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This is Part # of the Global Bicycle Inc. (GBI 2.0) story, as related by an intern. The full series begins with Global Bicycle Inc.: An Intern Adventure

Configuration, Configuration, & More Configuration

We ended up with about 10 different errors we had to solve just to save a purchase order, and about 20-30 for the entire Procurement Process. The errors were as varied as could be: some errors delt with Accounting, some with Enterprise Structure, some with Master Data, and the rest with anything that could potentially be found in the IMG menu.  Some took a matter of minutes to solve (assigning the Purchasing Organization to the Company Code); others took weeks of work with all the interns participating at some point in trying to find the solution (Tax Jurisdiction Code and Structure).  Our initial Procurement Configuration Document numbered about 40 pages.

 

After the Procurement Process we moved on to Financial Accounting and Fulfillment. The Documentation continued to grow and get more complex. Up until this point we had all of our documentation on 3 documents: Corey’s Configuration, Kevin’s Configuration, and Shared Configuration.  To make this easier for other’s to read, we were instructed to create a configuration document for each process, putting the necessary configuration task where they fit best. It was here we ran into a slight issue. When we started dividing up the tasks between the various processes, we realized our documentation was less than stellar. We were missing screen shots were we should have had them, tasks were out of order, we made assumptions when documenting how to configure something (we thought “oh, I’ll remember to click that button.”).  Luckily (or maybe not?) at this time we received access to a fresh client. We re-entered a subset of the Master Data, re-configured everything we had done to date, and got our documentation figured out.  The lesson we learned: everyone hates documentation and no one likes to do it. It is, however, extremely necessary, so you might as well do it right the first time and save yourself a big headache later.

 

We then moved on to configuring Production, Management Accounting (basically just cost centers), and Material Resource Planning (MRP). For these processes we had to figure out things such as work centers, Bill of Materials (BOM’s), routings, cost centers, etc. Some of this information we received from the GBI Steering Committee, some we got from looking at SSB, and some we had to figure out through research.

 

It was about 3 months later and we now had all of the Master Data figured out and documented, and all of the basic business processes configured and documented (Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Procurement, Fulfillment, Production, and MRP). Intermittently throughout this time period we would send a document off to Germany, so they had an idea of what we were doing.

 

The documentation now numbered 144 pages comprised of 8 separate documents, and 10 excel spreadsheets for the master data. It was time to send it off to UCC Magdeburg so they could implement our changes into the next client rollout. We turned to initial research of potential new processes in the interim.

 

 “Well,” Dr. Magal told us a week or so later, “good news. Your documentation was so exceptional that Germany configured all of what took you guys three months in three days!” Good news indeed! “They gave you guy’s access to the new client. Run through all of our basic exercises (financial accounting, procurement, fulfillment, production) and test the client. If you find things that don’t work, start another configuration document and fix it in the system, and we will send that off to Germany before they roll out the next client.”

 

We were happy that our work was paying off. But before we could get the joys of testing this new client, we had to enter in the entire master data set. 75 general ledger accounts (times two, once for the General Ledger, and once for the Chart of Accounts), 12 customers, 12 vendors, all 42 materials multiple times all went into the system by hand, including cost centers, work centers, routings, BOM’s and everything else. For this test we entered in absolutely everything. We wanted to be sure there would be no issues. No better way to start your day than master data entry.

 

Finally they were all entered into the system and we could begin testing. Testing was a long process of finding items that we thought should have been configured but weren’t, items that were configured yet still didn’t work,  research to find the solution and of course the extensive documentation so they could be fixed in the next client. Additionally we tested everything. Every customer created an order, every vendor shipped something, every plant had some activity, every cost center had a cost applied to it, every General Ledger account had an entry, and every item that could be produced was produced. Then we followed the money to the Financial Statement to make sure it was going in the correct place. Soon the client was tested, the documentation was complete and off to Germany it went for implementation into the next client rollout.

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8 Comments

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  1. Miglena Marinova
    Thanks Corey for sharing your experience. It is good to know what you have been through to get the client configured. One little question..
    Just wondering why was necessary to do everything from scratch (with a fresh client). Why was not “copy client” feature not an option here so you can get at least organization data (or some master) ready? Or you did get the org.data ready before building everything else on it?
    Starting from scratch might be more difficult, but I believe every minute working towards this goal is worthy.
    I admire all your work though and you all should be proud of getting the client ready! You have learned a lot.
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    1. Corey Holstege Post author
      Thanks Miglena. These were all development clients, so there was a lot of information we did not want copied from client to client. At this stage, Germany did not have the necessary LSMW files completed to load the master data for us, so we had to completed this task manually.
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  2. Alice K. Yamada
    Congrats on this story featured as the UA blog!

    Looking back on this project working with you and other interns for an year, I can say that I used more brain power learning SAP from scratch than full eight semesters in college. Don’t get me wrong, I actually liked it.

    Good for you representing ERP Initatives team of GVSU so greatly. Thanks for getting this story out.

    Alice

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  3. John Morrissey
    Corey, on those sleepless nights where I can’t remember what we did to set up the routings for the deluxe men’s bike, I read your blog and my mind is set at ease as the details come rushing back…

    Seriously nice series though, awesome that the story is featured on the UA homepage, we had some good times!

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