Using SAP Personas to simplify Material Creation MM01
We all know that SAP Personas is a powerful tool and can really help deliver savings in many ways such as time savings, less training needed, and the reduction in errors. To this end I wanted to demonstrate a build that I have been working on to help simplify the Material Creation Process that our Stores guys perform.
I had a meeting with our Stores Manager who wanted a Personas screen to help simplify the Material Creation Process Transaction MM01.
Through discussions I found out that the process he follows is this:
- Create the material(s) in transaction MM01. He may create just one material or several in one go. The transaction has 14 tabs of information to be entered, most fields of which are not used so the user refers to notes to know what to populate
I then asked what he did once the material had been created to see if I could help streamline that process, to which I found out that he then did this:
- Add the material to an agreement in transaction ME32k, which he needs to search for before adding the material, but also has to note down the price of the item which is often forgotten
- Add the material to a source list in transaction ME01, for which he has to note down the vendor number, the agreement start and end date, the item number of the material.
I got him to show me this in SAP GUI and we timed it from start to finish to see how long it took me to create just one Material, and add it to an existing agreement and source list.
Including the time I spent copying the material, making sure all the relevant information was entered (to which I had compare it to the actual code being copied), saving the material, searching for the agreement to add the material to, saving the addition to the agreement, and creating the source list, the total time was around 6 minutes.Bear in mind I also had to be hand held through the process.
So onto the build itself.
When you first enter the transaction MM01 the way we use it is that we have to enter a new material code.
This was fine, I thought we could simply enter the new code and start the creation process in the normal way. Once you get to the tabs, simply cache the tabs and combine into one screen. Should be easy to do. I was wrong!
Put it simply, I found out that most Materials are created by using the copy material function whereby you enter the code of a previously created material, press enter and you are in the transaction itself, with some of the key fields pre populated. However, not all the information was copied over to the new code.
So what I did was to create a ‘Create New Material’ button on the SMEN page :
When pressed this takes the user to the MM03 Display Material Page, which has been designed to resemble the ‘MM01’ Create Material screen.
You will see I have placed a sticky note telling the user what to do at this point.
When the user enters the new code to be used they get a prompt asking if they are copying an existing code.
If they do they enter the code they wish to copy. Through scripting I then go to transaction MM03 display material, and copy ALL the relevant data that I need to create the new material, and then open transaction MM01 and paste all the relevant info into Custom fields:
This is what the user sees, however, in the background it is a different story as you can see from all these hidden fields.
The hidden fields are the information that the user does not need to enter as it never changes. So this leaves the user with a clean screen with very few fields to enter.
When the user has finished amending any information they wish to enter they simply press the ‘Create Material’ Button which then displays a new custom pop up window which displays the newly created Material Code, together with a button called ‘Add to Agreement’
You may recall that I mentioned that Material creation was a 3 part process. Adding the material to the agreement is the second part of the process.
At this point through scripting I already know that the new material was copied from an existing material, as I retained the original Material Code for later use.
Now when the user presses the Add to Agreement button, the script checks to see if there is a value in the hidden field where I paste the original material code.
If there is not, the user then gets an option to create a new agreement for the material, or add it to an existing agreement.
In this example as we have copied a material you just get the option to add the material to an existing agreement.
By pressing this button the user is taken into the ME32K Amend Agreement screen.
Through scripting upon the screen loading, we already perform a search to find any current agreements for this material so the user simply has to select the relevant agreement to add the material to:
Once selected and the confirm button is pressed we are taken to the main agreement screen as follows: (commercial information has been blacked out)
Here we have just 2 options –
‘Wrong Agreement selected’ –
This will take the user back to the previous screen if they have selected the wrong agreement.
‘Create Agreement and Source list’
This does the following through scripting:
- Finds the first blank line in the agreement to add the newly created material to
- Enters all the relevant information such as the price, target quantity etc which is retained from the original material entry previously performed
- Saves the agreement and then goes to transaction ME33k display agreement whereby it copies the Vendor Code, relevant start and end dates, item number and agreement number
- Opens Transaction ME01 and enters allthe relevant information and saves the source list
- Navigates back to the main SMEN page and displays the following message:
So for the user, once the material has been created, in theory you search for an agreement, add the material to this agreement, create the source list and get back to the main SMEN page in JUST 3 CLICKS
For the timing, this process in Personas can be done is as little as 45 seconds, but on average will take about 1:30 minutes down from 6 minutes.
In addition training costs are significantly reduced as the screens are intuitive and have been built so that you only see the fields you need to enter, together with instructions on the actual screen itself describing what the user needs to do.
Because the process now makes you create one material, and then add that material to the agreement and source list at the same time, you are not going to get the issue whereby during the material creation process, the user forgets to enter the agreement or source list because they got distracted through the process.
I hope this helps demonstrate the power of Personas somewhat.