The manufacturing of products always has one overall goal that prevails over the other goals: generating profits.
Therefore, it is anything but uncommon with manufacturing plants to adjust the products. You often want to fix bugs, optimize the product, or save costs by changing it to maximize your business profits.
When changes are made to the product with manufacturing companies, this has usually far-reaching consequences, even if it seems only a matter of small changes.
A request for making any changes submitted by the customer and/or by the company’s own product management department initiates a complex change process that extends over and includes all involved locations, plants, and specialist departments of the company, such as the Purchasing, Logistics, Product Management, Construction, and Production departments.
Once the change request submitted by the customer is forwarded to the manufacturing company, it is necessary to thoroughly check the effects this might have on both the production process and on material management.
Depending on the modifications made to the product, other materials or components might have to be purchased, new quantities might be required, it might be necessary to change the machine settings, and it is also possible that product catalogs have to be adjusted. The changes have to be thoroughly evaluated, approved, and finally documented in order to be able to inform the customer at any time.
SAP objects, such as bills of materials, may only be modified after approval has been completed.
The challenge in this case consists in involving and providing information to all the specialist departments involved. If changes are implemented prematurely, companies often make avoidable errors, some of which have fatal consequences. Such errors might lead to materials being impossible to purchase or being available only at significantly higher prices so that making changes to the product ultimately results in higher costs instead of maximizing the company’s profits.
Also, thorough implementation of the changes into the SAP system is often a problem. If, for example, changes to the material master file are not correctly updated in SAP, this might lead to the required materials, for example, not being procured in time or in the wrong quantities or to the materials being bought at excessive cost or even being ordered twice.
Many companies use tools like “Excel” to map the change process. However, this fails to do justice to the level of complexity resulting from a change process or to the duty of documentation. In addition, no adequate process transparency is achieved.
The use of a change management software program can help and make life easier for all the individuals involved.
It can serve as a useful supplement to the change management process in SAP for it maps the change process in SAP and coordinates it – from the change event via an evaluation from a technical and commercial point of view and the related approval to the adaptation of the change on the SAP system and/or the SAP MM (Material Management), SAP PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), or SAP PP (Production Planning) modules. A change management software program makes it possible to support change processes based on automated workflows. In this context, the following advantages play a particular role:
Reduced Error Susceptibility Thanks To Structured Change Management
With the help of the appropriate software program, the individual action steps that have to be taken during a change process are clearly defined. This way, it is ensured that no step is omitted and that changes will be implemented after both the inspection process and the approval process have been completed. This significantly reduces the risk of errors.
Transparency For All Departments Involved In The Change Process
The action steps included in the change management process are clearly documented. Any and all associated information, such as calculations or drawings, are stored in the SAP system, including the appropriate change number, so that media discontinuation and information gaps will be avoided and all individuals involved have the same level of knowledge.
Rapid Implementation Of Change Requests
Processes are not only clearly defined which means that they provide for transparency and a lower number of errors;
automatic coordination of departments in the change process also contributes to faster implementation of the change.
Cost Savings Through Software-Supported SAP Change Management
In conclusion, a change management software program makes it possible for you to obtain transparent, fast, and correct change processes that not only reduce unnecessary costs for your company because unnecessary errors are avoided, but that can also significantly simplify the every-day work of employees affected by this.
Flexible Change Management Processes in SAP
By using appropriate software programs, standard and individual processes can be easily displayed without the need for programming expertise and can be adapted at any time, whenever changes occur.