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An Experienced SAP Supply Chain Management Lead Shares Views on Implementations and Steps Toward Digital Transformation

by Muhammad Riaz Hussain Shan, SAP Lead (SCM, QM & PM) Lead, Sitara Chemical Industries Ltd.

December 24, 2019

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In this Q&A, Muhammad Riaz Hussain Shan, SAP Lead for supply chain, quality management, and plant maintenance at Sitara Chemical Industries Ltd, shares with SAPinsider some key emerging trends in 2019. He offers insights from lessons and tips from his SAP implementations as well as his views on digital transformation of supply chain processes and systems.

Q: What do you think the most interesting trends in the supply chain management area will be in 2019?

I think that one of the most interesting future trends in the supply chain management area will be to create an ‘Enterprise Intelligent Digital Framework (EIDF)’having end-to-end visibility, analytics and automated processes across all line of business.The processes involved will be real time, smarter, faster, and simpler to support the extended supply chain. EIDF will feature products and assets that have ease to design, plan, produce, deliver, and operate. EIDF will provide Complete, Cognitive, Connected, Compliant and Capablesolutionsin four main pillars of supply chain management i.e. customer centricity, individualized products, resource scarcity and the sharing economy.

Q: You implemented the SAP Quality Management module as part of an implementation of SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) 6.0 at Sitara Chemicals. Could you describe some of the challenges that your team faced during this implementation?

I think that a successful project implementation of SAP ERP is a valuable objective and we defeated all challenges with outstanding product and leadership. However, my team had to face some challenges during the implementation like shortage of resources, lack of staff training, problems in inter department coordination and internal resistance by employees to work on a new system. But the effect of all these challenges got minimized with implementing SAP best practices, using business expertise of process users and regularly conducting project review meeting for timely decision making.

Q: Did you have to check to be sure that your SAP Quality Management implementation complied with global regulations for the chemical industry or regulations specific to Pakistan?

SAP Quality Management module is designed in accordance with global standards and covers all requirements of every business. I am sure to say that QMS of every line of business is a subset of SAP Quality Management module. Although our implementation required compliance to global regulations for the chemical industry but SAP QM fulfilled all our requirements and customer needs. SAP ERP enables Sitara Chemicals to monitor, evaluate and control business processes much faster with continuous improvements. This allows to focus consistently meeting customer requirements and enhancing level of their satisfaction.

Q: You also were involved with an implementation of SAP Plant Maintenance in which you oversaw several stages, including migration of master data from legacy systems into SAP ECC 6.0. Did you encounter any issues with data that was found to be inaccurate or erroneous during the migration of the legacy data? If so, did this dirty data delay the implementation? What actions did you take to remedy the situation?

A data migration is an integral part of any successful ERP implementation. The Legacy System Migration Workbench (LSMW) is the preferred option for loading data into SAP ECC 6.0.Collection of data from legacy system was often found inaccurate / erroneous and had to be cleansed, profiled and validated according to SAP Plant Maintenance module. This was a big challenge and caused delays during data migration stage of implementation. However, SAP Business Suite and S/4HANA both On-premises and Private Cloud are introducing SAP Data Quality Management and micro-services. SAP Data Quality Management, micro-services embeds data cleansing and enrichment services within any business process or application with a selfservice, rightsized consumption mode.Also SAP S/4 HANA helps with remediation process to validate and correct erroneous data is big accomplishment.

Q: What are some lessons learned or best practices tips that you would recommend for someone who is just starting a similar implementation as the one you completed at Sitara Chemicals?

I recommend someone who is just starting a similar implementation that they start their journey with SAP latest release either on cloud or on-premise. The other important thing that companies planning to implement or upgrade an SAP ERP system should pay strict attention to system integration to save their SAP ERP implementation from failure. With system integration in place, data flows move completely and correctly among various SAP ERP components, thereby not only streamlining business processes but also eliminating or minimizing redundant data entry efforts.

Q: SAP just announced the general availability of SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1902, and one of the enhancements was for improved functionality for quality management. If you have experience with SAP S/4HANA 1902, please comment on the benefits of the enhanced quality management functionalities?

In earlier release, SAP delivered warehouse management as an integral part of SAP S/4HANA Cloud which enables you to manage stock on storage bin level. The future need that SAP will be integrating quality management processes with warehousing. Now with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1902 release, SAP integrates quality management in warehousing. By performing quality inspections during goods receipt, you can inspect the products which have been delivered from production or external suppliers before the putaway in the warehouse takes place. You can also record usage decisions for partial lots, when, for example, only some of the stock items in the inspection lot are of good quality. The new scope item Quality Management in WM (3M0) visualizes the scenario with a process flow chart. On the basis of selected apps you integrate Quality Management and Warehouse Management.

Q: What recommendations would you pass on to someone who is considering moving their quality management processes and data to a cloud-based solution such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1902?

That would be a great step if someone is considering moving their quality management processes and data to a cloud-based solution such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1902. Definitely, “The Intelligent Enterprise is the next leading edge for SAP customers. It is about automated processes, empowered employees, revenue creation, and all this with ease and intelligence.”

Q: Have you been in discussions with executives at Sitara Chemical Industries about implementing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as part of an effort to move toward becoming a digital enterprise?

No, currently I had no discussion because successful implementation needs excellence in both “Product and Implementation Team”. Definitely, the SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation enables intelligent enterprise applications with insight from Big Data. The foundation offers ready to go intelligent business services and functional services using machine learning building blocks for the intelligent processing of all your data to detect, to recognize, to predict, and many more like solution with IoT, Blockchain, AI, Analytics, Big Data & Machine Learning.But there is big gap on the other end.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to pass on to SAPinsider readers regarding optimizing supply chain processes in the digital era?

Yes, evidently SAP is delivering intelligent and optimizes solutions in the digital supply chain across all areas with cloud and on-premise. SAP S/4HANA enables you to transform your supply chain for taking advantage of every opportunity in the digital world. Today,an industry faces challenges as complexity has increased across the extended supply chain. By leveraging S/4HANA as a digital core, you enable real-time business insights, real-time processes, and a simplified data model.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud Intelligent ERP update for February 2019 covers automated processes, empowered employees and revenue creation. All this comes with ease and intelligence along with Integration between SAP lines of business solutions which enables the Intelligent Enterprise. It facilitates with automation to handle situations, new Inventory KPI Analysis Applications, SAP Leonardo machine learning, SAP CoPilot and digital assistant.

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Muhammad Riaz Hussain Shan

Muhammad Riaz Hussain Shan is SAP Lead (SCM, QM & PM) at Sitara Chemical Industries Ltd. He holds SAP certification for several SAP modules, including SAP Quality Management (SAP QM), SAP Fiori for iOS, and SAP BW/4HANA. He has been involved with two full life cycle implementations of SAP QM and one full life cycle implementation of SAP Plant Maintenance. He also has several SAP certifications, including Digital Transformation across the Extended Supply Chain.

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