Sunday, November 27, 2011

SAP Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Benefits

The latest water cooler talk at HPC was about Enterprise Asset Management. By combining elements of Plant Maintenance, Project Systems, Materials Management, and Warehouse Management, SAP EAM enables utilities to realize much higher productivity from PM orders compared to Internal Orders. After setting up a Functional Area hierarchy and identifying the location of all assets, utilities can create orders more efficiently via notifications (what we'd call a "pre-order"). So if the inspection of a pump, for example, identifies necessary corrective maintenance work, the order for that work can be created automatically. Tight integration with the MM module, plus records of prior labor and parts history, also mean that repair kits with all relevant parts can also be identified easily.

For utilities that are considering transitioning from their legacy CMMS to SAP EAM, we would make two particular recommendations. First, ensure that your project team includes subject matter experts from Engineering, Construction, Generation, Transmission and Distribution Maintenance—that is, the people who know what it takes to fix things that break. Their knowledge and requirements will ensure the success of the initiative beyond the needs of IT and Finance. Second, conduct a thorough review of all equipment so that nothing is inadvertently left out of Plant Maintenance. For selected assets, seriously consider bringing in a year or two of work history from the external CMMS.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Document Splitting and the Balance Sheet in SAP New GL

In all of our previous posts about the SAP New General Ledger, we've only looked at P&L accounts.  But what about the balance sheet? Using the New GL will eliminate either the accounts approach or the company code approach to IFRS compliance using SAP. A somewhat complicated feature is the use of document splitting, which we'll touch on next.

Let's suppose a vendor is paid with invoice line items charged to both generation and transmission on the same invoice, but with only one offset to the vendor account on the balance sheet. Using document splitting, the offset account charged to accounts payable is allocated or "split" between the generation and transmission lines. So, if $300 is charged to generation and $500 charged to transmission on the same invoice, the offset for the total of $800 is split to "follow" the P&L accounts that were charged originally.  By doing this split, separate balance sheets can be generated for each segment (i.e., generation and transmission) below the company code level. This will save time during document entry, as the preparer doesn't have to be affected by a process change. An employee in Accounts Payable doesn't change his SAP business process. Rather, in the background, SAP will split the transactions entered to create the separation by segment.

Document splitting can be a complicated undertaking and shouldn't be conducted without ample testing. In fact, a utility's New GL conversion scenario should consider the impact of document splitting when determining a migration data and activation date. Since most large utilities can have thousands of open items during a New GL migration, it is suggested—and we highly recommend—to set an activation date as close to the migration date as possible to limit the amount of documents (and line items) that will need to be split.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New SAP for utilities email newsletter

We've just launched an email newsletter for SAP for utilities professionals to get our latest news and insights. We'll send periodic product updates, customer case studies, white papers, and other tips and tricks on regulatory reporting and enhancing SAP for utilities. We won't share your personal information with anyone outside HPC, and you can unsubscribe at any time.  Subscribe to our email newsletter online.  If you have any requests for content that we cover, please let us know.