SAP APO CertificationWhat is SAP APO?

Before talking about SAP APO certification, let us quickly recap what is SAP APO. SAP APO (Advanced Planning and Optimization) is a set of applications for managing supply chains of companies. It is one of the key components of SAP SCM (Supply Chain Management) solution. Besides SAP APO, SAP SCM includes components such as SAP Transportation Management (TM), SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM), and others. SAP APO offers the following functionalities:

  • Demand Planning (APO-DP): provides capabilities for managing the demand using statistical forecasting. It also takes into account promotion and life-cycle planning processes.
  • Supply Network Planning (APO-SNP): provides capabilities for performing distribution requirement planning, deployment, optimization, and matching supply and demand.
  • Supply and Demand Matching (APO-SNP): provides capabilities for coordinating demand and supply requirements of an enterprise.
  • Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling (APO-PPDS): enables a company to perform in-house production planning, external procurement planning, scheduling of resources, and sequence optimization.
  • Global Available-to-Promise (APO-GATP): provides capabilities for checking the possibility of order promising and fulfillment using the functions such as rules-based availability check, product and location substitution, and capable-to-promise.
  • Transportation Planning and Vehicle Scheduling (APO-TPVS): provides capabilities for planning and optimizing shipments of orders (purchase orders, sales orders, returns, or stock transfer orders). As a result of planning, orders and deliveries are getting assigned to vehicles.

SAP APO Certification

Like with any other SAP product there is a possibility to get certified in SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization. Unlike other modules, SAP developed several certifications for SAP APO because the scope of this application is relatively extensive and it is difficult to test it thoroughly with a single certification. Here are the variations of SAP APO certification that SAP offers:

  • SAP Certified Application Associate – Strategic Planning (DP/SNP) in SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization 7.0 (booking code C_APO1_72). This certification primarily focused on Demand Planning (APO-DP) and Supply Network Planning (APO-SNP). The main organizational facts about this certification:
    – Duration: 180 minutes;
    – Number of questions: 80;
    – The minimum score that you need for passing this certification: 51%.
  • Production Planning (PP/DS) and Global Available-to-Promise (Global ATP) in SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization 7.0 (booking code C_APO2_72). This certification primarily focuses on Production Planning & Detailed Scheduling (APO-PPDS) and Global Available-to-Promise (APO-GATP). The main organizational facts about this certification:
    – Duration: 180 minutes;
    – Number of questions: 80;
    – The minimum score that you need for passing this certification: 56%.
  • SAP Certified Application Associate – Planning and GATP in SAP SCM APO 7.0 EhP1 (booking code C_TSCM44_65). This certification covers most of the areas of SAP APO. It examines the same concepts as the two certifications listed above (APO-DP, APO-SNP, APO-PPDS, and APO-GATP) but in less detail (because duration of the certification is limited to 180 minutes). The main organizational facts about this certification:
    – Duration: 180 minutes;
    – Number of questions: 80;
    – The minimum score that you need for passing this certification: 61%.

As follows from names of the certifications, they are classified by SAP as certifications for functional SAP consultants at the associate level. The associate level certification is primarily intended for people with up to three years of hands-on experience in SAP APO. SAP also states that project experience is not a prerequisite for passing SAP APO certification. On the other hand, they recommend combining training courses with hands-on SAP implementation experience for the best preparation.

How to Prepare for SAP APO Certification?

It is up to you to choose which SAP APO certification to take. If you specialize only in specific areas of SAP APO (for example, APO-DP or APO-PP), it makes sense to choose either C_APO1_72 or C_APO2_72. They will enable you to demonstrate your deep expertise in the corresponding modules of SAP APO. If you would like to prove your knowledge of the complete SAP APO solution, then it is necessary to pass either both C_APO1_72 and C_APO2_72 certifications or only C_TSCM44_65. The latter option seems attractive because you do not need to spend time and money on two certifications. At the same time, C_TSCM44_65 covers most of the areas of SAP APO.

From our own experience and experience of our students, the best way of preparing for SAP APO certification is to study the official SAP books:

  • SAPSCM Overview of the SAP Supply Chain Management Application
  • SCM200 Business Processes in Planning (SAP SCM)
  • SCM210 Core Interface (CIF)
  • SCM220 Demand Planning (APO DP)
  • SCM221 Features and Functions of Demand Planning (SCM APO)
  • SCM226 Configuration of Demand Planning (SCM APO)
  • SCM230 Supply Network Planning (APO-SNP)
  • SCM235 Planning with Capable-to-Match (APO CTM)
  • SCM250 Production Planning in APO PPDS
  • SCM670 Global Available-to-Promise
  • TZSCM1 Advanced Planning Methods in SNP
  • TZSCM2 Advanced Planning Methods in PPDS

You can get these books by attending the official SAP training courses (online or classroom) or by borrowing them from your friends or colleagues who attended SAP training before. There are also other SAP books that can be used for preparation.

Besides reading books with theory, it is a good idea to practice with sample SAP APO certification questions. They will give you an idea of how good your knowledge of SAP APO is, what is the format of questions at the real SAP APO certification, and what are the gaps in your understanding.

Finally, it is necessary to perform practical exercises. You can practice with SAP APO on your job (if your employer has SAP APO installed and you have access to it) or you can try to download a demo version of SAP APO from SAP Service Marketplace. In the latter case, you will also need to be able to install the program on your machine by following the documentation provided with the demo. An alternative approach is use services of the companies that offer remote access to their sandbox SAP system for monthly fee. There is one company that we particularly recommend and you can find information about them here: SAP IDES Access.

In conclusion, we would like to say that SAP APO certification is not extremely difficult. You can get prepared and pass this certification by learning the theoretical concepts described in the books that were listed above, practicing with sample questions, and doing practical exercises in a demo SAP APO system.