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SAP standard does not hurt!

Consulting and project work in the SAP logistics industry has undergone a tremendous transformation due to the continuous change and adaptation of processes on the customer side:
Matthias Kraus, Leogistics
December 3, 2020
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

More and more specific processes have emerged in response to requirements from the business department and business partners and must be mapped in the system. New interfaces and deeper integration of the trades - especially in the warehouse automation environment - call for a solution that fits the requirements and can be embedded in standard logistics products such as SAP EWM.

Meeting special requirements

In day-to-day project work, it becomes apparent time and again that newly implemented processes are already individually defined when they are introduced and are no longer mapped in the standard. One reason for superfluous extensions is that business and IT often lack the willingness to adapt processes due to a lack of acceptance of the "new" and inadequate change management.

The same applies to disruptive approaches to optimization. Choosing the right partner is also crucial for the quality and future-proofing of the solution: A lack of process and solution knowledge can also lead to superfluous extensions.

It quickly becomes apparent that time and cost pressures are often the drivers of supposedly "quick solutions". The result is a brand new system that is already so heavily modified when it goes live that it no longer complies with the SAP standard in many places and is neither independently maintainable nor releasable for the customer. This creates a dependency on the service provider with binding service contracts that have a direct impact on ROI and follow-up costs.

On the one hand, customers note that their current system has been very specifically adapted to their processes over the years, and that this not only causes problems with extensions and the subsequent regression tests, but also leads to increasing complexity and costs. On the other hand, during the specification of the processes in the new SAP system, attempts are again made to recreate the same processes.

At this point, specialized consultants with in-depth knowledge of standard processes are needed to identify alternatives that are close to the standard. In addition to knowledge of the system, empirical values from a wide range of industries also play a role. It may well be that a classic goods receipt process of a pharmaceutical customer can provide a completely new impetus in the process of a mechanical engineering company.

This requires both the consultant's ability to abstract and - and this is even more important - the client's imagination and commitment with the corresponding pragmatism and willingness to rethink processes.

Special features in warehouse logistics

Many processes in logistics are dependent on physical conditions and the periphery - but there should always be an open mindset there, too, in order to be able to use the system introduction as an opportunity. The implementer needs the customer's trust as the most important basis for a successful project.

Because no major SAP EWM implementation can be mapped 100 percent in the standard, it is even more important to map precisely those areas in the standard where this is possible. At the same time, the alternative processes must be outlined in the standard in order to consciously sensitize the customer and give him a validated basis for decision-making.

In parallel, the current processes should always be put to the test. See the As-Is as the basis of the new, innovative and promising process! Critically question the project approach and the scope of service provider-specific plug-ins. Often, providers use solutions they have developed themselves in order to reduce the effort involved - but this is often relativized after the project by follow-up costs for adjustments and maintenance.

Currently, this standard-oriented approach is more in demand than ever. Due to the change of ERP systems to the new software generation S/4 and the database Hana, many processes are changing and want to be integrated into an EWM logistics system. A standard integration can show its advantages if the processes are set up with the appropriate integrative vision of an experienced consultant.

A consultant with special expertise who can deliver all modules from a single source enables companies to set up future-proof processes integrated in the standard, where the robustness, integration and maintainability of the future SAP system are exactly what the customer hopes for.
Matthias Kraus, Leogistics

Matthias Kraus is Manager SAP EWM at Leogistics.

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