SAP Application Consulting
Under the name Application Consulting I understand standard SAP consulting related with one of 7 SAP logistics moduels where I have necessary skills and expirience. Hereunder I am providing brief description about what I know and what I did so far in the are of each module.
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The Material Management Module (MM) is one of the crucial in the SAP ERP structure application. It was established as one of the first and it’s hard to imagine the existing of the company (particularly productive or commercial) without SAP MM.
This module is the first with whom I met during my adventure with SAP and to this day I am ‘faithful’ to it. It consists of several key components, such as :
1 Basic Data Management
2 Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
4 Inventory with valuation
5 Revision of purchase invoices
Of course, all these elements belong to my core competencies. I`ve had the opportunity to implement various advanced solutions integrated with other functionalities of SAP and external systems in each of these areas exept of standard funcionalities. It is worth of mention:
1. The use of IDOC / ALE mechanism to creating, managing change in master data (materials, suppliers, customers, BOM’s, etc.) in SAP and external applications. Designing and implementing mechanisms in order to control the flow of workflow tasks and information throughout the life cycle of master data. The use of ECM mechanisms (Engenering Change Management) to manage engineering changes as well as the management of political parties, mainly in the chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries.
2. It’s probably my favorite subject. During recent years I`ve had the opportunity to design (optimization) and implement the SAP advanced planning mechanisms related to the integrated planning, such as: S & OP, MPS, MRP, deploying of tools for forecasting or independent Requisition management in different production environments ETO, MTO, ATO and MTO. At this point I should mention that I have a unique experience in the “” translating “the” philosophy of integrated planning tools available to APICS in the SAP environment. Issues related to planning control production of capacities type at various levels of planning or integration with external planning tools eg. SAP APO or MANUGISTIC are not new to me.
3. SAP procurement is probably the nicest and most intuitive system`s area. I have wide experience within sources termination of acquisition, various documents managment, such as purchase orders, purchase orders framework , contract for transfers between plants, contracts, scheduling agreements, and various types of purchase or consignment, subcontracting, pipeline. Working in different industries I managed to gather competence in the field of advanced communication functions with suppliers via EDI, as well as for forecasting and JIT delivery. Issues approving supply documents using SAP Business Workflow have no ecrets from me.
4. Storage at warehouse`s (IM) level are the basis for inventory management in terms of quantity and value in SAP. Specific type of inventory (for sales orders or projects) and a number of types of stocks (eg. Inventory consignment, returnable packaging, subcontractor etc.) are everyday tools used in projects. My specialty is a wide knowledge of the stoc`s valuation and the configuration of the automatic postings in SAP. Distributed valuation or balance sheet valuation is also functionality thatI launched repeatedly with sucess. The look on stocks today is much more broadly than in the context of the company – inventory in the supply chain or distribution model requires a broader view, which I`ve been trying to build for years, based on APIC philosophy .
5. Registration of purchase invoices from suppliers is a part ending supply`s cycle. Currently, besides traditional paper form invoiceing, automated , electronic processing invoices ii gettin more important. . Invoices sent by EDI, ALE, web invoices are becoming more popular, and of course their service module MM is one of my core competencies. Due to a long and productive cooparation with ReadSof I`ve t met advanced mechanisms for processing paper invoices into electronic form (OCR), and integrating these documents into SAP. Besides, the traditional scenarios invoicing via scenarios AlchiveLink (late, archiving, early archiving, archiving with barcodes) arewell known to me. On the occasion of processing purchase invoices I often use workflow scenarios to support workflow processes invoices in my projects.
Warehouse Module (Warehouse Management) is the ‘extension’ of inventory management concept to the lower level – storage areas. It is a classic WMS integrated system within the SAP ERP application.
Using of the WM module in the companies is varied and depends on the industry and business assumptions. Starting from simple solutions designed to reflect the geographical structure of the warehouse and storage facilities in SAP in order to streamline warehouse`s processes and optimize the use of warehouse`s space, up to sophistcated managing mechanisms of automatic warehouses or material flow processes on the shop floor. During several years of my implementation work of WM (since 2003)I had a chance to meet various mechanisms (areas) of using the WM module including:
– Warehouse management with the chaotic way to deploy inventory
– Block, pallet and shelf warehouse management
– Advanced service processes downloads this download packaging, cash-stage
– Various forms of warehouse production supply WM like: individual , overall, as well as Kanban supply
– WM module integration with other logistics modules MM, SD, PP, PP-PI, QM
– Using of HUM (Units Service) in WM warehouses
– Using of advanced SAP WM functionalities cross-docking type, yard management, management of warehouse workers performances
These functionalities were implemented both in production facilities and distribution centers, including suppliers of logistics services.
