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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Material Ledger - Some Understanding

Since my earlier article "Material Ledger - Component of Controlling", I have made some further observations which I thought would be useful to easing the understanding of "how" it fits in or can be compared to the more commonly used "MM Inventory Valuation" using "Product Costing".

Well, have fun. Hopefully, this means something to you.

Some Background
  • The Material Ledger is activated by Plant. Ideally, all materials within a plant are treated consistently across the board (Bottom Up). Once activated and used for a Plant/Material combination, this functionality cannot be deactivated easily without a great deal of effort.
  • In Finance, the periodic unit price value of MM Inventory is expressed across two GL Accounts, one displaying at standard price and one displaying the periodic unit price adjustment.
The Concept behind the Actual Costing Process
  1. Actual costing evaluates all goods movements within a period at the standard price (preliminary valuation). At the same time, all price and exchange rate differences for the material are collected in the material ledger.
  2. At the end of the period, using the "Actual Costing Run" an actual price is calculated for each material based on the actual costs of the period. This actual price is called the periodic unit price and can be used to revalue the inventory for the period to be closed. In addition, you can use this actual price as the standard price for the next period.
  3. Actual costing determines what portion of the variance is to be debited to the next-highest level using material consumption. The actual BOM enables variances to be rolled up over multiple production levels all the way to the finished product.
  4. The process of posting the effects of differences between the standard price and the periodic unit price is known as the "Closing Entries". This entails the posting of the revaluation of consumption as well as the inventory at every level of the process. Revaluation of consumption posts directly to the price difference accounts as additional variances. This is as opposed to the consuming PP orders requiring subsequent settlement.
  5. Additional accounts are used to post the effects of this parallel accounting methodology i.e. the standard MM posting processes, and therefore the assigned accounts, are NOT used. Essentially this means that table T030 will have been updated with additional account assignments per process.
  6. Using the "periodic unit price" (moving average) as the new 'Standard Price" is optional, as indicated above. Hence, to implement the choice, the applicable materials must be marked and released in the same way as for product costing.
  7. As a result, subject to inventory quantity an accounting posting will occur between the assigned MM control account and price difference accounts.
Originally posted: Jun 22,2012 12:17

Foot note:

Earlier this year (2016), I had the pleasure of experiencing the full greenfield implementation and execution of the Material Ledger from the ground up. This was speckled with a few unprecedented mishaps, resets and restarts, all of which went a long way to deepening my understanding.

There are definitely a number of definitive insights for those who can understand. As with all my projects, I created and retained detailed evidence in spreadsheet and word format from precipitation to outcome and aftermath; followed by debrief and other unexpected continuing surprises/outcomes.

I guess that I shall write about this, though circumspectly, in due course.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Mind Over Matter - Excel at Small Things

Its been a while now, but around 6 years ago, I was asked to build a reporting platform in SAP, more specifically, in "Profitability Analysis".

The input provided was rather superficial in the form of an Excel document, a PowerPoint presentation, a Word document, a PDF document, and a few spoken words followed by a missive of "get it done".

So, I got it done. In SAP. Then, being duly diligent, to verify the initial data upload, keeping things simple but robustly comprehensive, I designed and built a tool in Excel essentially replicating the functionality built into SAP directly from the data.

Among other things, tables were looked up and pivot tables used. Not really powerful in design or function, but up to the job.

To get to the point, on presentation of the SAP solution plus the latter, the decision was to cancel the SAP development and use the Excel tool.

All they wanted was the reporting information in an easy to trace, manage and produce digital vehicle.

And, so ended the SAP development, though fully built, functional and ready to go.

I didn't mind as it didn't really matter how the business objective manifested itself, only that it did - in a rather Excel-lent sort of way.

With hindsight, knowing of the prospsective data volume should have immediately precipitated an Excel counterproposal.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Art of Writing

Writing is an art form unto itself. The most beautiful websites can easily be diminished by unimaginative writing.

For example, the following sentence...
  • Xxxx is a leading specialist business that focuses on enabling organisations to fully exploit the benefits of enterprise mobility.
might be replaced by a more stylized flowing rendering as follows...
  • Xxxx is a leading business specializing in focussing on enabling organisations in fully exploiting advantages of enterprise mobility.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Due Diligence


In any experiment, good comprehensive due diligence, relative to the nature and scale of the endeavour; before, during and after; is highly recommended.

Of course, retrospect will ultimately determine the merits of an idea. After all, you don't know what you don't know until you know it. At the same time, you won't know until you have tried.

