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The people who read this are probably not the SAP using customer and therefore you might strongly disagree with me. But before you jump my throat, ask yourself: “Is what I do really helping the customer in their efforts to use SAP software for their core business?” (and don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of very valuable work done to support the customer outside of their core business – but I am talking about why customer buy SAP software in the first place: to support their core business!)

To answer that question we should first identify what the core business is. The customer that I am talking about here, is a company that transforms raw materials into a finished product (or service) that they sell. So their core business is ‘transformation’ and they need to do that in the most effective way using stocks, resources and time.

According to that definition you might now say “we are selling extraordinary technology to do just that!” Great. You also installed that technology at the customer site and they have now mobile devices that foster a full inventory report, run MRP on HANA, can use scheduling heuristics and see graphics that show forecasts and sales activity.

But does the user know how to set a planning policy that drives great service levels and low inventories for that transformation? Does their SAP functionality support lean manufacturing? Yes it does, but no one knows how to use it.

I put out a statement here: “100% of all SAP using companies use the software’s capabilities to less than 80% and 98% of all SAP using companies use the software’s capabilities to less than 40%!”

Wow! If that is true, shouldn’t we all shift our focus a bit?

And it is true in what I see when I visit customers: I NEVER come across a company that uses the availability checking rules correctly. I NEVER see a company that does automated policy setting. I have NEVER seen SAP production scheduling supporting ‘flow’… to just name a few.

I’d greatly appreciate any comments to get this conversation going!

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3 Comments

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  1. Pierre-Edouard Hamon

    Hi Uwe,

    i fully agree with what you wrote. I just add few comments that some people may not appreciate.

    I remember 16 years when i started working as a young SAP consultant. I chose SAP instead of Baan, JDE, Oracle (at that time!) because SAP was already n°1 ERP in the world and i wanted to try working for the Best solution (w/o knowing if this was true or not).

    And this is part of the problem you mention.

    SAP is really attracting for a lot of people (see number of posts in SCN saying “i am new at SAP, which module should i choose”) but finally many people just want to join SAP’s world because it is a promise of good wages and interesting projects/work.

    Many people don’t bring value to their customers, they just want to execute what the customer is asking for. And if this one doesn’t know SAP’s capabilities (this is the “common” situation), then we face the issue you described in your blog!

    BUT, i am not saying this is always easy to give a real ROI to customers!

    Regards.

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  2. Anoop Balan

    More of us consultants should start to think on these lines! I wouldn’t be surprised if this statement of yours stands verified. – “100% of all SAP using companies use the software’s capabilities to less than 80% and 98% of all SAP using companies use the software’s capabilities to less than 40%!”

    If nothing else, it would be a win for all parties – the consultants (and their employers), the end user company and of course, SAP.

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