One of the most common phrases within an implementation project is: “Fail to plan and you plan to fail”.
I am sure you have all heard this a hundred times. Hopefully you hear this at the start of the project as the project manager rallies the troops at the kick off meeting at the start of the scoping of the solution. If the first time you hear this is at the end of the project, or even in the project “debrief” session, then normally something has gone wrong.
With these famous words in mind when I approach a FSCM Dispute Management implementation I ensure the following three steps are carried out:
Before you can start to scope out a potential SAP FSCM Dispute Management solution you need to map out the “as-is” processes. Now this is sometimes overlooked as clients and implementers argue that if Disputes are not currently logged in SAP how can you map the “as-is” process? However I would disagree with this and counter by stating that if a client is interested in Dispute Management it will be because their customers raise disputes. Normally they would be handled outside of SAP in Excel spreadsheets or a paper based solution. To understand where you want to go, it is important to know where you currently are. Further to this, the real benefit is to identify current pain points in the solution, so they can be addressed in the future “to-be” solution.
It is widely acknowledged that reporting criteria can be seen as an after thought during an implementation. To maximise the benefits of a SAP FSCM Dispute Management implementation it is imperative that the reporting of disputes is considered and agreed during the scoping phase. To crystallise this point, consider that there is a part of your current “to-be” process that is deemed to be inefficient. To measure the success of your implementation, it is important that you can measure the difference or benefit achieved after implementing the solution. So, for example if you had a timing issue within your process for resolution of price queries, as the paper work had to be posted to the plant manager, if you automated this solution, you would want to measure what TRUE benefit you achieved. It could be as simple as previously it took 18 days for a price query to be resolved before implementing SAP FSCM Dispute Management, and after your implementation it will take 6 days. This measure can demonstrate back to the business true benefits that have been realised by implementing SAP FSCM Dispute Management. By agreeing the reporting and measure you plan to use with the implementation, you identify the key fields that need to be in the solution.
The last step to action is to map out the new “to-be” process for disputes. As you now have a baseline of where you currently are, you should be able to identify where benefits can be made by amending the current process and performing the tasks within SAP. Further to this when designing the new process it is important to utilise part of the current process that now add benefit and try and use the SAP FSCM Dispute Management functionality to provide a solution that is unique to your client to maximise the business benefit.
The key to this methodology is that it allows the project team to clearly state what business benefits the implementation of SAP FSCM Dispute Management will be. By clearly stating that a key objective of the project is to reduce the dispute resolution time from 18 days to 6 days will enable clear financial business benefits to provide the Project Sponsor full confidence of the implementation team. Project Sponsor’s can be bought into the business need to move an offline process into SAP, however one of the things they can struggle with is being able to quantify the financial benefit.
So before you rush into a SAP FSCM Dispute Management Implementation that quickly covers the scope of the implementation ensure you cover off the 3 M’s.