Enhancing SAP Lean Order Management for SAP Retail Part 3: Enhancement Framework

Creating Custom Views, Events, and Controlling the Visibility of Data Elements

In my previous two posts in this series, I discussed how to control field level help information and how to influence the look, feel and flow of the end user experience. In this entry, I will discuss some of the LOM capabilities for controlling what happens behind the scenes to manage technical events as well as screen content. For example, during transaction processing the system locks table entries to prevent other users from updating data while you are processing it. As in many technical endeavors, good housekeeping and cleaning up after yourself is always appreciated. To quote Roger Manifold, “Good manners don’t cost nothing”.

The enhancement framework concept is used to create custom views, handling of those custom views and dynamically controlling the visibility of different elements within Lean Order Management.

The FPM (Floor Plan Manager) with the Web Dynpro application interface provides you with methods to allow the application to participate in all FPM events that happen during the entire lifetime of the application.

Within the package ERP_SLS_LO_OIF, the main Web Dynpro component is LO_OIF_MAIN_COMP. Open this Web Dynpro application using transaction code SE80. The first step is to create an enhancement by clicking the enhance button or CTRL+F4 key. [Read more...]

Enhancing SAP Lean Order Management for SAP Retail Part 2: Configuring LOM

In the previous blog post, I discussed how to tailor the contents of field level help dropdown lists.  This kind of customizing is very specific, detailed and should always be thought through carefully.  In this post I discuss a higher level of customization of Lean Order Management, namely the look, feel and flow of the end user transaction screens.  This in turn influences the process flow and can be used to ensure the end user actions occur in the required sequence.

SAP often gets a bad rap for their GUI design, whereas other companies (can you think of a crisp, golden delicious fruit?) are lauded for their GUI design.  This doesn’t happen by accident and it isn’t easy.  “Intuitive” designs can be anything but intuitive and understanding your end user audience, their skills, expectations and willingness to learn is imperative when designing with LOM functionality.

In this regard, a recurring theme with LOM is to think it through before acting: LOM is a powerful tool and, to paraphrase, with that power comes responsibility.  Ideally, any LOM development work is preceded by detailed whiteboard sessions to map out the screen flow, the required buttons and actions, pop-up windows and possible responses, otherwise it is easy to end up doing basic design on the fly – and that rarely ends well.

Anyway, enough of the preamble – how do we make this magic happen in SAP? [Read more...]

Enhancing SAP Lean Order Management for SAP Retail Part 1

The objective of this series is to provide quick reference which may be used as a guide while enhancing Lean Order Management built with Web Dynpro and based on Floorplan Manager.

This is the first of three blog posts that discuss SAP LOM functionality. The first provides a high level introduction to LOM and how to modify the SAP table value help process to display available values. These are the value lists usually accessible using the F4 key in the SAP GUI.

The second post discusses how to configure LOM, and the third posting discusses the enhancement framework that allows you to build custom views and dynamically control screen content.

Enhancements in Lean Order Management

Before we start a discussion the technical aspects of SAP’s Lean Order Management (LOM) we need to understand the goal of order management itself.

Wider Goals of Order Management

  • To ensure or create coherence between tasks, organizations, functions and information systems (both manual and electronic) in the customer order flow
  • To ensure or create awareness of time consumption, bottlenecks, changes of responsibility and costs in the administration and at the shop floor
  • To remove non value-adding activities and non-value-adding information by reorganizing structures, tasks and systems towards lean principles

With order management is the necessity to simplify and streamline the process for taking an order from a customer. In my opinion, many companies spend more time (man-hours & lead-time) on order processes than production.

In many companies more time (man-hours & lead time) are spent on order processing than on production. [Read more...]

SAP Tip Quick Hit: Location of saplogon.ini in Windows 7

Ugh.  I spent the last 10 minutes searching for saplogon.ini!!

I need to copy it to a Virtual Machine so I don’t have to type in all of the SAP system information.  As many of you know, SAP saves SAP Logon Pad entries in a file called saplogon.ini.  For many releases, this file resided in the C:\Windows directory.  Since Microsoft has began enforcing their improved security model, SAP has adapted and, therefore, moved the location of saplogon.ini to a directory that I can never seem to remember.  I have SAPGUI 7.20 running on Windows 7 (x64) and I find myself scouring my hard drive in search of saplogon.ini!  I have 38 versions of the file, but which is the right version? Don’t worry, I finally found the right one. But I have performed this search at least three times in the past year! I seem to never make a point to note the location of saplogon.ini.  I can’t be alone in this search.

So for future me and you, dear internet community, here is the location of saplogon.ini file in Windows 7 for SAPGUI 720:

[Read more...]

SAP IDOCs for Customer Number with different Sales Organizations to different External Partnerships

Have you ever implemented an outbound  EDI process from SAP for a single customer number where the customer has multiple EDI trading by Sales Organization or Division?  It can be done.  In order to accomplish this you will need to create separate output types for each Sales Organization/Division and then set up the Access Sequence/Output Determination in order to create the IDOC for each partnership.  You can then use the Message Variant and/or Message Function fields of the Partner Profile to differentiate between the two Sales Organizations/Divisions.  Finally, you would set up your EDI Mapping to look at the Partner Profile fields in order to route it to the correct partnership.  Let’s take a closer look at this process.