Currently, it`s hard to imagine work in the warehouse without the use of mobile technology which anable delivery of warehouse operations at the point of execution in the real time. The issue of the SAP WM integration with mobile divices and with using other technologies eg. ITS Mobile is a standard now, in the implementation of the WM module.
The situation is similar when it comes to inventory management outside the enterprise, in companies involved in contract logistics. In recent years, I had the opportunity to realize several projects where the interface (usually EDI) to the LSP company was one of the crucial form of communication with business partners such DHL or Raben Yusen.
As part of the WM module labeling of products , media or storage areas is getting more important. Development and implementation of a number of dedicated labels or RF tags certainly simplifies and speeds warehouse operations. My experience in this area includes the use of both: SAP and third-party (Zebra, Intermec TEC SENTINEL) to design and print labels.
WM is currently a very popular and widely used toolin enterprises in the field of internal logistics management , however, for several years, SAP has not develop this functionality due to the external development to the ERP system, WMS, called EWM (Extended Warehouse Management). Following the trend my competences also drift towards eWM slowly, but you can read about it on the tab dedicated to EWM.
SAP Quality Management module is quite niche. Although, the processes related to quality of control are an essential parts of any companies , therefore, not all organizations choose to deploy SAP QM. In my opinion, this module perfectly integrates with other components of the SAP ERP, allows on the active process management , in particular logistics, in concideration to quality control at every stage of the process. This allows for immediate response, eg. to stop production in case of critical incompatibility . The QM modul works greate during the inspection of raw materials at the entrance, periodic inspection at the warehouse, interoperation production control, ‘descent’ of production and shipping control. In addition, within the SAP QM you can successfully implement the auxiliary processes, eg. sample, physical, measuring devices management, external and internal audits service and contol documentation management including ISO. All these components of the QM module I`ve had a chance to deploy a few times in various companies eg. In food, chemical, pharmaceutical or aerospace industry. Within the scope of my competences in the QM area are unique skills to integrate SAP QM with external measurement devices using the RFC interface, as well as standard SAP interface called LIMS. During last several years (since 2001), implementing QM, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, in the t validated enviroment, I`ve gained unique experience in sustainability analysis, broadly defined batch tracking and tracing, as well as managing the process of collection, storage and disposal of the control samples. Issues, like schemes sampling , dynamic modification rules, flammable inspection, sampling flammable etc. were often bringing in my quality sollutions.
During the SAP QM implementation often comes a question about documentation management, especially quite in the quality assurance. My experience in this area is quite rich. Using my extensive skills in DMS, Workflow and ArchiveLink I am able to build completed solution,including the integration of external server content management (Content Repository).
In case of the QM module I often come across with issues such: statistical process management (SPC), handling all sorts of quality notifications (complaints from customers and suppliers, handling internal problems). Any such notice has its own life cycle (registration, analysis, corrective action, corrective action) and usually is associated with the controlling mechanism systems in order to record the non-compliance costs. In my QM projects I always try to look at the two sides of quality assurance, eg. Control activities (preventive) and repairs, including costs on both sides.
QM Notices are ideal for use through workfow mechanisms, which greatly improve communication, tasks delegation and recording activities within the life cycle of the notice.
The SAP SD module is not in my main competency. As the name suggests, this module consists of two main parts – Sales and Distribution. Distribution is the subject of my interest, as it relates to broadly understood Supply Chain Management. Word „Distribution” in the SAP SD meaning covers all issues related to the creation and maintenance supplies, their scheduling, grouping, planning the routes, integration with the warehouse process etc. The supplies are the basic document in the logistics chain, hence it is impossible to be a consultant of SCM ignoring this issue. Planning replenishment (stocking) distribution centers or retail outlets is known to me very well. Additionally I have implemented functionalities traditionally attributable to the SD access control, transport planning, integration with transport companies / courier and logistics .
Particculary I would like to draw attention to my holistic, process-based approach to the subject of SCM, going beyond the individual modules of SAP. Obviously this is related to my business competencies in this field, based on training and best business APICS practices . Very important, especially recently, is so-called reverse logistics issue- management. Customer complaints, returns, adjustments managment have big influance with customer`s relations.
During my previous experience with SD modules I had also the opportunity to implement reporting processes including various KPI types , eg Service Level reporting.
