SAP MRS – Notes, suggestions, ideas – 1- Implementation Considerations
I would like to share some of my notes and experiences which I believe might help ones who are planning to implement SAP MRS. These notes were taken one year ago and I used MRS 8.0 but I believe they also hold for MRS 9.0.
This document and the following documents that I am planning to prepare will be limited to MRS usage with Logistics Work Centers and will not cover using MRS with business partners as well as with Notification Tasks, CRM Service Orders or C-Projects.
This document is neither a training document nor a “how to do?” document. What I am intended to deliver is to highlight some of the important points which might help consultants to improve their skills in this area. I will try preparing more detailed documents for most of the bullet points here in the near future.
Here are my list of comments, recommendations and ideas:
Start reading – Try to understand what are the capabilities of SAP MRS. You may start from here:
There are lots of useful documents here including the installation guides and configuration documents. (You may need SAP Marketplaceuser id to download them).
Training – Consider getting a standard MRS training. Check the following link:
Understand the terminology – SAP MRS uses a different terminology than the usual terminology that we use in PM or PS streams. Here are some of the concepts:
- Demand – A demand is a transactional object that represents a requirement for resources. For example, in PM, demands can be Order Operations or Notification Tasks. In PS, Network Activities are demands.
- Resource – A resource represents a machine or human capacity that can be assigned to a demand in order to fulfil the capacity requirements.
- Assignment – This is the relationship between a demand and a resource which simply represents which resource is scheduled and assigned to complete the task represented in a demand.MRS considers several parameters while deciding on the assignment such as skills required to complete a task, availability of the resources, geographical location of resources etc.
System Landscape – Speak with your BASIS and HR teams to understand what will be needed to implement MRS. Check with HR team to understand where the HR Data will be located at. Some companies, due to security concerns want their HR system to be separate from other ERP Modules as well as MRS.
If a non-SAP HR system is used, while planning and estimating the effort, consider interfacing and conversion efforts between MRS and non-SAP HR system. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, this can become a major technical effort.
Another point is, SAP MRS has the capability to support multiple-demand generating systems.
Determine your scheduling requirements and prioritize them – Start evaluating your scheduling requirements by listing the functionality that you may want to get from MRS. Here are some of the scope questions that you may want to ask yourself or to business:
- Do you really need a qualifications/skills comparison during the assignments?
- Do you need to run optimizations?
- What are the demand types that you would like to schedule? (i.e. PM Order Types, PM Orders with certain maintenance activity types, PS Network Activities with certain control keys…)
- Determine exceptions also if you will not have any schedulers for certain plants, you may want to exclude them from SAP MRS processes.
- Do you need to link MRS with mobile equipment?
- Do you need MRS to integrate with material availability checks?
- Do you want to schedule PRTs also?
- Do you want to integrate MRS with GIS?
- Do you need color codes in the planning board to represent different statuses for the demands/assignments?
- Which type of assignments will you be using? (Stretched/Capacitive/Concrete)
- What are you reporting requirements?
- Do you need any custom enhancements relevant to MRS scheduling?
- Do you want to consider the travel times during the scheduling process?
- Do you want to integrate time confirmations with MRS?
After this initial determination of your requirements prioritize them and based on this prioritization, communicate with Project Management and business about the implementation strategies. (i.e. Do you want a big-bang approach or do you want to implement the core functionality first and then add the other advanced functionality during the upcoming releases of implementation?, Which locations will start using MRS and will there be additional deployments of the initial solution? etc.)
Once the requirements and solution options are set, you may think about the master (like work centers, HR data for individuals, positions, qualifications, requirements profiles, task lists) and transactional data (for example existing demands, availability/leave data for individuals etc.) conversion process.
Change Management – Does business have or will you have dedicated resources (planners or schedulers) for running MRS? If not, check with the organizational change management teams to make sure that you will have users who will be trained to use MRS and who will be responsible for scheduling.
Don’t underestimate effort required to implement MRS – MRS has several very useful functionality. If you take a quick look at MRS configuration steps, you will realize that there are more steps than configuration of several of the SAP Modules. MRS can be linked to several SAP Modules (PM, PS, PPM, CRM, HCM etc.) which means you will need help from consultants of those modules too.
But if you want a quick initial implementation of MRS, you may want to consider RDS Solution:
Differences between different demands – Keep in mind that there are serious differences between implementing MRS for PM, PS, CRM or PPM. For example, MRS for PM works with standard PM operation fields. On the other hand, MRS for PS networks requires new custom enhancement tab and several custom fields
On top of this RDS solution, you may enrich the functionality afterwards.
Work centers – One of the key objects of scheduling are Work Centers by which you record your resources. You need to determine how do you want to represent the individual capacities in your work centers. MRS has huge flexibility to calculate the availability of individuals. But what I suggest is to focus on one of the following two possible HR-Logistics integration methods:
- Create one HR Work Center for Each Logistics Work Center – In this option, there will be a 1:1 relationship between logistics work centers and HR Work Centers. What I recommend is assigning positions to the HR Work Centers and finally assigning individuals to the positions.
- Create one HR Org Unit for each Logistics Work Center – This option is only feasible if your HR Organizational Structure is compatible with your work center organization. For example, if the HR Organizational Units reflect the maintenance work teams, then this option can be used.
Other options are still available (like the classical assignment of individual capacities to the logistics work center capacities etc.) as MRS gives you a flexibility to control different types of organizational structuring with the help of evaluation paths. One major option is using Business Partners instead of logistics work centers for scheduling and assignments which is not covered in this document.
HR Evaluation Paths – MRS heavily uses evaluation paths while determining several data elements like responsible resource planners, individuals assigned to each work center, the availability of individuals for a specific work center etc.
Check the standard MRS evaluation paths with your HR Consultants and try to understand the usage of them in MRS. Wrong usage of evaluation paths will end up with miscalculation of available resources. Check the MRS Configuration Step “Define Resource Planning Nodes and Evaluation Paths” to understand different usage of evaluation paths.
HR Data requirements – HR Personnel Data Records must be updated with the infotypes that keep the availability, absence, skills, organizational assignments of individuals. Discuss which data you will need to use in MRS with HR consultants. Similarly discuss the options that you may need to transfer some of these from MRS back to HR. For example, you can set periodic project meetings in MRS custom enhancement tab of PS Network and write this information back to HR as a specific infotype .
SAP MRS also allows you to configure to work with custom info types if you need to. For these cases, you have to do the proper configuration as well as you may need to replace some of the standard function modules that are used to transfer data from HR.
The following are some of the infotypes that can be transferred into MRS with standard functional modules and configuration:
- 0007 – Planned Working Time
- 0105 Communication – Assigning an SAP user to the individual.
- 2001 – Absences (Several Subtypes)
- 2002 – Attendances
- 2003 – Alternative Working Times
- 2004 – Availability
- 9222 & 9223 are used for approval workflow for the individual MRS qualifications. (Consider using these custom info types if you are willing to use MRS qualifications with approvals.) In order not to use the approval workflow logic, take a look at the OSS note 1426977
Understand Usage of Abstract Status and User Status – Understand the concept of abstract status in MRS and understand the capabilities of representing demand status in MRS Planning Boards. (Status translations/transfers can occur at the demand header (PM/CS Order or PS Network header) or item (PM/CS Order Operation or PS Network Activity) level. Before designing your solution, you better understand this functionality by which you can determine how MRS should response in different status. MRS allows schedulers to change the system and user status of demands from planning boards.
To be continued…