Month: July 2015

Home / 2015 / July (Page 2)

Independence Day…

As it was just the 4th of July, I can’t help thinking about the complete deception we give ourselves.  Please indulge me my occasional world outlook.  🙂  When you looked back at the fight for independence our forefathers fought to provide us.  The idea was to make us free from England.  The funny thing is that there will always be a master.  When we declared ourselves free from set of masters, it simply creates a void that will quickly be filled by the next willing master.  In our case, it was our own government, that our forefathers work so hard to keep simple, unobtrusive, and supposedly designed to protect our liberties.

The sad truth of it all, is that it seems most people long for that control.  While we claim to be the land of the free, we are quickly giving away all of our liberty in exchange for “security”.  or so we tell ourselves.   Good old Ben Franklin said it best “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”  Well, between the random wars, police actions, and conflicts we force our way into, all in the name of security, it should be painfully obvious that  security dwindles as quickly as liberty.

So please, remember that the struggle for liberty is not a republican thing, it’s not a thing…  it’s a personal thing.  So I hope you still want you liberty.  If so…  just pay attention to how easily it keeps being handed over willingly.  Just watch the news with a different perspective.  Put your political beliefs aside for a week.  If you truly look at everything in an unbiased fashion, it will incredibly obvious (and should be painful).  Step one is the realization.

Going back to one of my favorite movies, Red Pill or Blue Pill.

Thanks for reading,

Service Order – Using the Document Flow

Now in my opinion, one of the greatest things that SAP has added into the system is document flow.  this is especially true for SM.  If you’re new to SM or SD, you might not be all that familair with using document flow.  If you’ve ever visited an SD or SM document, you’ve most certainly seen this weird little icon:  .  If you plan to do anything in either of these areas of SAP, you’ll quickly realize it is your best friend.

Document flow in SAP is simply the connection to all of the preceding/follow-on documents.  In the in house service scenario, a type document flow may look something like this:

You’ll notice that in this picture I was able to see notification, the repair sales order, the inbound delivery, the outbound delivery, the invoice, and any other SD related documents.  What you also may have noticed is the distinct lack of the service order, but there is a service documents button.

Unfortunately, in the design of document flow and the table structure for capturing this, the service documents were neglected in the initial design, so the Service Documents button I believe was an afterthought.  It’s still better than nothing, and I’ll give you some tips for making the best of it.

The first big thing you need to know is, if you’re starting at an SD document (delivery, sales order etc. ) be sure to click once on the sales order (make sure it’s highlighted, and you’re good).  then press the service documents button.  This will bring up a new screen showing the service order and any of it’s related documentation.

One of the other issues I’ve encountered with document flow is the inability to see sub-service orders in the documentation.  The only way to see if there are sub service orders is to drill into the service order, and look for the structure button

You will then need to click this button to see the sub service orders.  You can then drill into the order and see it’s individual document flow.  As a follow-on to this topic, if you have a complicated doc flow, for example…


Service Order (for quoting) – Repair Sales Order
     Service order
          Sub Service Order
          Sub Service Order
Inbound Delivery
Outbound Delivery


Now with a structure like this, you again, won’t be able to see everything depending on where in the structure you are at.  For example, if start at the service order (for quoting), you won’t be able to see the actual service order used for repair.  Instead, you’ll have to navigate to the notification, and then you’ll be able to see the structure below the notification, including the repair sales order.  The way the documents are laid out above, shows kind of how SAP structures them.  Since it is a pseudo parallel path, you have to work your way up to a common document before you can see the next path.  In this example, the notification is that common document.

There is a another big thing to remember when dealing with service.  You have to turn on the document flow for many of the items.  For example, purchase reqs, material transfer, etc. must be turned on before they will generate items in the document flow.  I HIGHLY encourage you to make sure these are turned on.  Not seeing the purchase reqs, or materials issued to a service order makes your job as a troubleshooter FAR more challenging.

Now that’s the basics of document flow, and if you’re not already using it, get familiar.  For me, it’s personally one of the best tools offered in the SD/SM module.

