Top 7 Ways to Master Your SAP Applications

May 28, 2020 by Stefanini

Optimizing SAP to meet demands from major transformation initiatives takes a much wider approach than tried-and-true enhancement projects. Work with us today!

Progressive organizations have to focus on delivering value constantly and consistently by creating detailed roadmaps for enhancements that closely align with the business. Optimizing SAP to meet demands from major transformation initiatives takes a much wider approach than tried-and-true enhancement projects. To build a technology road map, businesses need to balance immediate objectives and positioning for future SAP upgrades and investments. Both the IT leadership and the business must work closely on the process in order to ensure success and examine technology, data, and process together.

According to ITELLIGENCE, the seven initiatives we will explore today will help unlock the potential in your SAP applications in the following ways:

·         Multiple fast improvements that cut out pain points

·         Great, measurable cost savings

·         Attract and retain top talent

·         Increase accuracy of analytics throughout the business

·         Manage and limit exposure to risk

·         Automating manual processes to eliminate waste and increase productivity and visibility

1)      Automate manual processes 

It may be a seemingly simple task, but many companies often allow manual processes to persist as they haven’t had the time or expertise to automate these in a cost-effective way. The best tip here is to identify manual processes that can deliver strong productivity gains through automation. Some manual processes that can be automated include:

a.       Manual Accounting Processes 

Don’t just email invoices; configure for ACH and Wire payments and email to vendors at payment run to fully leverage system capabilities and automate manual processes.

b.      Manual Warehouse Processes

Most warehouses run using manual processes such as production staging, creating transfer orders for put-away and picking for deliveries conducted in an ad-hoc manual basis. A result of this is a loss of productivity for the main warehouse managers and personnel whose time would be better spent resolving exceptions and reviewing high-level analysis of warehouse activities.

c.       Quality Management Processes 

SAP Quality Management for incoming and production materials inspections is often enacted as a pass or fail decision. Both quantitative results and the creation of the COA is often done offline, which neglects significant benefits of SAP’s strong QM functionality when this information is spread across disparate systems.

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

2)      Transition tribal knowledge to formal processes and systems 

Tribal knowledge is the unwritten elements of a business that often keeps the company running smoothly. To help drive innovation, a business can utilize SAP in the following ways:

a.       Procurement Contracts 

Many organizations rely heavily on employees’ tribal knowledge and have not fully automated the procure-to-pay process. Using SAP to automate PO processes allows for greater efficiency, productivity and the ability to shift resources to more innovative activities like enhanced negotiations within the procurement office. When working with these systems, companies can route information very quickly and ensure that transferred information is not lost. Organizations must adopt automation to remain competitive, capture tribal knowledge and innovate. By assuring all contract information is in the system, the POs flow smoothly and frees up key resources to perform tasks like Vendor Score Cards verse transactional activities.

b.       Trial Knowledge in Superstars 

Reliance on high-performing personnel’s paperwork such as spreadsheets, personal contracts and files can put your company at risk. This reliance is not scalable especially if your company is experiencing growth or customer demands are increasing. Rather than relying on old ways of doing business, key people can be better leveraged in new, innovative ways that allow them to step out of day-to-day transactions to optimize the business and truly push on key KPIs.

3)      Eliminate blocked invoices 

Invoicing can be a problem and these issues can occur way upstream in the process. By following all the touchpoints through the processes, businesses can better understand the impacts one function might unintentionally be having on another. Once identified, obstacles are usually fairly easy to correct but pinpointing these obstacles may be incredibly time-consuming.

4)      Don’t focus on old processes 

Take a look at your current business processes and update them as necessary. There are numerous disadvantages to offline processes, such as the reliance on key people data sitting in paper spreadsheets. While standardized processes simplifies business tasks and removes dependence on key personnel, it doesn’t mean that it’s always the way things should be.

5)      The importance of automating processes 

The more processes your organization can automate and streamline, the more efficiently it will run.

6)      Master data 

Master data includes the key business objects that are agreed upon and shared across the enterprise. This data includes attributes like Customer, Vendor and Product, which are all in need of standardization so duplicate entries do not exist for the same object. In SAP, for each business object, there are many switches to set so the business performs accurately. Understanding these settings and the downstream implications of those settings is essential. When that understanding doesn’t occur, we see broken processes, costly mistakes, and custom code unnecessarily in place. SAP’s Material Master is in need of focused training due to the fact that particularly complex. Once you have a clear understanding of your master data, it is essential to put in place governance for each business object. A key business process owner is needed to be sure the data stays clean and free of duplication.

7)      Eliminate solutions that have been created outside the SAP system 

When the business is unaware of SAP transactions at the ready and needs to function, it will usually rely on something tried-and–true, such as Excel, to accomplish the tasks. Yet, while helpful, Excel can cause key data to be carried outside the system. It also causes the business to rely on a few key resources that understand the entire process. Instead, eliminate auxiliary systems and leverage the value of SAP integration. It is crucial to develop a process for capturing the actual values for all activity types. Part of this process includes developing an interface to capture the actual labor hours in SAP. Manufacturing instructions can be added inside SAP to allow the instructions to automatically print when the process order is released. Utilizing the value of your SAP system automates and integrates this process and eliminates the need for an external system.

Stefanini and SAP

With our big-picture focus and commitment to end-to-end support, Stefanini will help you seamlessly transition into an Intelligent Enterprise. We will work with your enterprise to transform business processes for effective employee, customer, and partner engagements.

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