Career Episode 3:
3.1. I have been working as an SAP Functional Consultant since November 2011 in ?stanbul/Turkey, which is almost 4 years. I have been working at Çözümevi for almost 1,5 years. The project I will explain in this episode was to design Invoice Process Management of Çimenta? in SAP. I was the IPM Consultant for Invoice Process Management (IPM) in this project. I worked with software developer from Çözümevi and related process owners from Çimenta?. The project took place between September 2016 and April 2017, which is 10 months. The project mainly took place in ?zmir/Turkey, where the Çimenta?’s headquarter is located, and in ?stanbul/Turkey where my company is located.
3.2. Çözümevi operates at the precept of supplying customers with the most accurate roadmaps and solutions incorporate business applications on the grounds that 1997.
It offers services in all fields which, at the same time as being centered around ERP, also help corporations continue to exist in this aggressive surroundings with business intelligence, budgeting and consolidation applications, customer relationship management, mobile applications, document and information management and supplier relations.
3.3. Çimenta? was established in 1950. It is the first cement factory in the Aegean Region. According to its production capacity, Çimenta? is one of the greatest cement groups in Turkey. It is located in the largest domestic markets as Marmara and Aegean regions. Also, it present in the emerging markets of Kars and Elaz??, in the Eastern part of Turkey. Çimenta? is very close to the seaport in ?zmir. This offers remarkable cost advantage for Izmir export market. Çimenta? has factories in the Eastern part of Turkey and this gives Çimenta? a leading position for the export business due to their strategic access to the neighbor countries of Iraq, Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan, and Syria.
3.4. The purpose of this project is to prevent taking the print out e-invoices and the time that spends in the approval process, even though the companies have switched to electronic invoicing process legally.
The project would provide support for the accounting team for the month and year closing operations which require intensive work in the companies will be facilitated and the approved invoices will be automatically entered into the SAP system.
3.5. As the IPM Consultant, my duties included the following:
3.5.1. Attending meetings with client process owners.
3.5.2. Collecting information on their current business processes and prepare a document on that. The document called as As-Is process document.
3.5.3. Collecting information on their business requirements, and prepare a document on that. The document called as To-Be process document
3.5.4. Making conceptual design and writing Business Blueprint based on the requirements collected during meetings.
3.5.5. Customizing in SAP based on this Business Blueprint to implement business processes
3.5.6. Working with software developers to develop requirements, which is not part of standard IPM Package.
3.5.7. Unit Testing and Integration Testing with process owners
3.5.8. Training SAP key users and process owners
3.5.9. Preparing end-user training document
3.5.10. Supplying support after Go Live.
3.6. Chart of the organization structure is shown below, where my position is highlighted in yellow color:
Personal Engineering Activity:
3.7. According to ASAP Methodology, SAP projects has six phases; project preparation, business blueprint, realization, final preparation, go-live support and operate. Process consultants start working from the second phase, which is a business blueprint, of the projects. I started the project with a general IPM presentation in ?zmir, headquarter of Çimenta?. It was the kick-off meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to give a general idea to all attendants about standard IPM processes in SAP. People from different departments such as Financial and Managerial Accounting, Procurement, Sales, Information Technology, Reporting etc. attended this meeting.
3.8. After the presentation, I started meetings with all related departments to analyze the current processes. I had meetings with Financial and Managerial Accounting, Procurement and Sales Departments. With these departments, I have analyzed which processes electronic invoices went through within the organization and which invoices were approved by whom and according to which criteria. I have defined as-is of the project and customer requirements for to-be of the processes.
3.9. After these analyses, I have decided to implement standard Invoice Process Management Package in Çimenta?. The standard IPM package is transferred electronic invoices from legal e-invoice providers to the SAP system systematically. Invoices that loaded to the SAP system are sent for approval to the relevant approver within the framework of certain rules. These rules are determined by talking to the relevant departments during the meetings. The rules may be determined by the vendor of the invoices, by the amount of the invoices, or by the material it contains. The number of persons to be included in the approval process is determined by various rules. After completion of the approval process, invoices are automatically entered into the system. In the SAP system, we define variables that we call characteristics and we create customized tables to keep these characteristics in the system and allow users to change them whenever they want. I have decided to create around 10 different customizing tables to store these values.
3.10. In IPM, we use the characteristics to determine approvers, rules for price differences or automatic posting rules. For Çimenta?, I have decided to define characteristics like company code (they have a lot of companies), vendor, customer, invoice amount, product.
3.11. After I determined all customer requirements, I have decided which requirements I could solve with standard IPM and which requirements I had to ask my software developer colleague to develop a program or some codes in user exits. I have written Business Blueprint with all the details. In Business Blueprint, I have written organizational structures and basic set up parameters, master data (characteristics and customizing tables), all the processes; vendor invoices, customer invoices, invoices with price difference, invoice approval, invoice rejection, restart approval process, automatic post of invoices according to Turkish Tax Procedure Law (VUK) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), reporting requirements and required developments.
3.12. After the approval of Business Blueprint, I have started with standard IPM customizing and then customizings for customer basis. Meanwhile, I have written functional design spec documents for my software developer colleague to be able to develop the requirements. My developer teammate developed a couple of parameter tables to use in programs and reports, has written some codes to meet customer demands and a few new report for Accounting department.
3.13. There were a few difficult processes, such as the restart of approval when organization chart changes, approval via mobile phone, distribution of price difference, I need to solve with developments. The most difficult process was the restart of approval when organization chart changes. In IPM, invoices are sent to approval according to some rules which determined by the customer. Çimenta? determined their approval rules based on their organizational chart. In standard IPM, approvers are determined only once. After that, all approvers should approve the invoice. Also when one of them rejects the invoice, the process ends. In my case, Çimenta? requested that if there is a change in organization chart while an invoice is in the approval process, the approvers should be changed and the approval process must be restarted. I need to develop a solution for that request. I have designed a logic to find organizational chart changes, restart the approval process and keep a record of these changes on SAP. My software developer colleague developed all the codes based on my functional spec documents.
3.14. Then I started testing some basic scenarios in IPM to test my customizing and developer’s codes. I created invoices with the price difference between purchasing order, I approved invoices, I rejected invoices, I returned invoices to the vendors in the system. With unit tests and integration tests, I made sure my design performs without any problem. SAP process owners and key users from Çimenta? also performed integration tests for the approval of go-live.
3.15. I have trained SAP key users for each process, how to post an invoice, how to send an invoice to approval, how to make analysis in IPM etc. I have prepared customizing, end-user training and development documents for the project. The project was started to be used in January 2017 and after the first-month closing, which was in the middle of February the project was signed off. Çimenta? had IPM reports with all the mentioned details after the first month.
3.16. This project was very precious for Çimenta?. The outcomes of the project had very critical statistics for decision making of management. It gave an opportunity to see the lost time of the old process and it has eased the workload of the accounting department. As a result of this project, the use of paper invoices in the company was blocked at a high rate. For myself, because of the customer was very demanding and they had complicated processes, the project was very coercive. I got a different perspective. I gained valuable experience and know-how that I have been using for my other projects as well.