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How can SAP tools help during a COVID-19 economic downturn?

Managing cash flow, anticipating demand and getting insight into data are three critical ways to manage COVID-19's effects. Here are a few tools meant to provide those capabilities.

Trimming expenses quickly may help companies better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in new opportunities ahead of their competitors. SAP lean business tools are meant to help enable this approach.

Here are three categories of tools and what they can do.

Cash flow management tools

Revenue has fallen significantly for many businesses, and customers who owe money may be slower to pay than usual. SAP Cash Management gives managers real-time visibility into their cash position and enables them to forecast future cash flows based on a broad range of assumptions.

Cash Management also helps finance leaders gain a better understanding of currency positions and associated risks. This is especially important in times of crisis. As business leaders look ahead to the close of the next reporting period, Cash Management can help establish targets and plan for desired end-of-period balances.

Planning and forecasting tools

Sales revenue is highly unpredictable in most industries during times of crisis. Many business leaders have increased the frequency of forecasts to more closely track volatile demand, monitor supply and maintain inventory at optimal levels.

Historically, SAP has offered a range of planning tools, including Sales & Operations Planning and Advanced Planning and Operations. In 2014, SAP bundled these planning tools together as Integrated Business Planning (IBP).

Inventory and supply chain visibility is especially important because so many businesses rely on overseas manufacturing. SAP IBP helps planners gain a better understanding of what's in the pipeline and how they may be affected by reduced supply.

SAP IBP's demand-sensing functionality identifies shifts in demand by examining both internal and external sources, such as point-of-sale data from retailers. The tool also supports the development of comprehensive supply plans, which include identifying alternate sources when supply chain disruptions occur.

Real-time analytics tools

Business leaders need to have up-to-date information about what's happening in their enterprise. The HANA database is meant to dramatically increase the speed with which reports can be generated on high volumes of data. Dashboards built on the SAP Analytics Cloud can provide an integrated view of sales, pipeline, cash position and other key metrics.

For many companies, the current crisis provides a compelling reason to reassess business processes and look for ways to operate more efficiently. SAP lean business tools are meant to help organizations achieve that goal.

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