Let’s say that Customer 15 in your SAP system buys products from your company.  It sends inbound EDI Orders to you using three different partner IDs because they have 3 internal divisions and they want all transactions to be separate.  You want to keep all sales data for this customer under one customer number in your SAP system and just separate them by a different division.  You are required to send out EDI invoices to this customer, but they must go to the correct EDI Partner ID.  Let’s say you would normally use the Standard SAP Output Type RD00 and  Access Sequence 0003 (Sales Org, Distribution Channel, Division, Customer Number) for producing your INVOIC IDOCs. [Read more...]

SAP EDI EDPAR Table Walkthrough – How to Cross Reference SAP Customer Number to External Customer Number (Part 1)

When creating IDOCs in SAP to send Invoices to customers via EDI you will likely have to send the customers their internal partner numbers on the EDI ANSI X12 810 Invoice Document.  In almost all cases this will not be the same as the SAP partner numbers.  So how can we set up a cross reference of SAP and external partner numbers?  Well, the answer is simple because SAP has set up a utility to handle this for you.  All you need to do is populate the EDPAR table in SAP using the VOE4 transaction.  Once this is completed the IDOC_OUTPUT_INVOIC function module will read the EDPAR table when the Invoice document output is processed and populate the LIFNR element of the E1EDKA1 or E1EDPA1 segments of the INVOIC IDOC with the external partner number.  Entries in EDPAR can be set up for multiple partners including the Sold-to, Ship-to, and Bill-To numbers so that external customer number cross-references can be passed on the IDOC if needed.

Let’s look at how this process works.  Let’s say we have created an invoice document in SAP.  In this case, the Sold-to, Ship-to, and Bill-to partners are all SAP customer number 15.  If we want to create an INVOIC02 IDOC on which the external customer numbers are populated for all three of these partners we would have to set up three EDPAR entries as displayed on the below screen shot.  The Customer field will contain the SAP partner number (Sold-to, Ship-to, Bill-to).  The Ext. Function field will contain the Partner Function (SP = Sold-to, SH = Ship-to, BP = Bill-to).  The External Partner field will contain the external partner number that the customer is expecting on the EDI file.  And the Int. no. field will contain the SAP partner number (Same as the Customer field).

[Read more...]

Lessons Learned for Decision Makers and Leads from a Successful SAP Retail Project Part 2 – Client Resources

My first post of the SAP Retail Lessons Learned series, I provided some background information on the SAP Retail implementation project that will be used as the primary reference for the lessons learned. I also listed a few over-arching themes for the entire series as well as major Lessons Learned categories that will be featured in upcoming posts.

In continuing my series of lessons learned with SAP Retail I would like to cover the topic of Client Resources and Planning. Again, in general many of these lesson I have learned could be applied to any project and I can easily draw parallels from other SAP industry solution implementations that I have led in the past. I will do my best to highlight where I think there are specific retail differences.

There Are Never Enough Client Resources

This is the case on almost any large-scale project, not just SAP projects. It impacts smaller organizations and it impacts retail businesses more because they tend to run leaner IT organizations. So you might be saying to yourself, “big deal; what project not funded by the government doesn’t have enough resources?” This one point however might be the most important one I make in this series.

[Read more...]

It’s SAP Upgrade Time! Do You Know Where Your Customizations Are? Part 3.

In my final post on this topic, I will discuss some of the techniques that I use to “discover” information about customizations in an SAP system, even in the absence of any documentation.  The information available to be discovered may include such details as the object name, object type, user name of the person who made the last modification, date and time of the last modification, usage statistics, where-used, and for code-based objects, even the versions and their code differences.

[Read more...]

SAP Mid-Month Go-Live: Got the T-shirt

Conventional wisdom says you don’t go-live with SAP financials in the middle of the month (strictly speaking I should say the middle of the accounting period, but I’ll say month as a generic term for the posting period).  I recently went through a mid-month SAP financials and logistics go-live and so far it has been a success.

Initially the project team had the expected you-can’t-do-that reaction when the idea of a mid-month go-live was suggested.  We took three main steps to determine whether or not we were crazy or had a viable go-live option:

  1. We asked SAP.  As one of the main participants on the project we got them to do an internal review with some platinum consultants with the objective of telling us why we could not go-live mid-month.
  2. We asked our project team, both client and consulting resources.  Again, the goal was to tell us why we couldn’t do it.
  3. We Googled like maniacs to find something to support and justify the conventional wisdom.  We failed to find anything substantial that would deter us.

Armed with the conviction that there was no reason we couldn’t go-live mid-month we set about defining the details of how we would pull it off.

[Read more...]

SAP Project Management Consulting Clichés – Part 2

Following my previous post I got a couple of responses from folks out on the interweb and decided I’d steal their suggestions and expand on their consulting clichés.  After all repetition and overuse are the start point for any cliché and this means I’m doing my part to sustain the cycle – reuse, recycle, renew!

Is Your Project a Hotbed of SAP Consulting Clichés?

I felt compelled to come up with a 2-by-2 matrix to help you decide whether your project is cliché generator or a cliché consumer.

[Read more...]