How does SAP Product Footprint Management work?

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As sustainability attracts more attention than ever, SAP has enabled its entire product line, including supply chain software and human capital management, to collect and manage environmental data. The company has also developed new tools focused on sustainability.

One of those tools is Product Footprint Management, which the company announced at the SAP Sustainability Summit earlier this year. Scheduled for release this fall, the software helps provide a holistic view of a product’s overall environmental impact. This should provide business leaders with the information they need to prioritize actions and investments that will improve sustainability.

SAP Product Footprint Management will include a number of features to help companies manage their environmental impact.

Data gathering

The software provides insight by embedding sustainability information into transactional and master data in S / 4HANA. In turn, this should allow companies to record environmental impact at a very granular level and with great precision. The first version of the product will focus on carbon, including the carbon emissions and carbon footprint of a product. Ultimately, the software will also track water use, energy consumption and land use.

Content management

Managing the product footprint will include a standardized framework for organizing all information – a kind of semantic framework for sustainability data. Centralizing this information could help companies assess their sustainability efforts.

Product Footprint Assessment

The product footprint assessment tool should help companies understand the environmental impact of each product throughout its life cycle. The assessment tool calculates the upstream footprint of each product, such as carbon generated by processing raw materials, as well as downstream effects, such as the product’s carbon footprint in a typical use scenario. Any partner in the supply chain will be able to visualize the environmental impact of the product at each stage and make changes to their own part of the process if they wish.

Analysis

Product Footprint Management provides additional insight into sustainability data by generating dashboards and footprint scores for each product, as well as data visualizations, including heat maps and Sankey diagrams, which are flowcharts illustrating the movements of materials. This analysis could help companies decide how to improve their sustainability efforts, including changes in product design and sourcing.

About the Author
Jim Kofalt has spent over two decades working with ERP and CRM software for small and medium businesses. He spent 16 years at SAP working with business applications for SMBs. Previously, he was Product Manager for Integration Technology in Microsoft’s Business Solutions division and managed numerous ERP implementations. He is currently President of DX4 Research, a technology consulting firm specializing in ERP and digital transformation. He holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MBA from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

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