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SAP Business One and Lean

By Joseph Timmins

In our previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of Lean practices and how enterprise resource planning systems fit into those practices. Here are different ways that SAP Business One (SAP B1) will support your Lean journey.

Manufacturers typically focus on three areas: people, processes, and systems.

People

The best manufacturers encourage and promote teamwork to solve problems and improve business processes. They provide teams with decision-making authority and thorough transparency and visibility, boosting efficiency and fostering a culture of empowerment.

Processes

Once people are engaged, the focus shifts to improving processes and eliminating non-value-adding activities. Internal systems are considered in light of how they help/hurt process efficiency and daily employee routines. Performance measures are integral to successfully evaluating and monitoring Lean journey progress.

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Systems

So, what if a system could provide you with quick, timely information to gauge process streamlining? You could measure your process performance and monitor waste reduction!

That’s Lean.

Now let’s talk about SAP Business One...

Today’s ERP systems are much more robust than traditional material resource planning (MRP) business software. In fact, new ERPs can support waste elimination quite nicely.

Below are four examples of how SAP’s B1 solution should be considered a Lean asset:

DashboardsSAP Business One and Lean

Dashboards provide access to critical information, emphasizing measurements, communications, and feedback. SAP’s B1 solution can be configured to provide frontline transactional workers, supervisors, managers, and executives with data specific to their business units and teams. This improves margins, increases revenue, and reduces operating expenses. Dashboards can also be viewed on monitors anytime, anywhere, reducing paper waste and making measurements (Lean feedback) easy!

Alerts

Being aware of potential problems before they strike can save your company valuable time and money. SAP B1’s built-in alert system immediately notifies users in anticipation of such problems, reducing time wasted digging for the cause and speeding up a resolution. Examples include late shipments, past dues, and new orders. Users are informed of these occurrences before they happen, as Lean espouses.

Approvals

Approvals are simply an expansion of alerts – they allow specific individuals to be involved or to stop certain processes at a given time. SAP B1 has a built-in approval process that stops transaction processing based on specific information (i.e. credit limits, target margins, etc.), which results in better, timelier business decisions in Lean fashion.

Best Practices

SAP’s B1 solution provides tools and functionality to streamline your current process from quote generation and order management to delivery and invoicing. Important data and documentation are also securely stored within the system for easy access, eliminating paper files and reducing time wasted searching for necessary information – both consistent with Lean thinking.

There are great synergies between Lean and SAP B1 ERP – and they’ve only grown closer with the help of new technology.

Is your business considering an ERP solution to help initiate and/or enhance its Lean practices? If so, the Acuity team would love to discuss the benefits of implementing SAP’s B1 solution to get your business running lean and mean! Contact us to today at www.teamacuity.biz for more information.

Topics: lean manufacturing, SAP Business One, lean

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