direct connection and integration to emission factor databases. For receiving data directly from suppliers, we also have many concepts, such as leveraging the SAP Business Networks and developing an API based on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). You find some information in the outlook further below.

The most convenient way to import LCA data into SAP Product Footprint Management is by leveraging the emission factor datasets from our partners in the SAP Store. Today, ecoinvent and CarbonMinds are providing their comprehensive databases in SAP’s required data format via this channel – this means you don’t have to fill out the MS Excel template manually and can directly import their respective file into the application to start your carbon footprint calculation.

For more information on ecoinvent and their carbon footprint emission factors database I’m recommending our upcoming SAP Community Call “How to leverage emission factors from ecoinvent for your product footprint” on October 26th, 2022. In this free-of-charge session with experts from ecoinvent and SAP you will learn more about ecoinvent, a partner who builds on more than 20 years of experience in LCA methodology development and LCI data, and about how to use their emission factors in SAP Product Footprint Management. You can watch the session live or later as replay on YouTube:

New Emission Factors Mapping Experience

One of the most important steps in calculating product footprints is mapping the right emission factor from the imported dataset to the purchased products from the replicated SAP S/4HANA data. To optimize and simplify this often-complex process we have merged the former table with five different mapping templates and introduced a single, unified mapping template called Map Purchased Products with Emission Factors. With this new template you can configure all your mappings regardless of the granularity.

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Map Purchased Products with Emission Factors

One of the great features of this innovation is that the system is now also providing you a prefilled template which already contains all combinations of business data that you have imported into the solution and scoped in the Calculation Template. You then only need to assign the emission factors package and the respective source ID of the emission factor that fits best to each combination. In case of any errors or conflicts, you will be notified. The order in which the factors are used for the footprint calculation can be maintained in the rank column.

The new mapping template also offers empty field support. This means you can leave blank all fields for which you don’t have information or which you don’t need in the desired granularity level. For example, in above screenshot no plants are maintained because you are using the same emission factors for calculating the products in all your plants, or for the product BUTTER100 the field supplier is left blank as you don’t have supplier-specific data and therefore the specific mapping for this product can be applied to any supplier.

You find more information and details on the new capabilities in the blog post SAP Product Footprint Management: New Experience with Mapping by Swati Nair.

With the recent release SAP Product Footprint Management is now also supporting additional date formats in the mappings upload, apart from just the ISO format. This also improves the process and usability as the users don’t have to change the date format to ISO when they are using external tools like Microsoft Excel for editing the mappings.

To further optimizing and simplifying the mapping process we are investing to deliver many more improvements in future releases. We for example plan to provide in-app editing of the mapping records with value help as well as a guided configuration. Our goal is to provide an intelligent mapping which is supported by technologies like machine learning.

 

As per one of the key value propositions of SAP Product Footprint Management the calculated footprints are integrated into the core processes of SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud. With the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2202 release we already delivered the integration of footprints into the Purchasing processes, so that a purchaser now has visibility on the emissions related to Purchase Requisitions (PRs). You find more information on this use case in my Q1-22 Highlights Blog Post.

With the recent SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2208 release we are now also providing an integration into Inventory Management (MM-IM). In a first step it is now possible to display footprints in the Stock – Multiple Materials application, which is used by inventory managers in their daily work to get an overview of their material stocks:

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Displaying Footprints in SAP S/4HANA: Stock – Multiple Materials Application

This innovation provides transparency on the environmental impact of the stock for which the inventory manager is responsible for. In the past he/ she was using this app for an overview of the stock quantity and the respective financial value of the stock, now it is possible to also take sustainability criteria into decision making.

The CO2e footprints are calculated per unit (e.g. kg) in SAP Product Footprint Management and published into SAP S/4HANA Cloud where they are stored in the Footprint Integration Component. The Stock – Multiple Materials app pulls the footprint data from there and displays the footprints for each material by multiplying with the respective quantity. In future releases we plan to extend the integration to more Inventory Management processes and applications like Inventory KPI Analysis.

The following system demo video shows more details of this integration and its value:

Outlook on Planned Features & Functions

In the upcoming months, we plan to introduce and release many more major new features and big capabilities in SAP Product Footprint Management. The way forward for our application is to evolve from calculating Product Footprints to Value Chain Footprints, enabling a flexible use for the calculation of different GHG scope emissions (scope 1, 2 & 3). The first step into value chain footprint calculation that we plan to release in October 2022 already is the calculation of Transportation Footprints. This will provide you new insights and transparency on the emissions related to the transport of your purchased goods from your supplier to your production site, as well as the transport of the finished goods to your customers. You find a preview of this functionality in my Q2 highlights blog post. Over the course of next year, we plan to integrate different GHG scope categories and value chain calculations for Material Acquisition (scope 3.1), Facilities (scope 1 & 2), and People Transportation (scope 3.6 [business travel] & scope 3.7 [employee commuting]). This way, we will deliver much more flexibility in the footprint calculation. Please stay tuned for more updates, you will learn a lot more in my upcoming blog posts.

