Month: April 2014

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The difference a year can Make – our Tradeshow evolution

Well, year 2 at the SAP Logistics/SCM/MFG conference was a dramatic improvement.  Some of the key things we found.

1. Swag – you have to do it.  Despite the ethics of “I only want people to talk to me if they are interested in my solutions”.  It turns out this approach is an epic fail.  By having slinkies and bags, we instantly had people stopping by, and would talk to us, sometimes finding they did have a need.  At a bare minimum, it gave us an opening to talk to people.

2. A real booth makes all the difference – Take a look at my last post to see the before and after.  Let’s just say, looking real gives people a lot more security in your solution.

3.  Having people.  Last year, Mike and I did it all ourselves.  This year, we brought 3 extra people, and let me tell you, it made all the difference in the world, especially during the busy times.

4.  Location, location, location – it’s just like real estate.  Mike ended up picking one of the best spots in in the tradeshow.  We ended up on a corner, facing a pair of rooms used by speakers and presentation…  so everytime people came out of the class, they walked past our booth.  Talk about a boost for a relatively unknown company.

5.  Running into old colleagues – while this isn’t something you can control, connecting with people is a whole lot easier when you have a history.  Especially, if you really did good things while you worked together.  I was able to reconnect with great contacts.

Now, we move onto the next phase…  utilizing all of the contacts we collected… more to come as I continue to decompress 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Making the Move to Legitimacy

It’s amazing the difference that one year makes.  We attended the SAP MFG conference in Vegas last year and had less than stellar results.  To give you an idea of what happened, let me give you the before and after pictures..
2013-03-04 14.36.34

So, this look and feel works for a small regional show.  In general, it gives a good folksy feel. Not what I wanted to project at the big show.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Those of you that know that me know that I’m not the flashy type.  I’m very straightforward, down to earth, and certainly a bit on the geeky side (I love my woot shirts).  But I digress.  Now, lets fast forward one year….

20140401-2 20140401-1

Notice, the distinct upgrades of the booth itself.  We have a real backdrop, a little podium, and we weren’t hiding behind a table like someone taking orders, afraid to mingle with the crowd.  Now the other thing to really notice, we have people.  A special thanks to Bob Auman, Amy Opheim and Dave Delaney who came out and helped us man the booth.  With their help, we projected an air of legitamacy.   Last year, we were 2 guys sitting at a table, this year, we were 5 people floating around, meeting, greeting and having fun.

What a difference a year makes,

Thanks for reading,

Variant Configuration – Implementing ECM

Best approach for implementing ECM on a VC model for the initial push to production.

  1. Create ECM in production client
  2. ALE from Production Client to Dev client
  3. ALE all components from Dev to Production Client using ECM.
  4. Do not maintain any components with ECM in the Dev client.
  5. Maintain all models in production using the change number, or create new change numbers for each change.

Let me go into more details.  For step 1, the ECN must exist in the target system before any ALE is processed.  This allows every object to be instantly placed under engineering change management.  The only exception will be table structures and function structures (they don’t have the option of ECM).  In addition, routings, reference operation sets, etc do not need to be placed under engineering change management, but it is highly encouraged.  This will be based on your business rules and what is commonly done in your organization.

In order to perform certain ALE steps, the change number must exist in the source system.  It does not need to be assigned to any objects, but for the ALE transaction (like BD91 or BD92) you will need to have the change number exist in both the target and the source.


Now, to demonstrate, I used a test system to create a characteristic without ECM.  Then I’m going to make a change to the cstic and place it under ECM.  I created TEST_CSTIC and gave it values 001, 002, 003

Then I created the change number: 500000000000

Went back to TEST_CSTIC and added 004.

I then created 2 dependencies to reference this characteristic.  The first one under ECM at creation, and the second created without ECM, and then placed under ECM.  I was still able delete a value from the characteristic despite the dependency existing at 00/00/0000.  Keep in mind, the system is far more likely to give you grief when you don’t have everything under ECM control at initial creation.  There are OSS notes to be found that talk about cleaning up items without ECM, but if you can avoid the hassles, I strongly encourage it J  Happily, as of EHP4, it seems that SAP has cleaned up the integration with change numbers if they are applied after the fact, but this could quickly change once it’s connected to multiple items with mix and match ECM.

Here is something to be aware of when doing a drop down search.  You will see this behavior in searching in some transactions, like object dependencies.


Look closely at ECM_TEST_2.  It’s the same dependency, but it shows once without the change number that has the 00/00/0000 date, and again after the change number was applied.  Based on the date you enter in CU03, you can see both versions.  In previous version of SAP, this could cause issues trying to remove or delete items that existed in the 00/00/0000 date from, but from my testing in the EHP4 system, these issues appear to be resolved.

Regardless, it is still advisable to initially create all objects with ECM.  If you don’t do this with the ALE, you will need to manually make a change to every object with a change number in order to lock it down and prevent changes from occurring without ECM.

I have had to do this before and I typically use Gui Scripting to make a minor description change or add a comment.  It’s not pretty, but it can be done.


Warranty Claims – Copy Control – Assign Copy Procedures to Claim Type

Figured I better finish off these section of configuration before I get sidetracked again J  So today we’re still talking about Warranty Claims, Copying control.  Today we will go over the Assign Copy Procedures to Claim Types.


