Given the complexities associated with the SAP GUI, how can one simplify, streamline and enhance the procure-to-pay process? Consider the approach of simplifying by creating a form to easily enter the essential data for purchase order creation (ME21N). Or if one needs to create 100’s of purchase orders, how could a mass update of this nature be accomplished in seconds as opposed to hours? Think about the advantages associated with how enhancing ERP usability can now expand the number of users who participate in the process driving more data accuracy, and overall user productivity.
Management needs comprehensive process workflow and transaction management in order to address procure to pay business processes proactively. Measuring supplier effectiveness, lowering working capital and improving procurement process across all divisions and functions, are just a few of the many key performance indicators directly affecting corporate performance. Finally, focusing on usability means incorporating the fact that every customer is unique in their business process and business rules – therefore, process implementation flexibility, ease-of-use, security and compliance are critical to achieving procure to pay efficiencies.
Enhancing SAP procure-to-pay usability enables the following:
- Reduced data entry – limit your entry form to only the few key fields required and save time
- Reduced programming costs – reduce IT dependency in coding, loading, testing and deploying
- Reduce training costs – cut back on SAP training since now users don’t need to be SAP Power Users
- Improve the data quality – simplifying data entry while enhancing entry validation and update validation assures high quality data entry all the time
- Improve the business processes – streamline, simplify by creating standard templates by which our SAP user community will use and adhere.
- Increase productivity – either reduce end user data entry time thus increasing workforce capacity.
Procure-to-pay process transaction usability enhancements
ME51N – Creating the purchase requisition. Consider an end user entering the requisition type, what plant, what storage location, and what purchasing group simply by updating an Excel template containing those entry fields as columns in the spreadsheet. Then consider how the user then enters the appropriate data for 30 purchase requisitions in literally a few minutes. Then from within Excel, the user logs into SAP, and uploads the 30 purchase requisitions in less than 30 seconds. This transaction alone could take several hours of time consuming, mundane, error-prone manual entry via the SAP GUI. Let’s go on…
ME21N – Creating the purchase order. Now that the end user has completed the purchase requisition, the purchasing agent now can take the various purchase requisitions, and again from within Excel update the SAP module with the PR detail and generate 30 purchase orders leveraging the entire SAP security and governance framework. As the data is uploaded to SAP there is a validation process which will check any business rules, and if any errors are encountered, will return an error flagging the issue. The purchase agent can correct the order creation errors and rerun this ‘on error’ in order to expedite updating SAP.
MIGO – Creating the goods receipt. Again, populate the data from an Excel table or simple entry form so the user manipulating the form doesn’t need to be an expert user… just someone who can load the Excel form and enter the PO #, Delivery Note, Bill of lading, goods receipt, and storage location and enter any notes associated with the transaction. Now they have created the goods receipt and now all they have to do is run the transaction within Excel, log into SAP and watch the transaction get updated simply, easily and accurately while observing the SAP security model.
MIRO – Creating the AP invoice. Purchase order, goods receipt and the invoice 3 way match are performed here within the Excel environment in this next step of the “procure to pay” process. Once executed the transaction audit trail is maintained both in the Excel worksheet and the SAP environment and the invoice is created. If the user drills into the SAP system via change purchase order (ME22N), they will see the documents previously created… the purchase order, goods receipt and the invoice documents) and furthermore they will be able to see the various data elements and even view the SAP audit trail. “The who, what, when, where… the endless pursuit of the guilty” is still embedded within the documentation – even using Winshuttle. This is in reference to an SAP insider’s view of ensuring that all of the data that would’ve been entered via the SAP GUI is still there when entered by the Excel user using Winshuttle.
Creating the AP payment – F-53 Create Payment – In this process, the “procure to pay” end user runs an FBL1N (Vendor Line Items), to download a series of documents (sorted by date). The user then picks one of the documents, gets the reference number, drop sit into their Excel template, updates the information w. payment details and then updates to SAP. Now, it’s easy to see by using FBL1N, and using the document clearing date to see the payments that were just created. Nothing is given up that would be done in SAP – the advantage is that by enhancing the usability – more users can execute this transaction OR a single user can execute many transactions that would’ve otherwise required hours and days to complete.