Product / material creation in SAP ERP

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If your organisation works with the SAP ERP system, you know that creating a new product is a time-consuming process. What are the problems and challenges involved in this process? And even more importantly, how do you solve them? Read all about it in this blog.

Product / material creation in SAP involves time-consuming processes

In the ERP package from SAP, each product is accompanied by a massive amount of master data. Sometimes you have to go through hundreds of fields to create a single new material. And even then, you’re not done yet. This process not only includes the master data on materials, but also all kinds of other data objects, such as:

You have to arrange different processes in your organisation, depending on how the product comes in. For instance, if the product is produced within the organisation, certain data objects (such as the bill of material or specific recipes) may be needed for production. When you purchase a product elsewhere, the data objects are different. You’ll be handling purchase info records, source lists and so on.

  • Are there any related intracompany or intercompany processes? In that case, there will be a mixture of data objects from purchasing and production. That makes the process even more complicated.
  • In specific cases, even more data objects will be needed. This includes batch search strategies, material determination and customisation-related transactions.

Challenges

As a result of these time-consuming processes, your organisation is probably facing the following challenges:

  • How do you create and maintain massive amounts of master data, and achieve both in an efficient and controlled way?
  • How do you launch a product, without it becoming a laborious process and taking a lot of time and energy?
  • How do you prevent incorrect master data, which leads to additional costs and risks as well as reduced confidence in the SAP ERP system?

Excel makes it even worse

At Tentive, we often see that companies take on these challenges by working with Excel. But that actually only exacerbates the problems. A product creation template is designed in Excel to collect the necessary data. That file then disappears somewhere into the organisation, eventually ending up with the user much later on. The user then manually creates the product in the SAP ERP package, using the Excel file. And that means that the user will have to retype all the data. And that is not the only reason why Excel is not a good solution:

  • The returned file often looks very different than the user expected. For instance, other users may have changed colours or fields –
  • and the Excel file is often not validated, which makes the information vulnerable to typos and other errors. When that goes wrong, incorrect data ends up in SAP, with all the consequences that entails. For example, if a product has incorrect MRP settings, this will have huge consequences for its production.
  • In addition to major risks, these types of errors also go hand in hand with unnecessary costs.
  • The more often the process of creating a product goes wrong, the less confidence users have in the SAP ERP system. This in turn might lead to loss of customers, for example if products are not delivered on time – or if you cannot keep your promises due to mistakes in the master data.

Technical solutions to work more efficiently

But then how should you deal with these challenges? How can you ensure that your company is able to benefit from all the advantages of an SAP ERP system again? There are all kinds of technical solutions available. These ensure that you can create the data objects in SAP in a controlled way, using workflows. Excel files will no longer be necessary, and retyping data will also be eliminated.

Data Governance as a solution

In addition to technical solutions, data governance is also very important. In such a situation, you first determine the rules of the game, such as standards, policies and procedures. You also give responsibility to the users involved in the process. Then you continue developing the architecture and design of the solution. Once you have implemented that structure and solution, you will tap into these benefits of the SAP ERP software:

  • Higher data quality
  • Fewer errors in processes
  • Increased trust in the ERP system
  • Fewer risks of having to say no to customers
  • Overall improvement in process management
  • Huge time savings

The time you save is an especially major benefit to your organisation. Everything speeds up: not just the process for creating a product in the SAP ERP system, but also all other processes for related data objects. In practice, this could save days or even weeks – and time is money. At Tentive we have the expertise to make this happen in your organisation.


Tentive Solutions offers organisations support in resolving their Data Governance and Data Management issues. Would you like to know more? Feel free to contact our Data Management Team.


Erkan Kopuz