On the other hand, shooting oneself in the foot to confirm whether it hurts or not, is counterproductive not to mention counterintuitive.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

SAP - Creative Design

Image Credit: rafa-sf.deviantart.com
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Implementing an SAP business system is undoubtedly a creative endeavour... meaning that not everything needs to be implemented in its traditional role.

If another business purpose can be served, a little bit of creative licence is permissible.

However, when deviating from the usual standard SAP usage, there is a primary proviso or so.

Take the time to recognize and evaluate potential conflict and limiting factors in the medium and long term of significant deviations before committing to such a charted course.

Look ahead to see that you aren't building a future insurmountable roadblock.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

RICEF - Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements, Forms


This acronym is of recent vintage to me. RICEF refers to Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements, Forms.

Reports
Report development. All the technical objects/developments dealing with programming of SAP Reports. It includes different types of reports; Simple reports with output using WRITE statements, Simple ALV reports, ALV Grid, ALV Grid with advanced functionality, etc.

Interfaces
Interface development. Interfaces are ALE/IDOCs development. Involves ABAP programming for IDOCs plus IDOC customization.

Conversion
Conversion refers to BDC programming. Data upload from legacy system in flat file format to SAP done via Conversion Objects. This involves uploading data through BDC, LSMW, BAPI, etc.

Enhancements
Enhancements are User Exits, Customer Exits, BADI's etc. ABAP code written to enhance SAP functionality.

Forms
Forms include SAP Smartforms, SAP Scripts. Technical development dealing with fetching necessary data from SAP and displaying in terms of forms for output is classified under Forms.

Source: The Basics - What's RICEF?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Wall-to-Wall Overview


Whether time really exists or not, thus far "winding the clock back" is something I have yet to experience. So any time spent may as well have been worthwhile.

Hence, when evaluating the prospects of a potential solution, spend time wisely by getting a meaningful "wall-to-wall" overview and "feel" of the entirety from inception through to its logical conclusion before getting down to brass tacks i.e. the details.

Once deemed worthwhile as a whole and high level due diligence having been carried out, only then should the more detailed issues be attended to (e.g. the particular advantage of a feature, etc.).

If eventually deemed without meaningful value, minimal time will have been spent and therefore wasted.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Ideal Posture

Having an ideal posture in terms of people, ideas and execution will have a key impact on the outcome of a project.

Although a SAP project is entirely about the customer, the rub is that the customer leadership must have genuine realistic expectations in terms of the assigned people and their inherent willingness and ability to bring about change.

Pie-in-the-sky outlooks without the means to change are just so much skywriting.

In the case of highly personalised implementations, one must remember that they are not an exact science. Fine-tuning usually requires a little more time.

Partnering should be one of trust and collaboration. Customer and consulting people should team up on the same line and focus energies straight ahead at a common target i.e. the project goals and not one another.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Simplicity





Be a proponent of the straightforward and the easy-to-understand. That way all can be on the same plain when pursuing something of common interest.

Whatever the complexity at the outset, simplicity is accomplished by "divide and conquer" into easily digested bite-sized chunks until all is said and done.

Mysteries are for novels and mysterious people.

Simplicity and openness are key to the surefire way to success in any endeavour!

SAP Learning


Learning to understand and use SAP is like anything else.

In the beginning, the “done” pile is quite empty while the “to do” pile may as well be infinite. Over time, the “done” pile steadily grows while the “to do” pile never seems to go down. There is always more to do...

Hence, anyone should focus on getting started and luxuriate in the growth of the “done” pile. After while, looking back one will be amazed how much one has accomplished.

This applies to anything really. Get started right away.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Working in Silos

Image: Flicker.com
I have heard of people working in a “silos” without knowledge of the surrounding environment.

However, the problem with immediately becoming wholly engrossed in a “silo” is that one remains oblivious of the relative position and significance of the “silo” in the general architecture, knowledge of which could influence design, decisions, etc.

Hence, before blanking out all the rest, one should take a top-down view of the broad picture; looking around behind, ahead and to the sides.

Only when clear of the relative position of the “silo” in time and space, should one lower one’s attention to the “silo” itself.

Business or Technical?

Over the years, I have encountered the question of whether the best functional consultants originate from a technical or a business background. Largely, this may be a matter of opinion.

However, it is my view that business insight drives design while technical ability drives the build.

Good transparent understanding of a business and its processes comes about from experience in that arena or similar where acquired knowledge and insights can be adapted.

Implementing a business system is a perceptual exercise as much as a practical one. Without depth of perception, one will find the installation has been executed with less than consummate skill and imagination.

