Monday, October 15, 2012

When ZAP replaces SAP during the implementation... will not be able to fix mistakes once you know better!

Not too long ago I was asked to improve on a customers finished goods planning process. Naturally, we explored their decision making and segmentation of MTS versus MTO and the according availability checking procedures, lead times and handling of the forecast with its consumption for MTS.

In SAP, the driving force and central object for this kind of thing is the 'strategy group' in MRP3 of its MMR.

And there we found a ZF, a ZS, a Z5 and many more. But there was not even one standard strategy group in use. As you know the strategy group has a main strategy which drives automatic requirements determination, so I was checking in customizing and found strategies ZS, ZF and Z5. Well... on I went to see what these Zs do. In the customizing table for the strategy I then found planning requirements types and customer requirements types... All starting with Z. Then the settlement rule: ZSFG and behind that were Z accounts. So I was digging into the requirements type and everything started - you guessed it right - with Z.

At this point I gave up because it was absolutely impossible to figure out anything about what the implementation team had in mind or what we could do to change a finished good from MTO to MTS when it was evident that the sales became very predictable.

All we could do was to recommend a complete reconfiguration. With a lot of effort we helped the customer to run everything off the standard strategies like 40, 10, 20, 30, 52, 81 and the like. Not one Z! They can now analyze and classify and flexibly, effortlessly apply the most effective strategy (or policy) for any given situation.

I have not yet seen ANY situation that could not be resolved with one of the standard strategies.

Don't do the Z thing. And don't let anyone tell you that every change requires the creation of a Z record. This is customization. This is why SAP gives you the customization tables. This is why when you want your own settlement rule, you change strategy 20 to customize the MTO strategy to your specific needs. You CUSTOMIZE SAP so it works for you and you don't recreate an SAP system into a ZAP system that no one will ever understand.