Transforming our master data management
Hendrik Kok | Data Migration Manager
Babcock is a leading provider of critical, complex engineering services which support national defence, save lives and protect communities.
They focus on three highly regulated markets – defence, emergency services and civil nuclear – delivering vital services and managing complex assets in the UK and internationally. They are a trusted partner who understands the key roles that their technology, their expertise, their infrastructure and their assets play in ensuring their customers can deliver. They share risk with their customers in delivering innovation, and they share the benefits.
BluestoneX worked with the Babcock team who acquired the Defence Support Group (DSG). DSG is the Ministry of Defence agency responsible for storage, maintenance, repair and overhaul of military vehicles and equipment.
In SAP terms, Babcock did not really have a well-defined method for master data management before Maextro, mainly due to the low volume of materials being maintained. However, it was essential that they had a master data management tool for the DSG business unit, due to the volume of material master data being maintained and the need for strong governance and management of that data. The business unit in question has historically had many business process issues whose root cause is poor master data management. Moving into a data hungry ERP environment like SAP, it was imperative that there were controls in place to try to keep material master data compliant and in check.
the selection process:
Babcock had a clear understanding of their requirements but struggled to find a solution that offered the functionality, flexibility and value to meet their ROI objectives. In 2017 via BluestoneX, they found a relatively untried and immature but emerging solution by the name of Maextro. What Maextro lacked in maturity it more than compensated for in terms of flexibility and adaptability. Babcock where assured by the BluestoneX track record of delivering high quality IT results, focused heavily on user experience excellence and value for money credentials. Maextro represented an opportunity to partner with BluestoneX in building a solution that met their bespoke requirements.
Within Maextro, templates are used to capture business processes for master data management. Tasks (approval & data collection) are created within the templates, then views, fields and users are assigned to the tasks. Business rules are also assigned to these templates to ensure correct data entry. Requests for object maintenance/creation are then created using these templates.
BluestoneX began the implementation of the material templates with a two-day workshop at the Babcock office in Portsmouth. We used this workshop to clarify the scope, capturing existing business rules and adding new rules as desired.
5 Maextro templates were specified. Two templates for material creation, one for 3 material types and the other for 8 material types. Each of the create templates also needed a corresponding change template for their given material types. The final template needed to extend existing materials to new plants and warehouses. This template is being used for all 11 material types.
BluestoneX completed the initial build of the templates and played them back to Babcock in an online meeting. Using feedback from this meeting, the BluestoneX team was able to further fine tune the templates based on Babcock’s requirements. Once BluestoneX had completed their testing, the templates were given to Babcock to explore in their development system. This allowed them to test the Maextro templates against their business requirements. This highlighted gaps in the templates design and allowed BluestoneX to align Maextro to the businesses needs.
In addition to this, Babcock have made a whole series of configuration updates after BluestoneX created the original processes / templates – some due to defects, others due to changed requirements from the business.
Babcock have found it relatively straightforward to create new rules or update existing ones, change dropdown values or to maintain and add users etc. They can now create a new template using one of the originals as the basis. This too has been straightforward to achieve.
The 5 material templates are now in the Babcock production system with over 100 business users set-up. Around 500 – 600 requests are being raised each month. On average 60% of these are for new materials, 30% for changes and 10% for extensions.
The user training went smoothly. Babcock used a classroom setting to train users based on their roles in Maextro (Requester, SME and Approver). They used a mixture of interactive learning materials to introduce the concepts and processes then backed this learning up with hands on exercises to allow the users to practice each process during the training sessions. This proved to be very effective in delivering learning retention.
The Maextro application has provided the framework and process to deliver the control Babcock needed. The business unit at Babcock has been using the standard Maextro reports in order to identify where any road-blocks exist in terms of request completion. They do now have much better visibility over who needs to do what to complete each request – a significant improvement versus their old processes.
Babcock’s initial success with Material Master has prompted them to extend their use of Maextro and they intend to add the vendor master data object to the list of objects Maextro governs. This will begin with another workshop to clarify the scope.
Delivering value with Bluestonex consulting:
We bring together a new & specialised SAP consulting approach with specialist skills and competencies in SAP user experience & innovation. Our clients tell us that Maextro’s core capabilities and rich functionality is unparalleled when compared against other products.
‘Maextro’ enables your organisation to centrally create and maintain a trusted, transparent view of your businesses master data information, propagating core information that is utilised to support key SAP business processes across your entire enterprise.
By deploying Maextro as part of a wider business-technology driven initiative, you can begin to realise the true value of master data sources that are consolidated, harmonised and enriched in agile functionality to constantly underpin key operational SAP transactions and everyday business processes.