Thanks for reading,

Check out the new Website

I have to say, I’m pretty excited.  this new website is truly light years ahead of my old one.  Tuesday night I officially changed over to a whole new look and feel.  I would really love to hear your feedback.  If you have a few minutes, stop by, read a little, and maybe comment on your thoughts.  Feel free to respond to this post, or email me directly:

thanks a lot, and I can’t wait to hear what you think,

Installations in SAP – Project Systems vs Service Management

I got a request from a consultant friend of mine.  He was wondering about the best way to capture costs of installations.  In my experience, there are 2 very different ways of handling this, and much of it is related to the size/complexity of the installations and the amount of data you are willing to maintain in order to accomplish this.  Let me talk a little about the 2 methods.  In the end, both are great, but you should be able to look at the situation and decide which one fits your needs best.  Now, my quick disclaimer.  I am by no means a PS expert.  There quite probably many things I’m leaving out of the discussion, and I encourage you to talk to a PS expert if you think you need to go down that path :).

1. Project Systems.  This method is typically reserved for large installation (in my opinion).  The nature of project systems is that there is a lot of functionality, but there is also a lot of data to maintain in order to use it.  In PS, you can have multiple different cost collectors, full project tracking, production orders, service orders, purchase orders, etc.  all of these things traceable inside of a network/WBS.  I recommend this approach for anything that is large and may require any sort of planning functionality (for example, planning multiple service technicians, material reciepts, contractors, etc…).  Most importantly, if you need to track it like a project, it should be a project.  As far as costs/price go, usually resource related billing is used to track this since it is often a time and materials type activity.

2.  Service Management.  this is method is gonna be  the down and dirty method.  It’s a single service order (with the ability to make some sub service orders if you so desire).  It will still allow you to plan components and operations, but from a simple order structure.  You use this approach typically for anything small that doesn’t require a full project plan to coordinate (or if you want to do the project planning in MS Project and that’s good enough for your purposes).   The installation service order can be spawned directly from a sales order.  You can still use resource related billing for the cost/price determination in the sales order.

In my experience, the biggest thing you lose between SM and PS is the reporting and scheduling functionality.  PS is far superior in this respect, but if it’s overkill for your needs, you can get by with a much more simple approach in using the service order.

I hope this sheds some light on the differences.

Thanks for reading,

Sales – Implicit vs. Explicit Needs

I recently listened to an audio book, another addition from Jeff, called SPIN selling.  The idea is Situation-Problem-Implication-Need Payoff is a way of selling.  One of the biggest take aways I got from the book is that selling big things is a lot different than selling little things.  I did a post that talked about closing not being the answer.  Well needs is the step you need to focus on instead of closing.  Here’s the idea.  Every customer has a problem… if they don’t, well, you might as well move on.  But just having a problem isn’t a enough.  Just because someone says “my car doesn’t get very good gas mileage”, doesn’t mean they are going to jump right up and go buy a new car.  Yes, they have a problem, but problems aren’t necessarily needs.  At least not directly.

This is where the needs conversation begins.  First, your customer must have a NEED for solution.  If they have a need, you have a chance.  This comes to the concept of implicit needs vs. explicit needs.  I’m still working all of this through my head (but as you may have noticed, I tend to think better after writing some stuff down), but the idea is that an implicit need is more like a problem statement while an explicit need tips over to the want or desire category.

Let me illustrate.  If we go back to the “bad gas mileage” example.  Simply stating that the car gets bad mileage is an implicit need.  Now, as soon as someone says, I need a car with better gas mileage, you have now jumped over to an explicit need.  It’s very subtle, but just admitting that you want or need something, buts you into a buying position.  Being a man and being an engineer, I often miss this subtle difference, especially when I listen to my wife talk about all the things that would be “nice to have”, like a new deck, a mansion on the water etc.  I need to manually flip the switch in my brain to not panic…  it’s just an implicit need.  Now, as soon as my wife starts talking about buying a boat, I know without a doubt it’s an “explicit need” at least in her mind.

Now, this applies in normal life as much as sales.  Pay attention to difference the next time you talk to friends or family.  See if you notice the difference.  it’s pretty cool when you can start to notice the difference.

Thanks for reading,