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Maextro – BOM & Routings Master data management

  1. The manufacturing data challenges faced by organisations today

Up until the introduction of Maextro, the majority of enterprises running SAP software will have a mixture of semi-automated & manual processes with the latter using offline applications & forms for their SAP manufacturing data.

As well as the layer of MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) data on the production shop floor, there is rarely one system of record even though data is critical to the manufacturing process.

Often these offline forms for managing data would be attributed to manual processes & de-centralised workflows with few default entries and/or business rules, with sometimes invalid optional entries.

 

With little or no data governance, production master data can be susceptible to human error which has the potential to cause delays to market and also potentially directly impact the production process including risk to human consumption.

Some of the key opportunities & value drivers associated with a centralised master data governance tool for managing production data are highlighted below:

  • Establishing and enforcing centralised business rules for data conformity and completeness.
  • Improving data governance and user accountability via simple approvals and audit trails which are visible throughout the manufacturing process.
  • Centralised workflow management for process efficiency and transparency of critical data tasks.
  • Improving data accuracy & completeness due to critique & reviews by approved personnel as well as automated default & conditional business rules that are applied.
  • Decreasing manufacturing time due to effective data processing removing fragmented data sources and improving responsibilities

 

  1. Introduction to the Client

Our client is an international food and drink group involved in the manufacture, import and distribution of branded and customer own-brand products. Customers include major supermarkets, convenience stores, foodservice operators, wholesale suppliers and other food manufacturers.

Our clients product portfolio span over 20 different categories and have sites in the UK as well as Europe

  1. Client’s SAP landscape
SAP Version ECC6 on AWS
Basis and ABAP Support pack 740, Support pack 009
Maextro version V 2.0

 

  1. Review of solutions

Our client reviewed different software offerings in the market that were integrated to SAP that could manage their production data.  Their aim was to have a central solution for managing SAP data with transparency across each task within a defined data process.

The Client reviewed packages available and after due diligence purchased Maextro as the Maextro software provides approvals, business rule validation and collaboration across each discrete process with automatic creation, change and extensions to SAP objects all as standard functionality.

  1. Methodology Followed

 During this engagement with Bluestonex, design thinking & agile methodology was adopted as it was evident from day 1 that such approach would immensely help achieve the right process via several short playback / iterations.  This helped the end user audience and super users understand the change impact and reduced the overall implementation time.

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  1. Solution build

Solution build was broadly categorised into 4 discrete steps.

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The Design

The most important part of the Maextro build was to design the process that captured all of the SAP and non-SAP data in the most efficient way to eliminate excel sheets and reduces the data duplication.

Existing excel sheets were replaced with a new “Technical Specification Form” which provided the basis for creating or changing any BOM or Routing data. This process involves capturing some critical data used by the technical department to control changes going through the master data process.

A new way of working

The workflow was an important aspect of Maextro’s delivery and lives natively without the need for a business rule framework consultant or complex HCM Organisational Structure.  A refined process with distributed responsibilities was created to capture and approve data which was adopted by the manufacturing departments.

Both SAP notifications and office365 email notifications were adopted by users as Maextro has the ability to provide external email or SAP internal notification as well as Fiori app notifications.

  1. Story board – below is the process adopted by our client for SAP BoM processing

 Bill of Material – Finished goods.

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Story board ­­- below is the process adopted by our client for SAP Routing processing

Routings – Finished goods.

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  1. The Results 

From the outset, the main objective of this engagement was to achieve simplicity whilst governing important recipe information.  The following business goals were measured:

Business objective How did we achieve?

1.      Consolidate, enrich and reduce data input source.

 

All the excel data input sources were replaced with a consolidated data form(s) within Maextro. This was further enriched with business rules (default values and data conformity) to create single source of true data and reduce manual entry.

2.     Flexible solution to enforce business rules and master data processes

 

Maextro provided comprehensive rule sets which caters for a wide variety of business rules. All Maextro rules can be configured via system configuration (IMG) with no programming or changes to core system.

3.     Introduce additional authorisation over and above standard SAP authorization.

 

Maextro workflow management and field control rules provides an additional layer of security to prevent data updates to certain section of data views or fields. Again, these are simple rules which can be configured as required by business.
4.     Simple workflow management to capture and approve data. Maextro provides integrated workflow engine which is directly configured in Maextro without the need for technical resources.
5.     Scalable The Maextro solution dealt with the high complexity areas of manufacturing very well and can be tweaked and tailored per template.  The solution is configurable via Maextro’s IMG and the customer will have the ability to roll out different objects and processes across all their plants.

 

  1. Collaboration with BluestoneX Consulting 
  1. Why Bluestonex?

Bluestonex Consulting are a SAP UX & Innovation Partner and recognised in this field of innovation.  We can identify issues along the journey that others may miss due to our design thinking methodology and human centred design approach.

This has been acknowledged by SAP & Forbes and Gartner:  One way to stimulate innovation and fill technology gaps is to partner with smaller companies, startups, incubators and universities.

In 2018, Bluestonex have been nominated for an Innovation Award due to our exploration in software development and user experience practice.

  1. What next for Maextro at this client

This customer purchased Maextro because of the gap in the market place for SAP technology.  One of the main reasons behind this was because Maextro is built in core SAP and has a configuration menu which means that they would not be reliant on external and somewhat expensive, resources.

Maextro is an agile solution for ECC6 and S/4 HANA and our client plans to roll out more objects during 2018.

With successful rollout of BOM’s and ROUTINGS, other master data objects already in-flight are:

  1. Material Master (Traded goods) – Planned Go-live February 2018
  2. Material Master ( Engineering stores ) – Planned Kick off March 2018

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