Again, go to OWTY to find this configuration, and you’ll see where to get to this menu.


Beyond this, it’s pretty straightforward.  For each claim type and vervion type, you can select the copy procedure you want to use.  In addition, there are a few extra check marks:


You can control copying prices separately for the item types MAT, FR and SUBL.  We will talk more about these in a future post when we start talking about items.  For now, just know that you can control what prices should be copied.

That’s it, nice and easy.
Thanks for reading,

Warranty Claims – Copy Control – Define Copy Procedures

Well, with all the preparation for the SAP SCM and Logistics conference, it’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to do some warranty claims stuff.  I had some time on the airplane, so what better time to give you something SAP related again.  Don’t worry, I’ll be giving you the low down on the conference soon, just as soon as I have time to figure it all out myself 🙂

Today I wanted to talk about the warranty claims, and this time around I’m going to talk about the Copying control.  Today I’ll cover the Define Copy Procedure (tomorrow I’ll do the assignment).


Now, as always, I like to show you where to find this.  So go to OWTY, and here you can find the menu to get here.


Now, we get to the screen.  The important thing to recognize is that everything is copied except for what you define here.  Being the purest that I am, I always think you should create your own version.  For today, I’ll just show you C1.

The check boxes on the initial screen work as follows:

  • NotCopyLTH = Do not Copy Long Text in Warranty Claim Header
  • NotCopyLTV = Do not Copy Long text of Warranty Claim Version
  • NotCopyLTI = Do not Copy Long Text of Warranty Claim Item

Beyond that, not much here.  Next we drill down to the fields not to be copied.


In this section, you will need one line for each field to exclude.  Notice that first you must select the table:


Then you can select your field.

For Claim Header you get all the following fields available:

For the Claim Version you these fields:


For Claim Item you get these fields:

Simply keep adding new entries until you have excluded everything you want from the copy function.  That’s it.
Thanks for reading,

Marketing – Using LinkedIn

Well, I recently found a new company, SBS, who specializes in using LinkedIn to better market myself and my business.  So far it’s been good .  Like everything, the true test is if we get any qualified leads of out it…  which hasn’t happened yet.  However, I have almost tripled the number of connections I have on linkedIn, and my number of views of my pages has gone up exponentially.  But the real question comes down to what does really get me.

Marketing is one of those areas that comes slowly to an engineer like myself.  While I see the value, the struggle comes with how much do I invest.  At the end of the day, it all about leads, which haven’t materialized yet.  My profile is light years ahead of where it was at, and I certainly have learned a few things about who to market myself to (I mentioned this in the past) and how to better market myself.  I’m contemplating moving up to the next level of getting a video presentation on my linkedIn profile.  My dilemma is the cost associated with this.

My question to all of you…  how much time do you spend on linkedIn?  do you ever look for software out there?  new technology?  or is it just a recruitment site?  I’d love to hear your opinions.  My marketing dollars are very valuable (because we have so few of them as a small business), and I’d love to get some feedback on your experiences.

As always, Thanks for reading,

Networking – A new trick

Well, I just learned new trick connecting my virtual server to the internet.  It’s crazy, because I’ve been struggling with this for months, and randomly I tried something new.  If you’ve ready my previous post about connecting your virtual server to the outside world, you know the steps I started with.  Well, I’ve had one system that no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t connect.  Well, it turns out that inside of my virtual server, the firewall was blocking my attempts at connecting to SAP.

Well, if you go into your network adapter (keep in mind, my screenshots are using Windows 2003 Server), but you’ll get the idea.


Go to the advanced tab for your network properties.


Press the settings button.


Go to the exceptions tab (please note, if you get a message after pressing the setting button, you don’t have the firewall active, so this isn’t your problem.
Press the add program button.
Enter in the description for the GUI port and HTTP port that you wish to allow access to your SAP system.

now, head outside of your virtual machine and attempt to connect to your web gui, or standard gui.  If you did all the steps from my other post, you should be able to connect to your system 🙂
Thanks for reading,

Networking – The bane of my existence

Well, what can I say, except I hate the whole networking world lately.  Talk about a royal pain.  My new server was up and running like a dream for a while.  Then suddenly a couple weeks ago, my wireless card kept randomly disconnecting.  Of course, it happens when I go out of town.  Murphy’s law at it’s finest.  So I have my lovely wife try restarting the server.  Things seem fine, then I try to connect again an hour later, no connection.

So, I get home, spend a couple of long nights experimenting, playing, and just randomly beating my head against the wall.  I finally stumble along the issue.  Windows 8.1 doesn’t support my wireless network card yet.  Alright, so at least I have my culprit.  Not happy about it, but I have a place to start.

So I figure, I’ll just head over to Best Buy and buy myself a new card.  Not the end of the world.  I get it installed, things seem to be working alright.  I restart the system and head out to a hockey game.  I come back, the damn thing won’t work.  Now it’s a hardware issues since the light won’t even turn on in any of my systems.  Great…  so finally, go to my last resort of the Ethernet cable.  It’s the most stable, but of course, my office isn’t close to the Ethernet box.  So, now I have some extender coming (since my longest cable barely make it to the box, and it looks like I Have a tripwire in my office.  The good news, I finally have a working system that my colleagues, and most importantly, potential clients at the conference can connect to and try out our applications.  Who knew, something so simple could give me so many headaches 🙂

Thanks for reading,