Variant Configuration – Balancing Options vs. Maintenance

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Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the “theory” of variant configuration.  I use the term loosely, because, well, everyone has their own theory.  I guess that’s why it isn’t a law 🙂  One of the struggles I encounter over and over again is clients that want to use the variant configurator to handle 100% of the options for a product.  Without a doubt, the first place I learned VC was still one of the most solid implementations I’ve ever seen.  But ever there, the line would occasionally get blurred.

Let me walk you through what I mean.  Whenever I walk into a VC project, I go in with the expectation of being able to handle 80% of the product options.  Some places more, some less, but it all depends on the complexity.  For example, let’s just say you have an option that is order twice a year, but it works like everything else.  It’s just a simple option, no complex logic, so in my mind, it’s a no brainer, add it and probably never sell it, but life isn’t any harder from a maintenance perspective.

Now, we take the flip side.  We have an option that gets order let’s just say 12 times a year.  But this option has a lot of extra rules built around when it can be picked, what it can be used with, complicated BOM components dependent on multiple things.  Well, now what do you say?  if it’s me, I try to push back saying it should be a special.  What’s a special Mike???  Well, very simple.  It’s a standard part number in the system, you can even copy the BOM rules from VC to get everything else right.  But you keep that stuff out of the VC.  “But why?  VC can handle it?”

While that statement is technically true, VC can handle most anything.  What becomes the defining factor is the increased logic that all the simple things now have to work around, along with the time to “decipher” what is happening every time a new option gets added, or something simple changes.  That costs time, money, and even processing speed.  For a “possible” 12 orders, that just as easily could have become standard part numbers.

Now everyone will take their own stance on this, and everyone is probably right…  for their scenario.  I’m just telling you from my standpoint, specials should be special…  standards should be VC 🙂

Thanks for reading,

As always, thanks for reading and don't forget to check out our SAP Service Management Products at my other company JaveLLin Solutions,

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