This more evident in some areas than others, for example Project Systems (especially Collaborative) versus Cost Centre Accounting.

In the final analysis, only you can decide.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Quality versus Speed

Project implementations should never be about reckless speed, but about a meaningful qualitative long term experience derived from its product.

Undue "Speed” over “Quality” has very definite drawbacks which continue to make their presence felt long after the project is over and money spent.

It should never be a race to start and finish. This is why we have Formula One racing to help get the "raging torrent" out of your system.

A reasonable balance between the two should be struck. Any trade-offs must be carefully considered, choices actively made and reasons clearly stated.

Knowledge of the provenance makes review possible and potential change eminently more meaningful.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Consulting Advice

Have you ever experienced being asked for advice by someone and when having done so had the person argue against it and even try to change your mind about it. Rather pointless, isn’t it?...



For those requesting advice, take it on board and digest it. Spit it out if you don’t like it, store it for later use or act on it now. But don’t debate it else the point of it is lost i.e. another unfettered viewpoint.

Something I heard from my early days as a SAP consultant. “As a consultant, our job is to give advice and at worst have it ignored”. Meaning that it is not up to a consultant to force advice down anyone’s throat.

On the other hand, being persuasive and having one's advice deliberated seriously may be in the client's interest and save a lot of angst (and expense) in the long run.

Image credit: en.wikipedia.org

Long Cut/Short Cut

Sometimes the long way around is the best way to discover the shortest. This happened during the course of one of my projects.

After essentially succeeding in the construction of a lengthy solution using a traditional SAP approach, it was only at the end when seeking out an independent confirmation measure, that I realised a much simpler, direct and transparent approach.

But, it did involve a little lateral thinking.

By adapting a SAP-standard function module (with ABAP help) and building an Excel workbook utility, it was possible not only to determine and upload the fundamental input basis, but thereafter also to confirm the results in detail by downloading and comparison to the prediction.
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Fusion


In any form of consulting, one can find great satisfaction in the personal success enjoyed by the client's people.

More so being party to their personal experience and growth through new breakthroughs. This is especially so when they embrace them with gusto and take them heartily to the next level.

SAPplety

Perspectives of subtle, supple SAP. My rendering of the last 3 words into a single blog title resulted from "SAP", "subtle" and "supple" into "SAPplety" i.e. a play on subtlety.

Anyway, this is a just a "get it out there anyway I can" blog.

If you have seen the movie "The Right Stuff", you may remember the scene where the American leadership was dismayed to learn that the Russians had beaten them to get a rocket into space and land safely again.

In closed session with the Vice President, etc. Werner Von Braun's comments were "Get something up there quick and dirty any way we can! We could launch a pod with a specimen inside."

One of my response's of being behind in the online technology race was this and a number of other blogs.

Anyway, as of now, I am relaunching this blog in conjunction with a Google+ page. As a result, I will performing a little experiment in time travel bringing the past back to the present, one post at a time.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Plan and Monitor Asset Investment Spending The Simpler Way

Copyright SAP AG
Not knowing how well known this titbit is, I thought that I would jot down a few words here.

If you are unwilling to go the whole hog of introducing the full usage of actual Investment Measures such as Internal Orders or WBS Elements, but still have a quandary of having the need to track budgets, planning, commitments and actual capital investment spending, it can be achieved easily enough by using "statistical" Internal Orders or WBS Elements.

If this option is intriguing enough, click the following link to the online "ECC6 SAP Library" for more specifics.


Initially, focus your attention on the Features section, particularly the graphic for a useful overview. Before diving into the detail, get an insight to each subsection by glimpsing the first sentence in each case.

If still interested, only then read the remainder of the document for "having your cake and eating it" as regards simplified high-level management of capital investment without all the slog of maintaining a fuller Investment Management environment.

Friday, 5 July 2013

CO Material Ledger Application Menu

For anybody who wanted to know the length and breadth of the CO Material Ledger from the SAP Menu and transaction code point of view, just click on the below and download:

CO Material Ledger App. Menu


Just something that I found in my laptop's Desktop Box having done it a while back and forgotten about it I suppose.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

PCA Document Number Range

Recently, I learnt of something that I wonder why I never came across it before. Perhaps I had but never gave it much thought, or I simply just forgot, plain and simple.

Having created an additional Controlling Area (and Company Code) for a "Live" system and transported it to the Production server, I went about resetting the transported document number ranges ahead of the first posting. But for the life of me, I couldn't seem to find the Profit Center Accounting document number range for integration postings from Finance or Controlling.

This must be differentiated from document numbers for Local/Global document types within Profit Center Accounting.