SAP CS module (Customer Service) is designed to post sales processes, mainly in companies, that offer their customers warranty service, post-warranty and all kinds of contracts for repairs, calibration or maintenance of own products or other companies. This module can be divided into several components as it relates to preventive action (planned in time), like maintenance, calibration and repair service and unplanned (based on notice as a result of internal or external applications from customer). As part of the SAP CS I did a fe projects in various sectors, of which, probably the most complete range of SAP CS was used for preventive maintenance and current in high-speed railway rolling stock in Poland. In the case of other projects, both corrective actions offsite company (Field Service) as well as routine repairs / renovations in their own workshops were the subject of my consultations. In the case of SAP CS Module it`s worth to pay attention to its close connections with SAP PM (Repairs Management) and SAP SD (Sales and Distribution), which requires from the consultants wider logistics look at the whole process, especially in the context of integrated planning (eg. Demand for parts parts) .With due to my expertise in SAP Workflow and SAP DMS I often use team work in my workflow management / archiving of information and external documents (eg. scans, photos) projects, which in the case of processes related to repairs are usually a lot.
The SAP PP (Production Planning) Module is one of the crucials of every application of ERP. It iwould be hard to work in company production without planning module. My experience in this module is mainly related to the planning production process and capacity. I’ve never been interested ( I leave it to PP consultants )in Processes of Manufacturing Execution scheduling accuracy of the production line type , monitoring the performance of production, reporting or integration with MES.
My favorite is planning at all stages, begining from Business Planning (BP) by Sales and Operations Planning (SOP), Master Production Scheduling (MPS) to the standard Meterial Requirments Planning (MRP). Of course, all this integrated planning model comes with APICS standard, especially training I have received, confirmed by certificates, according to the CPIM standard. This allows me to confidently say, that I have the competence to implement APICS standard planning in the SAP system. Since a significant part of these mechanisms of planning is a component of PP module, hence its knowledge is essential in such projects. In recent years I have implemented SAP PP independently or in cooperation with PP consultants. It were various companies in different industries , where different production enviroments (ETO, MTO, ATO, MTS) I have implemented using discret process (PP-PI). In particular, I have experience in the process of production integration with the logistics part. Working as a Logistics Solutions Architect I became familiar with SAP MM transfer demand mechanisms perfectly, checking the availability of the SAP SD or different forms of procurment production in warehouse`s materials (using SAP WM, Kanban, Just in Time, Direct Feed etc.). Often, in these processes, I was using various kinds of interfaces or the mobile devices for registration operations, directly on the shop floor .
WMS system, called the Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) is a fairly new SAP product . The first versions appeared on the market in 2006-2007, but a complete and proven functionality of SAP EWM was established as EWM 7.X version, after 2012. SAP EWM is a separate WMS class system (although it can be installed as a plug-in to i SAP ECC instalation) as a SAP response to the growing needs of our customers in this area. Tis is not certainly a continuation of the WM module within the SAP ERP installation . Of course certain parallels can be seen, but this is a quite re-designed system that contains many new features which are not available in the SAP WM. Changing market forces appling new solutions such cross-docking, the three-dimensional map of the warehouse, integration with warehouse automatic systems, value-added services , advanced mechanisms of integration with logistics companies or integration of multiple systems (clients) on a singleEWM platform . These are just some of the functionalities that have been introduced or significantly expanded in SAPeWM compared with SAP WM. Very important here is the question of efficiency – in largecompanies amount of warehouse`s operations is vast, hence their ‘spin-off’ to a separate instance allows to ‘relieve’ SAP ECC and achieve additional system performance.
My adventure with SAP EWM began in 2013. After a visit to CeMAT trade show in Hannover I understood that SAP EWM is a futere SAP tool , which will soon replace traditional SAP WM installations . Due to the lack of available training in Poland I`ve decided to attempt self-study. In fact, attempts were two:
1) installation of SAP SCM (EWM is part of the installation) on the corporate server and the integration of this system with an existing SAP ECC installation.
This approach has enabled me to understand how different is the philosophy of EWM from SAP WM. The method of trials and adjustments took me a few months, after which I came to the conclusion that this way is wrong and I should change the approach to the subject of EWM
2) the purchase of “” Fundamentals of SCM-EWM “book and parallel, reading and configuration of the test environment, here the link to the photo book EWM
This method has delivered the expected results. Reading book allowed me to understand the architecture, philosophy and the basic mechanisms of EWM. Configuration of test environment, which I did in parallel, was understandable for me. After the cycle (two months) I was ready to verify the knowledgeI`ve gained.
In October 2014 I took the exam in theSAP Poland Training Centre. As it turned out, my independent research and development has given great results – 86%, by a wide margin allowed me to get a certificate confirming my qualifications in the field of EWM. find a link to a scan of the certificate and the result achieved exam
It so happened that at that time I signed a long-term contract for implementation in Germany in the area where there is no SAP EWM. During this period, despite the lack of practical contact with EWM I try to follow the news in this area and strengthen my qualifications.
I am confident and will to seek that my next project will be in the area of SAP EWM. I am waiting for proposals ..