Change Management key for mastering SAP Supply Chain & Procurement



Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for StevenFreemantle2.JPGIn this month’s SmartProcurement, Steven Freemantle, of SweetThorn Thought Leadership, discusses how to combine three traditional approaches in a non-traditional way to achieve SAP Supply Chain Mastery. Mastery of your SAP systems contribution to procurement’s and therefore your supply chain’s success is not as complex as one may think. Freemantle refers to a methodology he calls Business Maturity Optimisation, which is a combination of three traditional approaches to SAP mastery, namely training, education and change management.


“It is unfortunate though, that these are seldom used well during an organisation’s SAP lifecycles”, says Freementle.

Freemantle is often disturbed by how poor training and change management are executed during SAP programmes.

Training is a very important part of mastery, and in a SAP sense this is where most effort is spent. Any SAP customer will remember their introductory training as well as the transactional train they should have been given in the build up to their SAP Go-live. It is worth noting, however, that training is not enough, for several reasons:

1. SAP training is mostly transactional

2. Integration is seldom addressed in meaningful way.

3. SAP training is done in a controlled environment. The transactions work and troubleshooting or “what-if-things-go-wrong” scenarios are never dealt with.

4. The use and interpretation of SAP’s standard SAP reports is not covered

5. It only happens prior to go-live, and very little formal training happens after go-live

It is therefore very important that training is enhanced with education. Education is different to training. In that way buyers should be equipped to:

1. Check that they will get the desired outcome

2. If not, they should be equipped to remedy it straight away, with minimal impact on the rest of the supply chain, and,

3. Prevent it from going wrong the next time around.

By implication then buyers need to be able to use standard SAP tools and reports to see how they impact their supply chain colleagues and vice versa. Armed with this visibility they can easily determine whether it is a delinquent behaviour or an errant business rule (mostly master data) that is causing the problem – and so a permanent remedy to SAP supply chain shortfalls can be sought out.

This will push need the need to tackle the third traditional mastery component which is change management. In the Business Maturity Optimisation context, Freemantle proposes that you move away from the traditional banners, balloons and a game of paint ball style change management to one that is driven by the facts as extracted from the SAP reports buyers must use to get visibility of how well individuals function in the supply chain.

Futhermore Freemantle suggest holding up the data mirror, first to see your contribution to an imbalance, and then to your supply chain colleagues, so that they may see their errant ways.

In order to round off these mastery tasks you will need to tackle one more challenge, and that is to wrap training, education and change management with integration. Mastery of your supply chain with SAP cannot happen in organisational silos. Each department’s mastery hinges on the other, and will begin with an executive team that is prepared integrate, and support change that engenders cooperation rather than turf protection and blame-shifting. And so once again your data mirror will come in to play. If you can use SAP data, and not conjecture, to highlight supply chain challenges and integration issues, your executive will listen, in fact they must!

Leave a comment

SmartProcurement Newsletter

Please enter your details below to receive the SmartProcurement Newsletter for FREE on a regular basis.

As part of the SmartProcurement Newsletter you will be receiving World Class Procurement News, Tools, Tips, Tactics, Procurement Training updates, Upcoming Events, and the latest Procurement Career Openings.

* Email Address:
* Title:
* First Name:
* Surname:
* Company:
* Country:
* Public / Private:


Career opportunites

Trade Compliance Senior Analyst

  • <500 000 >500 000 Analyst Buyer Gauteng Permanent
Trade Compliance Senior AnalystLocation – Rosslyn, South AfricaThe ...More

Logistics Controller

  • >500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent
Based in Stellenbosch, South Africa’s leading fruit exporter ...More


  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management Strategic Sourcing
(Total Cost to Company R900k – R1.2mil) includes ...More

Category Manager Logistics

  • >500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R900k – R1mil) includes ...More

Group Procurement Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management
Location: Johannesburg .Cost to Company R1.2mil – R1.4mil excluding ...More

Procurement Analyst

  • <500 000 Analyst Gauteng Permanent Procurement Officer / Specialist
(Total Cost to Company R200K – R400K)We are ...More

Industrial Engineers

  • <500 000 >500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent Strategic Sourcing
(Total Cost to Company R400K – R550K)We are ...More

Category Manager Packaging

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent
Location: Johannesburg Cost to Company R1mil – R1.4mil ...More

Category Manager Packaging

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent
Location: Johannesburg Cost to Company R1mil – R1.4mil ...More

Category Manager Packaging

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent
Location: Johannesburg Cost to Company R1mil – R1.4mil ...More

Category Manager Packaging

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent
Role: The Category Manager will be responsible for ...More
Location: Johannesburg Description: To develop and manage relationships ...More
Location: Johannesburg Description: To develop and manage relationships ...More

Global Commodity Manager: Mining Commodities

  • Commodities Gauteng Permanent
Location: Johannesburg Description: Ensuring continuity of supply ...More

Global Commodity Manager: Mining Equipment

  • Commodities Gauteng Permanent
Location: JohannesburgDescription: The commodity manager is accountable for ...More

Mining Project Manager

  • Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management
Location: Johannesburg.Description : Responsible for successful implementation and ...More

Mining Project Manager

  • Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management
Examples of high impact initiatives are Equipment Automation, ...More

Supply Chain Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management Supply Chain
R 650 000 –R 800 000 CTC pa GautengA ...More

Operations Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Procurement Management
R 600 000 – R 700 000 CTC ...More

Procurement Specialist

  • <500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Consultant Procurement Officer / Specialist
R 500 000 – R 550 000 CTC ...More