Remote Business Requirement Gathering for Warehousing & Logistics
My name is Sagar & working with SAP technology since last 12 years as a SAP warehouse functional consultant & wants to put some insights on requirement gathering with business which is really a crucial part of project to be successful and gives ROI to the business which they have invested for.
In Covid era as there is still restriction for international travel and even local site visits, it’s extremely important to keep project momentum on for ensuring cost effective delivery. For SAP warehousing modules it’s really important to know the physical structure of warehouse & also its integration with up value streams like P2P, O2C, D2R.
I could not found concrete guidelines for this phase of project so here is my attempt to define step by step process to collect overall information remotely. Focus will mostly on warehousing module (EWM) as it’s more impacted because of lack of on field presence for consultants. Blog is more focusing on Warehouse management and Logistics and very often has to own most of the E2E processes even if it is from different value streams.
Situation – Assuming below complexity and time lines are at hand & business chosen S/4 Path with Embedded warehouse from Legacy non-SAP ERP system.
- Time Frame – 8 weeks
- Team size – SAP Solution Architect and Value stream leads.
- Complexity – one manufacturing plant, associated warehouse, Business Affiliates (e.g. DCs own by business)
- Solution chosen – SAP S/4 HANA with Embedded EWM.
- Value Streams – P2P, D2S (with EWM), O2C, F2M.
Goal – Ultimate aim of this exercise it to do requirement gathering, collect user stories and Fit gap activities & output is to create detailed level of BPML which will help for next phase of Build print.
- High level Evaluation – Plant Assessment E.g. Site layout – IM/WM/EWM
- Warehouse Layout
- Questionnaire to business
- Level 1/2 processes & cross stream integration
- Material movements
- Level 3/4/5 processes – Final BPML.
- Warehouse pictures/Videos – tag every Pics/video with specific L4/L5 processes.
- High level Evaluation – Plant Assessment – IM or WM or EWM? Hybrid
There are lot of parameters which decides which solution to be chosen, but this is not a scope for this topic, so let’s assume customer has chosen warehousing solution, preferably Extended warehouse management (Embedded or Decentralized) considering future SAP Roadmap.
Output – Decision for choosing right solution path, EWM is chosen as per SAP future roadmap.
- Plant/Warehouse Layout
First step to collect plant and warehouse Layout with details of broad understanding of various areas like – shop floor area, raw material, Finish goods, Semi-finished, Packaging etc… materials storage areas. Even scanned paper copies would be okay which business may have already.
Only high level pictures/Videos should be asked from business counterparts which necessary for understanding overall layout.
With this exercise below high level layout can be plotted to have further discussion about processes and material movements.
- Questionnaire to business about business processes
various questions to be asked to business for normal logistics and reverse logistics processes
- Inbound process – e.g. from supplier, from Production, subcontractor, intra/Interco transfers…
- Production staging process – which types of materials are staged & how?
- Internal movements – bin to bin, Replenishments?
- Outbound movements – to customer, Intra/Interco transfers…
- Returns processes – Vendor/Customer returns.
- Warehouse label/Form requirements
Output – High level of understanding of overall processes. Possible process variants, first step toward preparation of BPML skeleton…
- Draft Processes Level 1 & 2
With this information high level processes can be drafted e.g. inbound, outbound, internal movements, internal replenishment, production staging etc….
Output – high level business processes & preparation of BPML processes. This will also cover cross value stream integration with P2P, D2S and O2C.
- Material Movements
- Intracompany/Intracompany transfer
Also from questionnaire determine these flows to get idea about stock transfers between business affiliates.
- Cross stream integration
from other stream leads e.g. upstream like P2P, D2S, O2C collect information to determine E2E flows.
- Internal movements
First steps towards defining storage types/sections, material movements need to captured in matrix so that overall idea of warehouse movements will be well understood. This will help to determine different WPTs, LOSC/POSC if needed, resources etc…
Configuration and Master data
Configuration and EWM master data objects are to be captured in BPML as well. Just for the scoping purpose. Detailed configuration template documents and data conversion documents need to be prepared separately.
Output – rough preparation for BPML for next level of processes
- Process Level – 3/4/5…
With this information business Solution Architect & steam leads will able to figure out the L3/L4/L5…. Processes & process variants, this is illustrated for one of the stream. This will create the clear final BPML (Business process master list).
Sample BPML –e.g. Inbound from Supplier
Output – BPML with clear scope of processes –
- Warehouse pictures and Videos
This is subject to rules for individual organizations if its allowed but now it’s time to collect the Pictures and possibly Video recording for each processes from business personnel, these pictures & videos should be tagged to relevant process numbers from BPML. These pictures can be stored at central place in MS OneNote or any other project relevant tools with process numbers.
This will help to get connect with warehouse virtually and understand things better. Reason for collecting this information at last stage to have clear idea about each process specifically. If pictures are collected at starting point, then there may be chance of confusion.
Virtual Workshops with business: –
Present final BPML and scope understood to business stakeholders. In order to start the Build print. In case of there is still some gaps that can be logged in to be consider in further planning of sprints.
Parallel activity – (optional)
If it is an option data can be collected from business legacy system for analysis purpose & data speaks itself. During requirement gathering it often happens that customer may not able to translates the exact business scenarios because of silos & do not see big picture.
In such cases data can be extracted from legacy system which can be analyse further to determine process flows. E.g. below data can be collected for approximately 1 year of duration-
Data from Legacy system
- Plant List
- Storage Locations list
- Stock report
- Inter/intra plant movements
- Purchase order list (one year)
- Sales/Customer order list (one year)
- Production order list (one year)
- Plant internal movements (one year)
- Outbound Deliveries to customer
- Inbound Deliveries from supplier
- Production RM consumption (if applicable)
- Etc. etc….
Data will give fare picture of business scenarios if anything is missed during requirement gathering.
with this details requirement gathering is still possible remotely, off course on field presence will make lot of difference. This methodology seems to older ways for waterfall method, but can be utilized in agile way also with proper utilization of preparation phase.
This blogpost is written purely based on self-experience there may be some disagreement on few points, if so please comment in below section….