No matter what your business sector is, your company size, implementing SAP was an important investment. The solution is now rolled out, but you are still looking for the way to contribute even more to agility and operational efficiency business procedures while keeping a high-quality level.
The Lean applied to SAP processes is a pragmatic methodology to maximize little by little your processes as a goldsmith sculpting his diamond step by step. The purpose is to operate a transformation based on strategic goals as wining 1% margin, maximizing your treasury of a few millions or even reducing your customers delivery dates of 25%.
1st Step : We only maximize what we can measure
Even if the first step seems trivial at first sight, it is unfortunately followed up only by 72% of SAP customers. It is about measuring job performance for all the processes. Measuring means having key performance indicators (KPI) to track effectiveness ( for example dates, error rates, conversion rates …) or efficiency (TCO, productivity…). This essential step allows us to get some distance and be conscious of our strengths and what we have to improve. J’ai du mal avec l’expression “retard concurrentiel” …
2nd step: Compare yourself to become aware of your potential
Whether the benchmark is internal ( for example between the departments of the same company) or external ( for example between other companies from the same domain), it remains a reference for impartially comparing. This step allows us to understand our strategic position, identify competitive edges or delays. The competitive delay is often the starting point of a transformation’s thought or a project that which goal will be to improve a weak point or to change it into strong points. Whether they are financial (cash flow, margin) or operational (% of on time delivery, manufacturing time, stock level), the benchmarked indicators allow you to become aware of its potential for improvement and of the necessity to act, to transform and even to disrupt.
3rd step: Build and implement a continuous improvement plan
Once the potential for improvement is understood and shared, you need to build a pragmatic plan to maximize its potential. Even if it is tempting to take more risks to achieve greater results, the fact remains that 92%* of customers have potential for quick improvements through the implementation of simple quickwins. A quickwin is a project or an action whose benefits are almost immediate for small investments. Obtaining quick results with a controlled effort is one of the keys to start a successful innovation and continuous improvement approach… In fact, 83%* of quickwins concern database updates, trainings, setting up which is implemented in a week.
4th step: Continue to improve yourself...
Once these quickwins are implemented, other medium and long-term projects will have to be considered. Their benefits will generally be obtained after a few months but will transform your business sustainably. The other key to successful continuous improvement is to regularly measure the KPIs by comparing the BEFORE/AFTER of each project. The benefits of each improvement plan are then factually measured for both motivating the project teams, promoting the project, and therefore encouraging them to continue their efforts.
To conclude, making the most of an SAP solution is not a coincidence but the result of wanting continuous improvement. Applying a lean approach to SAP processes is a pragmatic, and continuous approach, the benefits will be measurable and visible and will actively contribute to sustainably increase the company’s performance.
* Benchmark from PERFORMER FOR SAP® mixed with the Inventy study (Inventy Labs).