What distinguishes successful consulting in warehouse logistics

Matthias Kraus

Matthias Kraus

SAP EWM consulting in focus

Are you planning to convert or enter the SAP world in your company in order to make your warehouse fit for the future? Or the adaptation or optimization of an existing SAP solution or simply a system (health) check? Then you will automatically be confronted with the question of which support to bring into your company for this project. Basic client consulting should never be neglected in the course of an implementation. After all, good consulting is the core element of any service to be able to generate additional benefits from an implementation project and make processes future-proof. 

process consulting

Consulting: Effort and budget planning with all stakeholders

Due to long and intensive project work in the system, SAP consultants have many more strengths than just being able to implement adjustments or new implementations.  

Already in very early phases of a project, we recommend to bring consulting and all stakeholders to the same table to jointly outline the requirements, the strategic development plan as well as a target definition for the individual roadmap. From this, a rough effort and budget plan is derived. This makes it possible to design the upcoming project phase with all its interactions on other projects and dependencies in the global IT context of the company. This creates confidence in the solution, reliability in its feasibility and monetary planning security. 

process consulting

Foresight prevents chaos in your own IT

The demands that the project will place on the company’s own IT and departmental resource structure must be assessed at an early stage. Far too often, this effort is underestimated. It is therefore essential to have a reliable and strategic partner who can take on the central roles during the go-live phase and beyond, as well as keep an eye on continuous optimization and flexibility. 

An important aspect in this early phase is the decision for a deployment. In the current SAP landscape, there are several options in complex interlocking and integration for the right solution in each case. It is not sufficient to exclude the adjacent modules such as SD, PP and MM in a warehouse project. Rather, it requires an integrative approach that includes further options for future-proof processes and extensions to the product portfolio, for example with SAP TM for transportation planning.  

Creating visions together

With the help of structured methods and sound background knowledge regarding the possibilities offered by the system, most consultants can help develop a vision for the individual warehouse logistics of the future.  

With an open-minded approach and consulting across module and process boundaries, all functions and processes can be identified and innovatively implemented accordingly. It is important not to stop at the boundaries of the warehouse solution, but to include module consulting in adjacent areas if necessary. In this way, pain points can be identified at an early stage and a common understanding can be created, which brings about sustainable active improvements and increases efficiency, stability and flexibility. 

Implementations close to the standard reduce risks and costs

Here, too, it is not enough to simply map the status quo in the new system, but rather to implement processes in such a way that they are as close as possible to the standard on the one hand, and on the other hand cover the customer’s requirements or even exceed them through optimization.  

In addition to the pure process analysis, the consulting activity in this phase also includes transferring the design of the solution from the old to the new world by means of process transfer. It is essential that the consultancy can draw on extensive experience from various projects. From experience, they know how similar challenges have been solved and what is possible in the system in order to be able to provide the customer with valuable input in the best possible way. Thus, a slightly more cost-intensive variant is often worthwhile during the implementation, which in turn results in a lower-maintenance, more favorable and more transparent final solution in the long term. Predefined templates can be helpful and save valuable time. 

Avoid change requests - no one wants to pay more than was negotiated!

Experienced consultants are able to validate all process variants of the customer and to create a complete and reliable specification. In this way, change requests that occur later and put an unplanned strain on the budget can be avoided. 

After the concept has been drawn up, the consultancy is not content with handing over the resulting implementation packages to the developer. Rather, it is responsible for being the bridge between the requirements and the final solution. In collaboration with the customer, the processes are then designed according to mutual assessment and the respective project methodology, with the consultancy presenting partial results and collecting feedback at regular intervals. Necessary adjustments are thus identified at an early stage and evaluated in the global project context.  

Start training of key users in good time

During this phase, consultants ideally design training and test plans with their key users. Again, experience is required: What level of detail is needed? Which variants of test cases have to be considered? How many test cycles are to be expected? How is a mass test designed? etc. Other classic consulting tasks include authorization concepts, concepts for a stable and secure migration, auditor requirements, fallback scenarios and the preparation of cut-over lists .  

Go-live and Hypercare

Accompanying the tests, we move on to the hot phase: the go-live and the subsequent hypercare phase. Here, consulting supports the planning of resources, the coordination of cut-over activities and, last but not least, the validation of the system after go-live.  

At the same time, expertise is required when workarounds for problems that arise in the course of the go-live have to be found immediately and corresponding process adjustments have to be designed. The particular challenge is that the consultancy must keep an eye on the risk of changes and their impact on the end-to-end process at all times in order to ultimately ensure a stable system with functioning processes. Linking the warehouse with external process information and fully integrating it into the supply chain is just one example of the holistic approach to all process components. Such an end-2-end approach is indispensable in order to be able to comprehensively cover all supply chain processes and applications.  

What happens after the go-live?

Due to their experience gained in many client projects, consultants are also the right contact persons for any downstream optimization phases. Thus, they are able to work out valid potentials in the best possible way and to integrate them into the implemented processes.  

In summary, consultants play a central role within a project – whether as strategists, implementers, trainers, quality assurance or sometimes even as “psychologists”. The bottom line is that it is the experience, the know-how and the common goal orientation with the customer that create successful projects along the supply chain. 

We are here for You!

If you would like to get to know one of our consultants, please do not hesitate to contact us. Together we will bring your warehouse into the future! If you have any questions about this or other topics in our blog, please feel free to contact blog@leogistics.com.

Matthias Kraus
Consulting Director SAP EWM

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