Sunday, October 9, 2016

Benchmarking the degree of your usage of SAP functionality

So you're running on SAP. You have spent a considerable amount of money on software license, hardware, maintenance, upgrades and predominantly on implementing this monster. Do you ever ask the question: Are Your planners operating with and inside SAP functionality or transacting with MS Excel spreadsheets and 3rd party work-arounds?

to answer this question with substance is not quite as easy. In most cases I get the answer "we are using too many spreadsheets" or "we needed to buy third-party software because SAP functionality needed was not there". Well, I'd like to challenge this statement. there is a lot of functionality in SAP and not always (actually in only a few cases) are you being shown all the things that are possible. In my opinion companies are too quick to jump on solutions outside of SAP instead of searching for the solution within.

As you have been using SAP for quite a number of years now, I'd strongly suggest you do some sort of detailed benchmarking to figure out how far you're operating outside of SAP. Following is a suggestion of a spider graph that you could use to do so. This one is specific to Materials Planning with SAP.

as you can see there are a number of questions around that graphic that must be answered. Of course, these questions would have to be customized to your specific industry and business but they should represent a general set of issues you might have. as you answer the questions you should provide a rating and the more you do the function in SAP the lower the rating should be, so that when you're finished - and you find the graphic with a lot of blue stuff - then you are not using a lot of SAP functions to run your business. If however the blue area disappears within the inner SAP circle, your business runs on SAP.

Of course just doing this exercise to know where you are is only a fraction of its intended use. The idea is that you're generating a number of activities to get you into running your business integrated, efficiently and profitably on SAP. For example: implement 'bucketizing' your materials portfolio in MD07 or use buffering strategies with a range of coverage profile or calculate safety stock values in SAP instead of Excel or perform strategic materials planning with SAP.

Why should I do this you might ask? Why and what for did your company invest so much money in SAP software you could answer?