So off to transaction code "SNUM" I go and trace the following object "COPCA_OBJ" only to find that numbers are assigned at the "Client" level and not "Controlling Area" level. (Hence, all Company Codes/Controlling Areas share the same number roll when a PCA document is posted.)

Thus, it goes without saying that this number range is never reset once the system has allocated its first document in an already "Live" system. Otherwise, after what will look like a bad error in a system dump log, you will need to track down the last document posted and restore the Status with that or a higher number from which number allotment will continue.

Shockingly simple. First a shock, then a simple fix.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

How To Download Parts of the IMG 2

Its been a while now, so I couldn't really remember myself. So I read the below post myself and it still works today. Except that I need to mention that it is just the table of contents below that you want.

So you will need to trim all of the redundant lines above as well as headers, footers and other inbetween blank lines. It also helps to set the font to "Arial monospaced for SAP" while getting your ducks in a row.

I am thinking of using this to build a giant matrix so that I can compare a certain section of configuration on multiple instances of what should have conformed to a template, but seemingly don't quite do so.

How To Download Parts of the IMG

Well maybe not for the moment. Although, I have prepped it, I have shelved it after a lot of work in the face of a better idea to achieve my objective.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Exporting the SAP Area Menu

Having read the following query from my blog's statistics, "export whole menu tree in sap" I thought of putting a few words together as I have done this in part in the past using transaction code SE43 (Area Menu Maintenance).

By displaying the root node of an area menu with all the lower nodes expanded, one can export whatever is displayed as a text file as illustrated below.
Once having exported an area of interest, given a little madness one can try to extract the nodes and transaction codes for documentation purposes as I have done in the past.

Here is an example to ponder: PS Area Menu.

This was done in two stages. First in sheet "a" using a combination of staggered formulae with a fair amount of manual intervention where layout inconsistencies and other problems occur. Note that the "|" and "-" have been removed. The extracted results were copied and pasted as text into the presentation page i.e. sheet "PS". Conditional formatting is used for the level effect i.e. underline if a parent else, "|" to the left plus bold. Unhappily, blanks to the left of the text are also included in the paste step and must be deleted manually. All in all a lot of work for little gain. (Obviously, at the time I had too much time on my hands.)
But, exporting the entire SAP Area Menu is an exercise in futility. This menu comprises of embedded standalone sub-menus which are also repeated and sometimes recursive in various places, etc. There seemingly is no end to it.

So a little focus and restraint is advisable. Patience too, to accompany your insanity.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Content with Feedback: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained


Its all too clear that all publishers face many big challenges, some of which are niche, content, being discovered and readership.

So it is without a doubt that I appreciate anyone and everyone who visits this blog and finds some value in the things that I have written about and in the downloads provided .

From the inbuilt Blogger analytics, there is some interesting (sometimes dubious) but limited feedback available. For example, I am able to see at an aggregate level numbers of Pageviews in the last two hours, last 24 hours, last week, the past month and all time history.

For these timeframes, on a (more or less) top 10 level basis, these statistics are available in aggregate (but not in cross-granularity) by Country, Operating System and Browser. These statistics also give an aggregate view of the "Referring Urls", "Referring Sites", but more importantly the "Search Keywords" used.

And it is here that I am sometimes left wondering whether the question or interest that drove you here in the first place, has made the trip and time spent here worthwhile.

I mention this as sometimes I am perplexed as to the context of  a question.

So, if I may be so bold, I would like to suggest that you leave a comment with some context (especially if a question) at the foot of the landed post. If I am able to understand what you mean and the context thereof, I may be able to be more specific and add some good content in a subsequent blog post.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Will this post elicit any responses. Don't know as feedback is rare, even though appreciated, good or bad.

Thanks again for your visit.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Results Analysis Valuation


Perhaps not the most exciting or compelling SAP topic. But, as I recall, there is an area of SAP Controlling that some, more than others, may grapple with. And it is Results Analysis (RA).

For the accounting minded, the calculation and handling of Work in Process (WIP) is a simple variant of Results Analysis.

The fuller breadth and depth of the Results Analysis functionality allows for complex revenue recognition and reserve formation needs with great accounting transparency in reporting as well as in financial accounting (via automatic posting).

For example, groups of cost elements can be individually managed such that while some can render the formation of WIP (Unbilled Costs) other groups can result in the need for one or more reserve types to be formed.

However, this particular post is not about getting into that level of detail. This post is simply about facilitating understanding and context.

