If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now: Little Hinges Swing Big Doors

We always say, “Our best customer is an educated customer!”

Many of our customers are asking us about S/4 HANA and what more do you get from it. They want a quantifiable ROI from S/4, which they say is hard to justify based on their R/3 or ECC experience. Frequently, there are many reasons why measuring ROI on IT projects is a challenge. My experience shows:

  • Projects are often influenced more by budget and timelines than business outcomes;
  • Resources have changed since the original team;
  • Diminishing Return on Functionality.

In our role as a Trusted Advisor to many clients, we educate and advise our clients on how to get more out of their SAP applications and systems. A key element is to identify processes and technologies that justify the investment and return results. A recent example reinforces our mindset and approach.

The VP of an IT mid-sized bakery contacted us about some EDI work that needed some enhancements. They were growing the business in a new channel and needed some changes to SAP ECC to support the new processes. We had performed limited work for them over the years, so we asked a few questions.

After a brief Q&A, something seemed out of place. We introduced one of our Supply Chain Solution Architects into the conversation. Our architects can map processes across functions and technologies and are excellent for simplifying complex processes we identified and understand the business case.

Picture “Little hinges swing big doors!” We found some significant opportunities to improve their processes. After performing an assessment of the primary processes, we identified some major  pain points:

  • Materials Planning and Scheduling was prepared manually on spreadsheets;
  • Inventory levels for raw and intermediate were not reliable;
  • Subcontracting processes did not adhere to Best Practices.

Many of our customers are lean; super users cover multiple roles, functions, and processes in the business. By educating them on the options and recommending a path forward, we measure better outcomes from SAP.

The subcontracting process was set up incorrectly at the outset. This is not uncommon when budget becomes a driver of what business rules are configured. The client thought that other customers had to perform their planning on spreadsheets, and that is how SAP does it.

We educated them on the best practices and re-designed the processes. They were grateful that the manual spreadsheets went away. The result was accurate inventory levels, reliable MRP and purchasing the right materials at the right quantities.  It was not SAP, but the accepted business process that was the issue.

This happens in many areas of the business: Finance, Order to Cash and Supply Chain. Users get accustomed to legacy thinking. Our consultants challenge the legacy thinking mold. If you have not heard it before, ask me about my funny Christmas Ham story and how legacy thinking becomes entrenched in our lives.

We did enhance the EDI processes. However, EDI was not the main culprit limiting their system from growing their business.

Want to know the rest of the story? Our Advisory Services teams and Solution Architects help educate many customers on how to get more results and reliability from SAP. A little education can go a long way – and swing big doors for you. Want to better justify your ERP Investment? Contact Kent Lamb at 972.377.3525 or kent@titanconsulting.net. You can also contact your Titan Sales Director as well.