Month: October 2014

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The Proximity IPad App

Hello everyone.  I apologize for the inconsistency lately in my posts.  Between soul searching and planning, I haven’t been as diligent as I’d like.  Today I’m looking for your feedback.  About 9 months ago, we created this cool IPad app for the Production Supervisor.  My problem is that I haven’t really received much feedback on it.  I would really love to hear what you think of this application.  Is it easy enough to use?  do you like the layout?  you like the interface?

Proximity Production Supervisor

The driving force behind my request is that I’m in the early stages of designing an application for Field Service.  I’m planning on following the same sort of look and feel, but if it’s junk, or could be improved, I’d really love to hear about it before I start investing more cash in my next app.

BTW.  if you’re interested in connecting to a live system, email me at and I’ll give you the address and user/password to try it out.

I really appreciate your feedback and thanks for reading,

Dealing with Setbacks

I’m not gonna lie.  I’m disappointed that things haven’t gone better this year for the software side of the business.  The bright side is that consulting has been good for me this year, and has been able to keep funding my dream of the software business.  This doesn’t change the fact that sales aren’t where I wanted or even expected them to be yet.  Which unfortunately always comes back to the big question…  “Am I doing the right thing?”

So for me, this question is especially tough to answer.  I’ve been working on this dream for going on 8 years nows (In one form or another).  Looking back at all the time, energy, late nights, and of course cash that I’ve sunk into this dream, it’s incredibly hard to consider giving it up.  On top of everything else, for those of you that know me, you know that I have a VERY hard time giving up.  My personality tends to be the brute force, keep working, try harder, learn a new skill, and everything will work.  However, I just found out that my business partner has to step away, and I can’t blame him.  However, that does mean that it’s back to just me to fund the business, and drive the sales, contact the prospects, schedule the conferences and determine what I can afford to keep doing.

So right now, I’m initially going into cost saving mode.  I’m looking for ways to trim my expenses, and do a real analysis of what I need to be doing.  But anytime something like this happens, it’s not question yourself.  After all, I’d been trying this for a long time, maybe it’s just not meant to be.  I guess self doubt is a natural part of the game…  now, how to decipher if it’s just a little bit of self pity, or if it is reality hitting me on the head with a 2×4 🙂  I guess only time will tell.

But have no fear.  I intend to keeping putting out my ramblings and tidbits here on my blog, and I think I’m on track for a mid-November release date of my E-book.

Thanks for reading,

Third Party Configuration – Account Assignment Category

I recently learned something new, so I thought I’d pass it onto you.  When you deal with third party items, you usually need to control where the dollars are supposed to flow to the purchasing side of things.  Well, with a little digging, I figured out the configuration steps required to do it. This could get long, so I’ll probably break this into a couple of pieces.  This first piece is the Account Assignment Category.  if you are like me, you’ve seen this field in the schedule lines, but never really paid any attention to it.  Well, now I understand the value.


First, here is where you go to in configuration.


From here, you can see the different out of the box account assignment types.  In my example, X was the default.  I was having trouble getting the correct account until I came to look at the next piece of configuration.


Then like magic, I found the field I’d been looking for.

Acct Modification – this field VAX is the missing key I needed to assign the accounts.  It’s also the way to make new keys, so if you want one item category to point to warranty, and one to be billed, this is the start of how to configure that.

in addition, you can determine if you want to perform a goods receipt into inventory, or if the item is purely service related.


One more step for today…  and that’s the next step in configuration.  And this one simply needs an entry for S and your account assignment category. If you don’t make a new category, you don’t even need to perform this step.

I’m not going to go into a super amount of detail here because I’m no MM expert, and I’ll cover this in more depth in my upcoming e-book.  If all goes according to plan, I hope to publish this by mid-November.

Thanks for reading,

Managing the Workload

Well, things are going along pretty well, but I recently took a look at all of the outstanding work I wanted done.  Several key pieces, I had slotted to complete before year end, so I could get them certified by SAP.  Well, it seems the calender has got away from me, and I’m creeping into the end of October already.  Now this isn’t the end of the world, and there is plenty of time, but for the first time ever, I have help doing this development work.  This is a GREAT thing, unfortunately, it means that several objects that I want to add pieces to are already under construction with one of my contractors.  My good friend Jer warned me about this, but I thought I’d have more time before it actually impacted me.