It concerns an Excel document aimed at accelerating one's engagement with understanding the specifics of the behaviour of RA Valuation Methods. It attempts to do this by providing a customizing style framework with the applicable notes ready to hand, feature by feature. One’s engagement could be the interpretation of pre-existing definitions (SAP-standard or custom-built), or could be the design/redesign of a new desired outcome.

If you think you could use this document or would at least like to evaluate its usefulness, it can be downloaded by first clicking the following link and following through:


This document stemmed from my need for an overview and context of the numerous features that give rise to the underlying functionality. You will understand what I am on about when you view the document.

Friday, 26 October 2012

SAP LSMW Illustrative Example

If you are new to SAP, especially with the uploading of master and transaction data, your interest may just be piqued by the below.
Here  is a simple show and tell Word document of how to define and execute an LSMW (Legacy System Migration Workbench) definition using a simple example to upload Secondary Cost Elements (CO-Controlling) using a text file saved from an Excel equivalent.

Click the following link to connect to the document in the Google Drive to view and download.


The screenshots were taken from an older SAP version and GUI, but the essential structure and approach remain the same.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

SAP - Exporting Data to Excel

In standard SAP Enterprise, there is no standard readily available single all-powerful tool which enables the downloading of data to Excel.

Such a description is reminiscent of a data mining tool specific to data warehousing. A comparable entity in SAP may be Business Warehouse (BW).
In standard SAP, the capability of exporting to Excel (or any other form of output) is usually a built-in function of a report especially one with an ABAP List Viewer (ALV).

This also applies to a SAP Query or a table export using Transaction Code SE16 or SE16N.

In many cases, this can also be accomplished from the SAP Menu Bar i.e.(System → Services → List → Export → Local File…).

Exporting to Excel can also be accomplished from Report Painter, Drilldown and various other report types.


Monday, 10 September 2012

Templates - Formula Planning

I suppose that its down to the path one has followed. But, in all of my years I have only seen one instance where CO Templates were used in any manner at all. (Synonymous with Formula Planning)

Yet, using CO Templates is like having built-in formulas (as in a Excel spreadsheet) directly linked to variables such as activity postings, key figures, etc. The latter values can be manually or automatically provided to render a mathematical result using functions, formulas and Boolean logic. This will help to limit the need for preliminary offline Excel computations.

Templates are constructed using a graphical workbench using a mix of selection and direct editing activities.
Once defined, templates are assigned to cost object master data such as cost centers, and
are processed as a periodic activity once all dependents are available i.e activity postings, key figures, etc.
giving resulting values posted to the associated cost object by means of the assigned cost element.
Templates can be used in Planning as well as Actual cost accounting.

SAP provides an array of elements which should service most customer requirements. Where outside the box requirements occur, although a little more challenging to define, the framework for custom development is available as well.

In a complex, high-volume master data and highly volatile data environment, the effort of building CO templates is well justified.

In smaller and less volatile environments, perhaps not so due to the challenge of the initial work intensity in the design and build phase and then the subsequent maintenance thereof.
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Friday, 16 March 2012

Price Calculation & Usage - Devil in the Detail

In Activity Type price calculation and usage determination, the devil is in the detail i.e. the customizing. More specifically in the CO Fiscal Year section of the applicable CO Version and Valuation Variant in the case of Product Cost Planning and Controlling.

In Planning, price calculation relies on a rule to determine which price (period, average, etc.) is stored in the applicable period price pocket.

The eventual price resident in the period pocket in conjunction with the planned or capacity quantity (per prevailing customizing settings) of an activity type determines the value of the implied credit visible in reporting.

In Actual Accounting, there is a similar reliance, but this applies to the periodic automatic actual price calculation.

The manner of posting can also be controlled i.e. revalue the original transactions or post a separate transaction.


In the case of Product Cost Object Controlling, valuation is determined by the Valuation Variant set in the order via the Costing Variant.

The price strategy within ultimately determines the price basis of Activity Types.

All price results can be displayed using transaction code "KSBT".

It is useful to know of the source table "COST" which can be referenced in an InfoSet and a useful SAP Query or two written.

This should give you some idea where and what to look for when prices seem to have a mind of their own.
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Thursday, 15 March 2012

Price Calculation - Plan vs Actual: Discrete Manufacturing

There is one small, but important procedural difference between "Plan" and "Actual" automatic price calculation.

Both rely on a predefined splitting structure assigned to cost centres to be credited. This determines the value flow between cost elements and activity types.

Both rely on a preliminary splitting activity (KSS4/KSS2) prior to the calculation of activity prices. 

Both require the execution of automatic price calculation program (KSPI/KSII).

