05 November 2018

Am I here for SAP or is SAP here for me?

Regardless of our role in a maintenance organization, we all know that feeling of 'Am I here for SAP or is SAP here for me?'; indeed, the question is: what's in it for me?

Looking at pain points throughout organizations

  • The mechanic, how much time is lost due to an overloaded work package, put together by a diligent work planner; mounds of paper with a high chance of superfluous information that adds little or nothing to the task to be carried out.

  • The work planner has to go to the archives time and time again to retrieve and scan the right (?) hard-copy version of a machine drawing, day in day out.

  • The manager consults a fantastic looking personal reporting tool that possibly contains a wrong formula. What's the chance of this coming to the surface with possible consequences for the decision-making process?
  • The maintenance engineer does not find the right information in the central system and creatively searches for the correct data. Time spent on searching is a multiple of when it can be consulted centrally.

The main points described above of a number of roles in the maintenance organization are the ideal breeding ground for developing all kinds of parallel auxiliary systems that increase the risk of inefficiency, error and - not least - the unconscious creation of pain points for your colleagues.

This is avoidable!

Look at solutions from the employee perspective

As we are all professionally involved in our work, we look for solutions within our circle of influence, individually or departmentally. In many cases, however, the global overview is lacking.  What could be the underlying reasons for the emergence of the aforementioned parallel flows?

  • Is it through a lack of knowledge? 
  • ​Is it because of missing procedures?
  • Is it due to a lack of support?
  • Is it an organizational problem?
  • ...or something else again?

A wide range of experience is of great value in order to recognize this, especially when tested against SAP functionalities of which it has been proven several times that they work and guarantee supporting solutions for your processes. We have bundled these experiences under the heading 'best practices', which indeed offer the best practical results!

Looking at results from the solutions

The result of the best practices is an unequivocal and transparent way of working for everyone in the organization.

  • The mechanic is handed a streamlined work package with essential, clear information.
  • The work planner is able to find diagrams, materials and checklists at the provided location in the system.
  • The manager is just a mouse click away from his KPI dashboard to make the right decisions.
  • The maintenance engineer knows how to find the information needed to optimize his maintenance plans.

Where can an implementation bring improvements?

Everyone in their role has direct access to the information they need. This information can be found within a few mouse clicks at the provided location. The system is filled at each level (shared work makes the work lighter), which reduces the time spent individually.

The result is a more efficient way of working throughout the entire organization. 

Removing the pain points and offering a working system creates a calm and stable environment in the organization, which results in:

  • More efficient processes and integration across departments
  • Higher employee productivity (no more duplication)
  • Better data quality for better reporting (burden of error decreases exponentially)
  • Continuous insight into workload mechanics, work planners, etc.
  • Better monitoring of costs

How do you achieve this?

Implementing an SAP system can only be successful if you assume that the system supports processes and not the other way around. Implementing SAP should never be an end in itself.

Some of the steps that have to be taken in order to arrive at a solution are:

  • A project-based approach to (re)designing your processes, supported by the right SAP functionalities
  • Coaching during and after the change process
  • Use of a best practices portfolio (repeatedly proven in practice)
  • Thorough knowledge of SAP functionalities
  • Training programs (role based)
  • Basic equipment master data

The author

Senior Consultant Stork Asset Management Technology

Jan Ceulemans

Jan Ceulemans is a senior consultant at Stork Asset Management Technology. He assists maintenance organizations in optimizing their processes and, where necessary, in implementing and optimizing associated IT systems such as SAP. 

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