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Author's profile photo Tridip Chakraborthy

How important are Templates to the SAP Procurement Community – Part 1

It’s around us, we see them, we feel them, we use them, we save them, we hone them…any guesses SAP Procurement folks.

Am referring to Templates that we use inside the system, the templatization capabilities inside our suite of products SAP SRM, SAP Sourcing, SAP Contract Life cycle management, SRM MDM Catalog and SAP ECC (MM business content).

 Let’s start the discussion with some key questions to ask

1)     Have you ever optimized your work with Templatization capabilities inside the Procurement suite?

2)     Do you know where they are available?

3)     How do you actually hone these templates to suit your specific enterprise need?

4)     Can you give some examples of sample templates used?

5)     What are the various flavors in templates to suite different stakeholders?

6)     What is the typical approach to modeling a template that’s used for a specific commodity inside the application?

 The Initiative

I was working on templatization capabilities across the business objects in the SAP SRM suite of products (Objects: RFx, Auctions, and Category & Contract Management). The exercise was to model every intelligent template that we had used outside the tool, study them, map them & then make it available inside the product and leverage over the capabilities already available in the SAP Procurement Suite.

 The aim was to enrich the initiative around re-usability & optimization. Since most of us Procurement folks have worked with customers across various industry verticals and also in the procurement / SRM function in the past, it wasn’t difficult to identify 4-5 commodities and build frameworks around them. The Templatization framework can be applied to any Procurement Business object (Ex Shopping Carts, RFx, Auctions, Projects, and Contracts etc)

 The Approach

Phase 1: We identified 5 enterprise-wide commodities commonly used (Ex, MRO, Office Supplies, and IT Hardware). This step is mainly done so that the effective usage of templates and process provides up-stream data for effective commodity driven Spend Analytics.

 Phase 2: Map model and design the templates on the SAP procurement platform

–          Pick a few templates across business objects commonly used (Ex, Projects, RFx, Auctions, Contracts, Xpress, User Defined objects, Shopping Cart etc)

–          Identify some tangible metrics upfront that would have some KPI’s that could be reported for process efficiency post template deployment inside the Procurement applications.

 Phase 3: We built these templates on SAP SRM, SAP Sourcing, SAP CLM, SAP MM. Aim is to use standard functionality with 5% customizations if required specific to any industry vertical.

Even if the tweak calls for some customization that requires some minimal development, don’t shy away from the activity, as the re-use inside the system drives some key performance indicators that aids process efficiency over the long run.

The Illustrative below shows the approach & Methodology





























What knowledge base was required from folks in the SAP Procurement space?

  • Suggest commodities that were sourced /contracted in the past / ongoing initiatives.
  • Provide inputs on what kind of artifacts could bring in value in Strategic Sourcing (RFx, Auctions, Category & Contract Management)
  • Evaluate a sample set of category templates or any Framework documents (ensuring no IP violation)
  • Let us know if any frameworks or standards like UNSPSC driven sourcing framework is being used in the current forte (ensuring no IP violation)
  • Sourcing specialists / Buyers / Contract Specialists and all similar target audiences provide feedback on the way they have standardized the usage of templates to make work easier and re-use for a recurring need. So data was available in the form of spread-sheets, word documents or even stand-alone forms that were built on a non SAP platform like SharePoint, Documentum, and Adobe PDF etc.

 In the follow-on Blogs, I would discuss on the Phase 1, Phase 2 & Phase 3 activities in greater detail and all the other sequels will have sample templates and the way you identify and build them in SAP.

We will touch upon 1 template under each application SAP SRM, SAP Sourcing, SAP Contract Life cycle Management and SRM MDM Catalog.

Will also give you some dope on how model service specifications in SAP ECC can be efficiently crafted for a selected service hierarchy to suit a quick hierarchy generation for a specific category/commodity of interest and how effectively they can be templatized; watch the sequel blogs to learn more

More importantly, do share your views on similar initiatives that you would have carried out in your challenging Procurement assignments.

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      Author's profile photo muthuraman govindasamy
      muthuraman govindasamy
      Hi Tridip
      Great blog on templates in Procurement . I just share my bad experiences with templates.
      Templates always helps the business to do quick-repeated activities but i had very bad experience on contract template and sc templates.
      There are many technical issues like data fully not copy and not behaving standard like scratch sc ..templates are always head ache to IT consultant but business badly wants Templates. but we can not instruct the business not to use templates...

      for example see the below issues

      Why when do I create a PO from SOCO and use it as Old template to create a new SC, it not goes to SOCO again ?
      Why when do I create a PO from SOCO and use it as Old template to create a new SC, it not goes to SOCO again ? 

      These are the steps to recreate the issue:
      1º) Shopping cart is created with a preferred vendor
      2º) This is then sent sourcing cockpit
      3º) Here a vendor is assigned to the Shopping cart
      4º) The cart is held
      5º) Afterthat PO is created in the sourcing.

      Second PO created by Old template using the cart above
      1º) Using Old templates options, the user creates a new SHP from this PO
      2º) This new SHP creates a PO automatically, the SHP DOESN`T go to SOCO

      It is standard behavior because when the user put the PO in Held on Soco, a Fixed Vendor is assigned definitely.
      So the next step depend on SPRO settings:
      a) SPRO -> Define Sourcing for Product Categories -> "Sourcing Carried Out for Item Without Assigned SOurce of Supply".
      Once this SC has a fixed vendor, the PO is created and the Cart will not go to SOCO.
      b) SPRO -> Define ... -> 'Sourcing is always carried out'
      This way the SC will always to SOCO, even if the Cart has a fixed vendor.

      Author's profile photo Tridip Chakraborthy
      Tridip Chakraborthy
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Muthu,
      I completely understand your bad experience with templates, the reason being that force fitting a template where there is no pressing business benefit that aligns technically with the functionality often leads to the situation that you are currently facing.
      However, that’s the reason, we do a strong funnel-out exercise to see, where the hand-shake is possible with “SAP supports to what the business is trying to re-use”
      Shopping cart is a business object that goes through a lot of business process changes and every cart can be extremely unique to its requirement.
      We have had a very great experience with template usage in Business Objects RFx, Auctions,  Category and npDI project initiatives, that its gone a long way in helping the business with re-use and innovation in their day to day activities.
      One of the templates helped significantly in reduction of overall service procurement process which involved temporary staffing services that has a completely different process of its kind.
      The idea of starting this subject is to make the Procurement community aware of “what is the way of doing it and what are those templates that actually help and not make the process even more cumbersome and inefficient”.
      Stay tuned….
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Tridip:

      As always your postings on SRM and PPS topics are very instructive.  For SRM templates for RFxs or SCs (or any of the SRM business objects), is it possible to create a template where certain fields are hidden or areas of the SRM RFx or SCs is collapsed?