However, the "Actual" price calculation does not automatically result in objects (i.e. Production Orders) initially posted with Plan prices being subsequently updated. (Obviously, this does not arise in Planning.)

For this, a follow-up transaction is required, either in single mode (MFN1/CON1), or more usually in collective mode (MFN2/CON2).
Hence, for every initial posting (CO Activity RKL) based on a "Plan" price, a pairing posting (CO Activity RKLN) with the value difference should occur.

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Saturday, 11 February 2012

Planning Framework - Personalization Profile

In "Profitability Analysis", on-line planning is enabled via the "Planning Framework" i.e. transaction code "KEPM".

Given that a multiplicity of "Planning Levels" within which a multiplicity of "Planning Packages" and "Parameter Sets" (Tools) can necessarily be defined for a broad cross-section of users, working within the "Planning Framework" can be a very "busy" place indeed where one can have trouble seeing one's own "forest" for the numerous trees of others.

Some method of thinning out the trees somewhat is needed. In addition, some form of segregation measure is needed to inhibit outside interference of a user's efforts. And there is. It is called a "Personalization Profile".

Definition of a "Personalization Profile" involves the assignment of "Planning Levels", "Planning Packages" and "Parameter Sets" (Tools) to a discrete profile which will in turn be assigned to designated users. By excluding access to the "General Overview" one is automatically precluded from switching thereto and "invading" another user's patch.

However, it is important to note that should the administrator's user ID be assigned to any such personalization profile, such administrator will be also be precluded.

In this (and any) event, the administrator should, through an associated authorization profile or role, have the authorization object K_KEPL_FR (with the activity GL - general overview) assigned to them in their User ID profile.

One doesn't want to feel or look foolish having locked oneself out of one's own "house". No, not I, but someone else did.
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Monday, 21 November 2011

Material Ledger - Component of Controlling

Until someone asked me a particular question one day a few years back, I was under the impression that the Material Ledger was a sub module of Materials Management.

It turned out that it was in fact a component of Controlling similar to Product Costing. This was clarified by referring to the SAP Library documentation and having found it located under Controlling.

While I thought that I understood the gist of the Material Ledger’s purpose from one or more cursory reads, it was not until I was engaged to understand a particular anomaly between a calculated price and that being derived by the Material Ledger that I had the opportunity to develop a proper understanding.

Essentially, by selecting a candidate product I reverse engineered the Material Ledger functionality and detected the reported problem.

Hence, having a case study in a live environment makes a huge difference in understanding something as opposed to just having read the book.

I used this opportunity to document in detail my findings that I could use as a future reference.

This encompassed everything from the Costing Run setup to the Material Price Analysis and resulting financial documents as well as the applicable Material Master views of the product being examined.

The relationships and flows, while straightforward in understanding, are intricate when one specifically attempts to correlate the various connecting points of the chosen product for analysis.

Top-down as well as bottom up views should be traced. Along these lines my case study specifically highlighted this using graphics, but in spite of this remains difficult to trace.

Viewing the financial document by its original sequence as well as sorted by the Material Number, one can correlate the items with the details of Material Price Analysis. The amounts and line texts (e.g. “EBPRV: Write off multi-level price differences”) found in the financial document can readily be associated with the details of Material Price Analysis.

While it can be a little tedious as one has to scrounge around for the applicable row or column, it will clearly illustrate how the effects of the Costing Run are used or posted in financial terms by product.

For example, how much is transferred to the next level, how much is used in the current level for revaluation, etc. And, at the lower levels the origin of any difference as well as how it flows upwards from level to level with other aggregated differences.

(Due to proprietary business information contained within, I am unable to share my case study. Apart from the effort involved, blanking things out will render it useless.)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Flow Between SOP and Other Apps


This is just a blast from the past in spite of the recent print date.

However, while not universally definitive and also eclipsed by more recent developments in automated planning, I still think that it gives a usual perspective of SOP (Sales & Operations Planning) versus other forms of planning and how planning becomes reality in a manufacturing environment for any given product.

In each green block, some of the key input criteria/objects as well as the main outcome in summary or some detail (blue) are given.



For anyone interested, the PDF document can be accessed for download by clicking here: SOP Flow w. Others.


Friday, 23 September 2011

SAP PP Planning Overview - My Perspective

Quite a few years back, I had pondered how all the various forms of automated planning featured in relief and as regards a single material/product i.e. MM and PP.

To this end, the linked document resulted.

This was done by referencing the SAP Library and observing the objects, elements, settings in customizing as well as the master data, and the various business transactions in SAP.