So, why am I writing about this today?  first and foremost, it is essential to have systems in place to help you manage what is going on, and who is working on it.  Now, I’m still small, so this can all be managed with a simple spreadsheet.  And Thankfully, this has helped to stop me from jumping right into my next idea, since if I did, I’d end up getting either my work, or my contractor’s work overwritten when it got combined.  So, what do I currently track:

  • Specification number & description – for those of you who are non-techy, this is just the “thing you want done”
  • what’s the status of spec – a great reminder for me if I haven’t written the spec yet.
  • Who is the developer
  • what status is the change in
  • Main object touched
  • Priority of the list

So today’s advice, is to make sure you track (and look at that tracking sheet) before you jump into something.  Don’t fall into the trap that I tend to fall into.  “I’m too small to need to worry about that yet”.  Once you have more than I person doing the same job, you need something to properly manage the workload.  You might just save yourself a big headache.  Now, I still have the challenge of getting everything done, but that’s for another time.

thanks for reading,

Writing an E-book – Thinking ahead

Well, as many of you know, I’ve really been focusing a lot of time on writing an this e-book for SAP Service Management.  I was extremely excited, because I thought I was nearly done, ready to start publishing and be able to refer to myself as the “the guy who wrote the book on SAP SM”.  Well, it seems I didn’t do my homework very well.  Now, I did finish all the content for my book, and I even gave it a first round of editing, proofreading, and found a couple sections that I missed.  But, where I dropped the ball was some of the basic things needed to publish a book.

1. A Title ( you may have seen my previous post asking for feedback).

2. A cover – as I found out as soon as I started looking to publishing on Amazon, iBooks, etc. is that you need a cover.  It sounds to simple…  but since I’m the furthest thing from artistically gifted, means I need help with this.  Unfortunately, my favorite graphic artist is booked solid.  So now I have no choice but to delay my publishing.

Now, this isn’t the end of the world, but after spending time off and on over the past year…  I was ready to release this baby.  And now I find out I’m on hold, because I didn’t do my due diligence on what was required in order to publish an e-book.

Live and learn, and as always, I hope you learn from my mistakes and get those pieces started early.

Thanks for reading,

The New E-Book, Step 2

I’m not gonna lie, I’m feeling pretty good.  Over the weekend, I finally wrapped up all the content I plan to use in my E-book.  That being said, I now have to move my effort over to the next phase, getting it published.  While I have no aspirations to go with a formal publisher, I do plan on getting it into the Amazon store and iBooks platforms.  While I know that I’ll lose a big chunk of any revenue by publishing there, this book is more about exposure and being able to say “I wrote the book on SAP Service Management”, and be able to prove it 🙂

Now the first thing I found that I need to focus on is getting a cover made for my book.  I did some homework and found that you have to have a colorful cover (ie no gray scale).  So I’m off on the next step of putting together my cover for the book.  As it turns out, there are some rules about this including size, color and content.  Nothing that should impact me too much, but still, another hurdle.  So off to figure out my cover.

Thanks for reading,

Coming up with a title. Not as Easy as it looks

Well, I was starting to work on designing a cover, when it hit me, it’s hard to have a cover until you know your title.  I’ve had an original working title for a while, but it’s pretty boring.  However, since this is a How-To book, maybe boring is ok…  but i doubt it.  So today, I’m asking for your help.  I’d love to hear your ideas on a good title for this book.  Keep in mind, my plan is publish on my website, as well as in amazon, iBooks, etc…  so it needs to be something that people will find.

My book is a how to guide on configuring SAP Service Management.  I walk through many of the pieces of configuration, explain what you need to do to get Service Management up and running quickly.  IN addition, I cover all the advanced pieces, so when you have things configured, you can start tweaking.  I even cover the questions you should ask during blueprinting, and some advanced topics.  So, here are some of the “working titles” I’ve come up.  Let me know if you think one of these is a winner, or you might have a great spin on something already in there.  Here’s my thoughts in no particular order.

  1. How to Configure SAP Service Management the quick and easy way.
  2. Configuring SAP Service Management, A How-To Guide
  3. SAP Service Management: Your guide to a quick implementation
  4. Setting up SAP Service Management
  5. The Consultant’s Guide to SAP Service Management
  6. SAP Service Management from A to Z
  7. Everything you ever wanted to know about SAP Service Management, but didn’t know who to ask.
  8. Getting Started in SAP Service Management

Looking forward to your feedback,

Thanks for reading,

Running VL10 in the background

Well, I recently found out that it’s not as simple as I thought.  The idea is in my test system, I wanted to create some deliveries in the background.  Seemed easy, at least that’s what I thought, until I played with it for a while and just couldn’t get it to do anything beyond showing me the list of deliveries.  Finally, I reached out to an old friend, and he pointed me to OSS note 310022.  Now, if you have questions, you can also refer to that note, but I’ll do my best to walk you through what you need to do.

Call Transaction VL10CUA for maintenance of the user roles.


Now, I just picked 5001 to copy.  Branch to the detail view of the user role and change the entry for
the F-code profile from “Display delivery list” to “Supply delivery


Be sure to change the change this one value.

Next, Call the desired Transaction VL10* and branch to the “User role” tab page. Do not use Transaction SE38 or VL10BATCH for variant maintenance of VL10*.  MY personal favorite is VL10G, but any of them will work.

Here, enter the user role that you have maintained for background processing.
Caution! If you use a user role with an F-code profile for the immediate creation of deliveries, you receive no dialog with a shipping due list but the deliveries are created immediately at the start of the selection!

