Generally both are part of SAP’s SCM box but can be implemented independently.
APO is used for advanced planning of demand(generally finished goods, though other material planning is quite possible), supply (various manufacturing plants to various DCs, Inter DCs, Various DCs to customer location, plants to customer locations etc), detailed production planning and scheduling, ATP checking at whole enterprise level , Truck load planning etc. APO is generally used for big enterprises having multiple plants, multiple DCs, a number of suppliers and customers etc.
You can view APO as a planning tool(demand forecast to production and some level of distribution) whereas SNC is a both planning(small extent) & execution tool mainly used for collaboration perspective (with external business partners such as Suppliers <-> Plants <-> customers and Plants<->external manufacturers).
Both tools have different objectives, they work very differently and both are required for enterprises to increase their KPIs in supply chain.
Bad User experience
Lot’s of innovative projects get failed due to bad user experience. Be it big projects like ERP within an enterprise or a small website of a small shop. It’s the people who are going to use/view. If the end product, though having lot’s of capability, is not easy to use then sure the product is going to see the phase-out phase sooner.
New functionalities may increase the capability of the tool/portal but equally important is the user adoption. I’ll share one of my experience, out of many such instances.
There is a new news aggregator tool in market known as Feedpost. When I came across this, I was excited as it’s giving me options to quickly go through many magazines, current news in different topics, including business and economics. But when I signed up it sent invitation emails to all my mail contacts, automatically without asking me anything!! I was taken aback when some of my contacts complained about it. Even it sent reminders to my contacts too!! It was such a bad experience I couldn’t dare to use this tool. Recently I have sent one email to the founder of the tool explaining the issue. I hope they’ll fix this issue soon and no other new user get’s impacted in future!
There is another classic example – evolution of Windows and Macintosh compared to not so easy to use Unix/Linux.
Today’s business is more complex and widespread as compared to previous decades. The manufacturers are more dependent upon their customers and hence need to align w.r.t the changes to customer demand. Same equation persists across the supply network. If the final demand of the end user changes then this change affects backwards till the raw material suppliers.
Just imagine if it’s possible for the entire supply network to work as a team and respond to the dynamicity of the end-user demand, then it’s a big advantage for the entire supply network as well as the end-user.
This is where ‘Supply Chain Collaboration’ or ‘Supply Network Collaboration’ comes into picture. So I would define ‘Supply Chain Collaboration’ as- Collaboration, at both planning & execution level, between 2 or more entities of the supply network in order to bring more values to all the business partners involved.
As I mentioned collaboration can be done at various phases of the value network. The methods and objectives also vary a lot depending upon the industry and business model. Many tools are available in today’s market to cater this requirement. Some instances are SAP, JDA, Infor etc.