Bearing in mind that this is limited to that that I countenanced at the time, was done a few years back and the fact that things have moved along since then in the form of refinement as well as newer and higher level integrated planning environments i.e. APO (Automated Planning & Optimization), etc.

Be that as it may, for better or worse, below appears an interpretation drawn up in "Visio" and now rendered in "PDF" format.

The object here was to give me a visual contextual understanding as mentioned above. So far, I have had no reason to change it.

So, for anyone who is interested: PP Planning - My Perspective
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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Right Question / Right Person

Asking questions is part and parcel of getting to know and understand something from someone else. However, the process of asking questions itself is not evidence of a good practice.

And, although initially asking oblique questions as a means to determining the correct context, approach and so on, there is only one that really matters and that is:

The Right Question. And putting it to the Right Person.

And this is really the trick!

Some might say that this is obvious, but I beg to differ.
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SAP Menu

SAP has a menu, but nary a nibble! Tsk, tsk!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Assets Historical Data Take-on - Remaining Life vs Book Value

When preparing to upload Fixed Assets master data from any legacy system, the accumulated depreciation of prior year assets needs to be split between the balance as at the end of the last fiscal year and that posted in the current fiscal year.

The remaining life to be added to the upload file is that as at the end of the last fiscal year i.e. not that of the most recent depreciation run unless equal to the latter.

This remaining life should be proportional to the book value of the same time. If remaining life is used for determination of the depreciation rate, it is advisable to check the relationship between these two elements.

The following Excel presentation provides a model for the monitoring of this aspect and can be integrated into upload preparation files:


Remaining life is also relevant for determining whether depreciation will be posted. When the latter reaches zero, no further depreciation will be posted irrespective of the book value balance beyond the scrap value, if any.
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Monday, 13 December 2010

How to Download the EMIGALL Handbook

Although a little different to that for downloading the IMG structure and document ("How To Download Parts of the IMG"), the same can be done for the "EMIGALL Handbook" after executing transaction EQ81. Have a go!

However, cleanup can be a lengthy affair in Excel removing redundancies, etc. A combination of row indexing, sorting as well as MID, RIGHT, FIND, REPLACE. etc. functions will give you a reasonably cleaned result.

Of course you can avert all of this by printing the print preview to a PDF print driver before setting it to "List Display".
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Thursday, 9 December 2010

How To Download Parts of the IMG

A question recently put to me...

"Do you by any chance have a little procedure written for how you showed me to download (parts of) the IMG?"

My Answer...
  1. Within the Reference IMG, click on any node (the lower down the better to speed up the process).
  2. Then click “Implementation àPrint àNodes àWith Subnodes. 
  3. Select Documents. 
  4. If you just want the IMG structure, select "Project Doc..." (There isn't any, but something must be set.)
  5. Click Enter.
  6. A print dialog box will be displayed. Click “Print Preview”.
  7. Within the preview screen, select “GotoàList Display. 
  8. The text version of the graphical screen will be displayed.
  9. Select System àList àSaveàLocal File.
  10. Select your preferred choice and continue. 
  11. My preference is for “In the clipboard” for subsequent pasting in an open Word document.
So there we have it. Housekeeping is something you will have to figure out on your own.

Of course you can avert all of this by printing the print preview to a PDF print driver before setting it to "List Display".

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Importing SAP Report Painter Colour Scheme into Excel


When you copy some cells from a Report Painter Report using the Excel interface, the results go dark when pasted with the format in a new Excel workbook.

If you want retain the SAP default colour scheme in the new Excel sheet, click the following link and follow the steps within: SAPReportPainterColourScheme

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Saturday, 3 July 2010

Old SAP Reporting Trees - SARP

Are you one of those people wishing that you could remember the transaction code for those "old" reporting trees?

Wish no longer, click the following link!

Old SAP Reporting Trees - SARP

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

SAP T-Accounts Posting Simulation


Here's gadget for those with a little patience to adequately prepare and execute the demonstration.

It is an integrated mechanism in Excel for fleshing out postings across FI and CO modules and objects for demonstration purposes.

To use it effectively in a workshop, one would have to get a lot of practice in speedily updating the steps at the same rate as a nice casual verbal delivery. Doing this seamlessly without becoming confused is a little challenging.

The idea is a dynamic gadget that can be used to paint an audience a visual insight of postings occurring within SAP for at the same rate as chat.

Being in Excel, I intended that the framework could be relatively easily modified by a person without necessarily being au fait with programming, etc. However, putting this together as well as its usage was more challenging than expected.