Please note, if the user tab is grayed out, you will need to go to transaction VL10CU and make sure you check the box for allow assignment.  in VL10G, I needed to add this check box to 0003.


Now press save or branch to your variant and then you use VL10BATCH to schedule it.  and you are ready to go.

Thanks for reading,


Warranty Claims – Dealing with a Vendor Warranty

Thanks to all of you that have commenting on some of posts.  I recently got a comment that I figured would be better to do a post on, rather than just answer the question.  It’s interesting, because the question that came up seems like it would be pretty standard, yet I haven’t run into the actual scenario before.  The scenario is that I have a part with a vendor warranty.  The part comes back to me, I fix it and return it to the customer.   then I need to invoice the vendor for my repair since it was under their warranty.

Initially, when I looked at this scenario, I thought I could avoid the warranty claims altogether.  I was hoping for a simple credit memo generated from the repair line.  But you can’t change the partners here since it’s a sub-line item.  If it were me, I would want to maintain the history, so keeping my document flow together is ideal, maybe even critical depending on the business needs.  This leaves me with 2 options.

The first option is what I’ll call the quick and dirty method.  This process will have gaps that might cause headaches, but it depends on how often this occurs, and of course the terms of the warranty.  This process would be to create a credit memo request with reference to repair sales order.  Now, in the copy control, you’ll first need to allow this.  You may even consider generating a new document type specifically for vendor reimbursement.  Now, the gotcha’s begin to happen when you need to work with a  vendor, that may or may not have a corresponding customer master to assign to the document.  If you’re lucky, there is a customer master, and then this process will work for the easy stuff.  Now, the issues will arise when your credit memo to the vendor doesn’t match what they will reimburse.  Say for example, they only reimburse parts, but not labor.  If you invoice for the full amount, they may reject parts, forcing you to cancel documents, or make changes and then reissue the document, just to get paid.  In addition, you will want to make sure you assign the technical object to the credit memo request to make sure the serial number history is maintained.  As you can see, there quite a few places for this process to go wrong.  However, in a small shop where this doesn’t happen often, this may be a viable solution.

The alternative solution I’d implement is using Warranty Claims.  Now, the problem with claims is that they can be complicated and master data intensive.  But it will give you the greatest amount of flexibility and reporting.  (keep in mind, I haven’t configured this, so I apologize if miss something).  I would implement a post-crediting scenario.  I would send the reimburse the details of labor/materials/etc. along with the total amount I want to reimbursed.  Now, you won’t need to worry about interacting with the customer who owns the product.  They will deal with you through the standard return and repair scenario in SAP (since you probably already have a notification, be sure to attach it to the initial claim to be sure you maintain traceability).  If you look at my original post on warranty claims for beginners, this scenario will only need to be configured with version 2 & 3 shown in that post.  So when you configure the scenario, you don’t need to worry about the version 1 & 4, since you don’t need to deal with the customer, this is purely a reimbursement from the vendor to you.  You could go the full way, but I don’t believe it’s needed to accomplish everything needed for this scenario.

Some things to remember, each vendor must be assigned a customer master (just the way this works).  And those customers must be assigned the AS partner type to make them eligible for claims processing.  You won’t be able to avoid this master data setup.

I’ll be sure to prototype this before I finish writing my book on Warranty Claims 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Making First Impressions

Now, it’s funny, because this past weekend I had a perfect example of what not to do.  I was getting some new carpet for my Mom’s basement, and I needed someone to come in and do an install.  So, we had a guy recommended to us, so we called him up.  Very friendly, very personable, not very punctual.  So here’s a guy coming in for the first time, and he shows up 4 hours late.  Ok, that’s already less than ideal.  Then, he’s looking around, asking questions, and next up he starts up trash talking a company I had do some work previously at our place.

Now, there is just so much wrong with this first impression, it’s amazing.  First off, do what you say.  If say you’re going to show up between 8:30 and 9:00 AM, show up at 8:31.  Don’t call back at 9:30, say you’ll be there in an hour, and then show up 2.5 hours later.  It is just so obvious, but apparently, not everyone got the memo.  For most of you out there, I’m sure you don’t need to hear this…  but it’s still a good reminder.

Next up, talking about the competition.  Now, first off, never trash talk another business.  Follow that golden rule… “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  It really is that simple.  You don’t have to like your competition, but you should respect them.  After all, they are in business and if you don’t do well enough, they will start to take your business.  If you keep doing your best, then you have nothing to worry about.  But let me tell you, listening to someone badmouth a company I did business with, spent a lot of money, and was happy with their work, really left me a bit defensive.

Now, the bad thing for me is that my time was limited, so I still chose to go with this person.  I’m hoping his work is good, and he can reprieve himself from my initial bad impression of him.  Anyway, learn from this experience…  do what you say you will do, and don’t badmouth anyone.

Thanks for reading,