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Author's profile photo Srini Ravindra Kumar Pandi Gurusamy

What can a Niche area like ‘SAP KANBAN’ do for you?

          Talking about SAP and its functionalities used extensively itself is as Simple as Complex as that. Imagine the level of understanding/clarity when it comes to ‘lesser-explored’ things in SAP, both in the functionality usage and also in the number of consultants with the relevant exposure. One such thing that qualifies this tag is SAP Kanban. Definitely there are specific reasons to utilise the same but what needs to be understood is that it does not work in isolation.         

      A predominantly PP ‘control’ functionality but can work better with a MM/WM integration knowledge, depending on your business processes existing. An opportunity to work in a niche makes things interesting and challenging. And with no external help available freely-around, you end up (forcibly) coming out of your comfort zone taking additional responsibilities and bringing the best out of you. Such experiences, only when lived upon, makes you to appreciate the overall SAP design better and the objective of writing this blog is to emphasise on the areas concerned and how one may benefit, as appropriate.

All other things apart, like its more of a controlling activity, targeted at low-value items etc., the advantages of knowing ‘SAP Kanban’ are:
A. Understand things offered under PP module better and some samples are:
* Ever wondered what is meant by Supply areas that you see every time you create a Material Master/MRP view and Why SAP uses the term ‘Production’ Storage location in the material master?
* How better can we use the MRP results to control Production using Kanban?
* How has SAP designed the Storage location determination concept? Understanding looks complete and better with a Supply area/Kanban background.
* Why SAP has provided a separate Checking group, to be specific, ‘KP’?

B. Improvise Integration knowledge:
* External Procurement aspects bring in better integration knowledge MM module specifically around JIT procurement differentiated from the generic external procurement we are used to and further built upon by what are called summarising concepts again just to specify an instance.
* Knowledge of Stock transfer activities related to Warehouse-managed process (WM-Kanban Interface as you can call it) would expose you to a world of niche with in a niche. You can take it that you end up knowing a lot about integration aspects making yourself a better package than you used to be. Remember we are talking about a niche where you are THE trigger. You start and then only people in other streams catch up (rather wake up) with this niche

again in their very own areas. Also note that any internal/external training session will not touch upon in detail on any niche topics, only leaving you to pick up on your own and then learn and contribute.

     In your day to day consulting work you when you come across issues, you mostly end up identifying the same as a program correction in absolute majority terms. In such new niche areas you end up identifying issues which question why the existing design is as it is and you end up seeing some modification/s put in place by SAP based on the justifications you bring out with your business process when you take it up directly with SAP. Such actions bring in intrinsic motivation for one to continue as a Consultant, with a bond or a sense of involvement in your approach/ways of working indirectly. Agreed that this should hold good for any area considered niche for that matter in SAP. May be true that with such experiences, SAP can become more of a Career than a Job.

      You are about to leave your current project and the client takes your help to draft a job description with emphasis on the niche area to advertise in job sites for your back-up resource. You oblige and in a span of few hours, many recruitment consultants start calling you with out realising that they are after a person for the same position left vacant by him. Or you end up seeing multiple Linkedin requests to revert back for a niche/challenging opportunity. That is the ‘feel-good’ factor you get out of these not so commonly used areas/skills, after all the hard working and head-breaking hours you have passed through during the course of time. The flip side of this is, unfortunately, you end up not seeing another client wanting to use the so called niche area, leaving whatever ‘new, upward and profound’ ££££££££$$$$$$$$ dreams you may have to come down crashing. You get one but necessarily not another. That’s life. We keep moving on and on. SAP is no different for that matter.

     Should the feeling be like this is getting into a different BLOG (Bucket Loads Of Garbage or Gossip) then no further action is required from your end. And should you feel that you there is definitely some thing you can pick up, do revert back specifying your interest in the form of a feedback. Better if there are specific expectations on the subject but not mandatory. Should there be a motivating response in the vicinity of  20-25 unique-user replies, that would justify the sharing of some ‘basic knowledge’ on the same in the form of a few documents and advance further learning. Also planned to be covered is the general pain points experienced by clients in the standard design (with the latest Enhancement Package offerings) and facilitate thinking further to derive the best out in future/potential projects.

     The thought school, with reference to learning in SCN, should be to subscribe to the fact that with an initial guidance/start-up there are lots who can set up exploring further on their very own taking the learning cycle to much elevated levels with new and continuously evolving business scenarios and thereby confirming that learning can always get better and ONLY better. Not every one is presented with an opportunity of getting beaten up in a ‘mutually beneficial’ direct-client facing opportunity in a niche area that ‘initiates’ learning and so a level-playing field should exist in the form of knowledge sharing initiatives to benefit all. Aim here is for interested consultants to sustain the learning by participating on the topic related areas in the same SCN forum/s in the long-run and writing about their own experiences gathered at a later date. There is no bigger joy than sharing some thing noteworthy you have been lucky to work with and experienced by initial explorations yourself and utilised in real life scenarios and which you are sure of creating at least a ‘bare minimum but definitely additional’ value.

     A few likes/ratings here and there would also do a lot of good and definitely should motivate the person who is writing his first SCN blog by the way.

Let us wait and see if we really need to kick some Kanban in the coming days.

[At the time of writing this we could see the 3 day Academy training related to Kanban scheduled in Belgium (July & Dec,2013) and Germany (June & Oct,2013). Should you be interested and have been looking for a training on Kanban and/or can travel to attend, this one should serve your expectations. Not a (direct) spokesperson for SAP but for consultants that consider every bit of opportunity possible to learn, this may be useful and hence the pointer].


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      Author's profile photo Mangalraj Senthamaraikannan
      Mangalraj Senthamaraikannan

      Dear Srini,

      Welcome to the world of Knowledge Sharing{In Particular from the area of production planning in


      Thank You for giving us such a wonderful write up.

      Looking forward for the further updates regarding the same.



      Author's profile photo Srini Ravindra Kumar
      Srini Ravindra Kumar
      Blog Post Author

      Dear Mangalraj,

          Thanks a lot. Certainly motivating to see the feedback. We will get started on this very soon.



      Author's profile photo Deepak Jharkharia
      Deepak Jharkharia

      Hello Srini,

      Nicely written an excellent blog and well persuaded me to think on your lines !!! Thank you for sharing and hope more great blogs in future too.


      Author's profile photo Srini Ravindra Kumar
      Srini Ravindra Kumar
      Blog Post Author

      Dear Dee Joy, Thanks a lot. Wish to see your blog soon.



      Author's profile photo Vinay Ashwathnarayan
      Vinay Ashwathnarayan

      Nice Write up Srini certainly its thought provoking. 🙂



      Author's profile photo Srini Ravindra Kumar
      Srini Ravindra Kumar
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks a lot Vinay.