If interested in seeing whether this gadget can benefit you in any way, click the following link: SAP T-Accounts Posting Simulation - Example
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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

SAP Month-end Cross-Module Closing Schedule


Depending on the overall size of an organization (groups or single companies), the scheduling of month-end activities to ensure on-time meaningful reporting can be a logistical challenge for anybody.

There is the ultimate deadline of shareholder reporting which, if not on time, leads to unhelpful speculation with its negative connotations on the group or company.

From this "immovable" deadline, all other scheduling across geographic regions, within regional groups, within companies and among the various business systems needs to be done in a carefully planned reverse order sequence. In other words, top down.

Hence, the need for comprehensive qualitative and seamless tools to facilitate such planning is a no-brainer. Especially useful is a generic template the content of which can be tweaked and updated to depict exact cut-off dates and times.

Along these lines, the illustrated gadget was developed some time ago for intra module planning. Although, some indicated transactions have become redundant in the advent of ECC6, this gadget is still largely relevant and can be customized to suit your requirements.

If interested in seeing whether this gadget can benefit you in any way, click the following link: SAP R3 Month-end Cross-Module Closing Schedule
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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

SAP Meaning


For those who have wondered what SAP means, or used to mean, the flash banner at the start of the screen layout editor reveals all.

Voila...


Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing.
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Monday, 12 April 2010

SAP Project Manpower Planning for Quoting


Manpower planning for project quoting can be a tedious affair as well as fraught with financial and resource risk, especially with fixed pricing. Hence, a good quality comprehensive detailed planning tool that can be used in a fast and seamless manner is desirable.

The following gadget is my rendition of just one of many that may be out there. We all have our preferences, hence this may not be everyone's cup of tea.

This gadget is based on the 4.6C ASAP Implementation Project Plan. Although work intensive, with due care  it can be modified to accommodate more recent developments e.g. project phases and activities. One merely needs to remain respectful of the design imperatives such as they are.

The gadget allows for planning by module and administration function in a semi rigid structure. Overviews by total "Effort" and "Skill" by module, etc. by project activity and phase are automatically summarized in separate sheets.

Before starting out, one must prepare the "lay of the land" by following the steps given in the "Guide" with reference to the "Basic Input", "Layout" and creating the required additional module sheets. Note must also be taken of the comments given in the column headings.

The results of the detailed planning are collated on an "Estimate" sheet which can be trimmed automatically and saved as a separate sheet at the click of a button.

If interested in seeing whether this gadget can benefit you in any way, click the following link: ASAP v4.6c Manpower Planning
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Monday, 29 March 2010

Cash Management: Data Setup in Multiple Time Zones

Some time ago, I installed “Cash Management” for a group of company codes in a “Live” system that spans multiple time zones from the west coast of the United States to somewhere east of Dubai (a difference of 12 hours).

As you can expect, once installed in a “Live” system a retrospective update of business data is needed to bring this module up to date. This topic is about the unusual difficulty experienced peculiar to a “Live” system spanning multiple time zones when attempting to update the SD Sales Order history in Cash Management.

Essentially, the data setup activity is easy to perform in its entirety. In this case, barring the ensuing difficulty, all programs execute successfully without any problems.

However, because of a table dependency, a difficulty arises in determining a date and time when users and background programs that most likely affect the update are dormant i.e. after hours, asleep or on a weekend day.

An important consideration is the implied locality of the system clock when specifying the kick-off date and time.

As long as the table “VBAK” is in use, even for display, the SD history program is terminated with the following message “Object requested is currently locked by user XXXXX”. The reference to “VBAK” is given when drilling down on the applicable message line in the job log of the program.

It is possible that there is a SAP Note with details of overcoming this shortfall.

Background: Retrospective Update of Business Data
Programs are available according to selections made (i.e. Sales Data, Purchasing Data, etc.) in the “console” transaction “FDFD” from the “Data Setup” sub screen. The selected programs are scheduled to run in sequence in a precedessor/successor jobs package with each being launched upon completion or cancellation of its predecessor.
These programs are as follows:
RFFDDL00 Program for Deleting Cash Mgt Data from FI/MM/SD/TR
RFFUEB00 Copy G/L Bank Account Balances to the Cash Position
RFFDKU00 Transfer Open Item Accounts to Cash Management
RFFDSD10 Reorganize Cash Management Data from SD
RFFDMM10 Transfer from Purchase Orders into Cash Mgmt and Forecast
RFFDMM20 Copy Purchase Requisitions to Cash Management
This topic refers to RFFDSD10.

Screen Shots