We also plan to deliver many more improvements of our existing apps and capabilities in Q4-22. In the Monitor Footprints App, you can look forward to enhancements of the User Interface and the User Experience. For example, we plan to visualize the breakdown of the calculated footprint in its components, such as the respective raw materials emissions within a manufactured product, down to the supplier level. This also includes new insights into the calculation itself as well as the used emission factors and mappings, enabling full transparency and traceability of the numbers. Furthermore, we plan to deliver an improved error handling, providing more transparency on errors during the footprint calculation as well as recommendations for solving them.

A request we often get from our customers is to extend the data acquisition for the calculation of footprints, which is today based on replicated data from connected SAP systems such as SAP S/4HANA, so that customers are being able to import data from non-SAP sources as well. We carefully listened to this feedback and in Q4-22 we plan to deliver Flat File Upload functionality. This will enable the import of master data, like products, and transactional activity data, such as goods movements via csv-files into the application, so that those data can be used for the footprint calculation as well.

The exchange of footprint and emission data across the supply chain – Carbon Data Exchange – will become more and more important. Footprints you collect from your supplier directly will replace secondary LCA factors from databases over time. To support you in receiving such data conveniently and in an automated way we plan to develop and publish an inbound API, leveraging the standard developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). You find more information on this topic in my Q2 highlights blog post.

The pre-configured Footprint Analytics dashboards that are available as content package in SAP Analytic Cloud (SAC) already provide great possibilities for analyzing the calculated footprints for purchased and manufactured products and providing the actual as-is situation (status quo), you find more information in my Q1 highlights blog post and a system demo in the delta training recording below. For deriving informed decisions for sure you want to also know the expected impacts. That is why beginning in Q4 we plan to provide simulation capabilities, supporting planning, target-setting, and what-if simulations.  Whereas the more strategic decisions are planned to be supported by SAP Sustainability Control Tower – such as company-wide and long-term target setting, signing-off abatement actions and analyzing plan/ actuals comparisons – Footprint Analytics in SAC plans to focus on the operational decisions related to purchased products and the manufacturing processes. In a first step, we plan to provide forecasting capabilities of future GHG scope 3.1 (purchased goods) emissions, extrapolating emissions based on future purchase forecasts and compare to the operational target. In a next step, we plan to provide what-if simulations to identify carbon reduction potential, for example by simulating different buying decisions (shifting to a supplier that can deliver a raw material with lower emissions). Over time we will extend those capabilities to more scope categories and simulation possibilities.

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Simulations in SAC Footprint Analytics (Labs Preview – Subject to Change)

Customer Adoption

SAP Product Footprint Management is now out on the market for one year already and I would like to use this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to all the customers for their interest and trust in our solution. In the last 12 months, we joined forces with various SAP teams and especially our Services organization to successfully run many implementations, pilot projects or proof of concepts, together with our customers. All those projects provided us great opportunities to validate our concepts in various use cases, customer segments and industries. We gained a lot of experiences and learnings, and we received a lot of very valuable feedback from our customers. In an agile development mode, we are building on this feedback to further improve our product and shape our road map.

One example I would like to share here is a major performance improvement, related to the speed of the footprint calculation, that our Engineering teams delivered in a few days only: For one of our customers the calculation run could take up to several hours as the calculation scope was defined very broadly, with many plants and products. Our teams immediately investigated this topic and through changes in the calculation logic algorithms in the solution’s backend this time could be significantly reduced: It is now taking only a few minutes until the calculation results are ready. Thanks to our Continues Feature Delivery, this update could be released instantly and now all our other customers are benefitting from this improvement as well.

Recap Delta Training

The SAP S/4HANA Product Success Delta Training brings detailed updates from all flavors of SAP S/4HANA to our partners and internal stakeholders, directly from product development. Sustainability was part of the agenda on September 16th and if you have missed it, no worries – you find the slides and recordings of all the sessions on SAP Learning Hub (license required).

For your convenience I am embedding here the recording of the SAP Product Footprint Management slot which includes the following content (you can also use the chapter function on the top left):

  • Introduction & Product Overview
  • Product Demos:
    • SAP Product Footprint Management (Configuration & Footprint Calculation)
    • SAP Analytics Cloud (Footprint Analytics)
    • SAP S/4HANA Cloud (Footprint Integration)
  • Summary & Key Differentiators

Additional Information & Updates

There are many more new features and functions which have been released in SAP Product Footprint Management. As always, for an overview please check the What’s New section in the SAP Help Portal which is updated with every new software release.

To stay up to date on SAP Product Footprint Management please follow me here in the SAP Community. In regular cadence I will publish blog posts giving you updates on all the product’s new features and functions as well as deep dives into the product capabilities. I’m also looking forward to engaging with you directly, feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section. For questions please see the Q&A here in the SAP for Sustainability Community. For sure you can also reach out to me directly.