Welcome back! At the second post of our blog post series on S/4HANA CLOUD Essentials (ES).
TheValueChain NV being proud frontrunner in this domain is publishing a blog post series in which you discover tangible insights about the ERP Cloud revolution.
What to expect? Ins and outs about great new features, but also the struggles that come along with. Follow our journey and become aware about the specifics in all the different areas.
Life as it is… in Cloud Manufacturing.
What a journey it has been already, and that’s no exception for the Manufacturing area. Currently, we’re live with 2 manufacturing sites and rolling out the 2 biggest ones.
Our customer is a discrete manufacturer who makes standard products and systems to manage air traffic at airports. The standard products contain mechanical and electrical parts for which also spare parts are offered. Systems are usually a combination of standard or designed products and other trading goods. Besides a few exceptions, all goods are produced by using a make-to-order strategy and very often the demand comes from a commercial airport project. Manufacturing is also involved in the rework for customer claims.
Since the company was working with SAP for some decades (already), they had a very good idea of the functionalities they would need. During the discovery phase in April 2018 we explored together the system with 1802 release. We focused on how production planners, production supervisors and operators as well as the quality engineers were using their SAP ECC system(s) to run business processes. The resulting feeling was rather enthusiastic and encouraging. Though, there were also severe worries about missing features at that moment.
Let’s start with some good first impressions we experienced among the audience:
- The user experience offered by the Fiori Launchpad with apps is a big improvement. Especially the use of your own smart tiles is very useful. We saved for example a tile to show all daily planned operations on a specific work center. It acts as a dashboard, because it shows you the operations that are not yet processed, and when you click on it, you get an executable worklist.
- New Fiori apps offer better insights. Some examples:
- ‘Manage Production Orders’ shows visually production issues like delays, component shortages, quantity and quality issues.
- Many documents (e.g.: production orders, purchase orders, sales orders,…) can be shown as fact sheets where you can easily drill down to material documents with document flows.
- A large number of white-listed Core Data Services (CDS) views are made available. They can be used to create own custom CDS views and eventually, nice visual analytics.
- People are often relieved to see that the ‘old transactions’ are still made available in most cases.
- The CoPilot is an interesting Cloud tool to collaborate with your colleagues. It’s especially useful when you include objects that will re-direct your colleague to the same view with one click.
Some challenges that popped up during discovery:
- The customer liked to use the Assemble-To-Order (81) planning strategy, as it allows you in a sales order to check the availability of your assembly components, providing immediately a (more) realistic confirmation date to the customer. Unfortunately, one of the cloud simplifications, is the reduction of planning strategy groups.
- Capacity planning and levelling was completely unavailable in the 1802 release. (Anno 1908 we do have great new functionalities, which we will illustrate in later blog posts.)
- Many ‘Z-transactions’ don’t always have an immediate equivalent in the new system. E.g.: it was soon clear we would need to develop a custom app to print out production labels.
Next to that, there are also issues that are less obvious only encountered in the Explore or even in the Realize phase, when more complex flows meet each other . Those are usually technical hick-ups of a system which is still in continuous development. For example: Serial Numbers are a logical requirement in a discrete industry. Just like Warehouse Management (Cloud Warehouse to be precise) can be required to cover more advanced warehousing processes. However, there’s still the ‘imperfection’ that serialized materials cannot be processed with Cloud Warehouse (nor inbound or outbound). So, until release 2002 (February ’20, when a solution is promised according to the SAP roadmap), the customer is forced to choose one of the two functionalities for the moment.
As you can feel, it’s very important to follow(-up) constantly SAP’s roadmap. As an implementation partner, we ‘Tell-Show-Tell’ the standard best practices and encourage the customer to respect the standards and even adapt their business processes. If the best practices, or custom logic by means of the offered business add-ins (BAdIs), still not bring the desired added value, we launch a Customer Influence ticket to request improvements. If it gets voted sufficiently, it will be included (again) in one of the next releases. If not, we take it still one step further and try realizing it with side-by-side developments on the Cloud Platform. In the end, there are no open topics without a projected solution.
Working now 18 months extensively with this Cloud System, makes us experienced experts. The evolution of the system so far has been remarkable. All the functionalities that flow in constantly and the close involvement of SAP, let (make?) us believe this is a solid product that many customers will please.
This blog post is part of our blog post series ‘Life as it is… Implementing S/4 HANA CLOUD MULTI-TENANT (PUBLIC CLOUD)’, where you will find links to other business areas. Please follow these blog post series that will be frequently updated. We will keep sharing tangible insights about the S/4HANA Cloud Essentials (ES). Especially, about the new releases.
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TheValueChain NV is a leading SAP Partner that enables companies to speed up and increase the business value of SAP. As a trusted advisor we inspire customers to embrace end-to-end solutions to tackle their challenges in this digital age. We aim for the total approach with smart innovation, simplification and sustainability. We go beyond simple: with functional and technical expertise and an unconditional commitment we convert your implementation into a unique differentiator.