Tuesday, 21 April 2009

SCM EWM Skill Set

What is needed to manage a EWM project ?

R3 WM skills ?

In order to effectively manage a EWM implementation the following skill set is need:

1. Strong Core Interface (CIF). This is because EWM runs on the APO platform, all interface are managed via qRFC

2. Strong ERP Delivery processing, this is because interfacing between ERP and EWM is via Deliveries.

3. WM experience helps, limited benefit from WM considering that eWM is totally new solution, not an upgrade. Therefore you need Functional EWM resources that know eWM processes around delivery processing, RF, yard mgt, cross docking, Warehouse tasks/order, Quality Inspection engine and maybe interface PLC. This functionality is not present in std SAP R3 WM, totally new, 10 x more complex than old WM.

4. ABAP, BADI know how. Most EWM projects are enhanced. Must be able to provide guidance to ABAP developers.

5. SAP Architecture. Knowing how to manage distributed architecture, change request transportation, sizing ect…

The above defines the Functional EWM Consultant. For technical parts regarding developments, any senior ABAP developer will be OK. The EWM technical platform is no different to APO or R3. What is critical is that the Functional EWM Consultant must provide guidance to the developer in terms of which direction the custom development should go, it could be sufficient that a BADI will do the job. A weak functional consultant normally leads to excessive developments, complex developments and in certain cases modification to SAP standard resulting in excessive support effort.

Bottom line, a WM consultant without the above requirements will take some months to get up to speed. The training courses provided are quite limited.

Focus on strong functional EConsultant and good ABAP developer (don't look at the low cost, you pay for what you get)

A simple WM consultant is suitable for junior role, a person that can cover all above 5 requirements is ideal for project lead.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

A logical approach to SAP Supply Chain Management

The purpose of this blog is to provide and discuss various topics around Supply Chain Management within the SAP SCM platform. By placing Supply Chain Management into context helps do define a structured approach in covering various SCM topics and provides a framework on how to maximize and exploit the SAP SCM tool. My experience in working in the Sap SCM environment is that in certain cases limited success has being achieved with the IT investment when implementing a SCM platform. In most cases it is not due to a SAP weakness but rather poor implementation, lack of vision and in certain cases lack of expertise. I have experienced costly multi million investment projects whereby all we did was replicate a legacy solution (in most cases homemade or Excel driven) within the SCM offering.

A typical situation relates to a Parts Automotive manufacturer where the production planning and execution system had many shortcomings. This was reflected in two major indicators; 50% on time delivery and very high inventory: ‘Meaning, producing too much of the wrong stuff.’ This went on for many years whereby the typical IT approach was to maybe build a custom solution, a fancy report. Many external partners tried their luck, always same solution. The IT angle provided limited success.
Success was achieved by adopting a holistic approach between processes and the IT system in order to achieved the desired synergy:

o Re-design of manufacturing processes
o Lot size rules, change over tooling , sequencing logic. Processes and techniques that have nothing to do with SAP
o Modifying the SAP solution to consider critical process redesign:
o Modifying the logic around lot size rules
o Planning manufacturing considering key bottleneck resources in order to have realistic manufacturing scheduling (applying in the SCM solution Drum, Buffer Rope planning concept)
o Including buffer logic to protect key bottleneck resources
o Using sequencing logic that share similar tooling in order to minimize change over. Included building visual planning tables that allowed simple management

The above approach can be modelled within the modelling concept explained below.

In order to place SCM into context, I will adopt the IDEFØ methodology. Modelling SCM using IDEFØ approach help to organize the analysis of a SCM system. As an analysis tool, IDEFØ assists the modeler in identifying what functions/processes are performed, what is needed to perform those functions (mechanism/tools/resources), and what contols/constraints the process.

The basis of IDEFØ consists of the following when mapping processes:

o A process has inputs and outputs
o A process is constrained by controls. These controls could be constraints, legal requirements or o a business strategy, capacity. A IT system could be a constraint.
o A process is supported by mechanism (tools). Tools are resources (manufacturing, facilities and people) as well as a IT infrastructure. In certain aspect mechanisms adopted can become constraints on the effectiveness of a process.

Important to understand that process modelling plays an important role but has limitations, process modelling cannot optimize flow/movement. Optimizing flow and movement is also critical within the SCM, specifically in trying to optimize location (number of warehouse's) production process flow ect...

This blog's focus will revolve mainly around the SAP SCM system/mechanism (the SAP platform covering ERP and SCM)

The areas that are addressed with SCM area include: Planning, Execution and Control.