In 2013, SAP introduced the SAP Fiori Launchpad and dared to take the step of offering a new user interface alongside the previously familiar classic SAP GUI for the first time. SAP aims to make the system easier to use with the web-based Fiori apps and a modern user experience, so it is simple for every user to understand and can be used on any mobile device (e.g. desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet). A detailed explanation of the Fiori Launchpad components (including app classification), as well as a description of the requirements for using the Fiori apps, can be found in the “What is SAP Fiori? An introduction to SAP’s new UI for S/4HANA” blog post. There have already been several Fiori upgrades to date. Each release has added new apps, updated existing apps, and improved the Launchpad’s performance. But what changes have SAP Fiori and its releases brought for the SAP Materials Management module? Can Fiori replace the SAP GUI? What advantages does Fiori have over the SAP GUI and are there any general disadvantages?
ANALYTICAL FIORI APPS IN MATERIALS MANAGEMENT
Analytical apps are used to provide and present contextual information about desired business processes in real-time and a simple front-end user interface. Analytical apps allow you to closely monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), enabling you to react immediately to changing market conditions, for example. By using analytical Fiori apps, you save yourself the trouble of accessing countless SAP transactions to collect individual data. At the same time, the apps visualize the information provided and present it in the form of diagrams, making the manual creation of diagrams by exporting data unnecessarily. Below you will find a selection of analytical Fiori apps you should know.
The Procurement Overview Page app (Fiori app ID F1990) offers the purchasing department the possibility to read all relevant and important information for daily business on a single page at a glance.
The simple tile display shows information such as expiring contracts, overdue orders, or urgent purchase requisitions and makes it accessible. This means the tiles do not just provide an overview, but the buyer can also open them separately to obtain more detailed information. Thanks to this simplified analysis of the facts, measures can therefore be initiated immediately. Using the procurement KPIs provided, buyers can easily monitor their area of work or responsibility, recognize trends early on, and identify potential areas for improvement.
It does not matter whether they’re strategic or operational, the procurement cockpit provides valuable information for the entire purchasing department. While the strategic buyer is more interested in supplier performance and its development, the operational buyer needs to know which purchase requisitions have to be processed or when purchase order items are scheduled to be delivered, and what their status is. To ensure that only the required information is displayed for the respective buyer, SAP offers a function to show and hide each individual tile. This ensures that the user is not confronted with superfluous figures, data, and facts.
The Operational Supplier Evaluation app (Fiori app ID F1662A) can be used to get a deeper insight into supplier performance. This app can be accessed and launched both from the procurement overview and as a separate personalized tile from the Fiori Launchpad homepage. The strategic buyer can see weighted scores regarding price, quantity, time, and quality deviations for selected suppliers at a glance displayed graphically. The weighting is defined separately in the Supplier Evaluation Weighting and Scoring app (Fiori app ID F2551). Other parameters (questionnaires, inspection lots) can also be taken into account here. These are then consequently included in the weighting and, therefore, in the evaluation too. Within the evaluation, the buyer can react instantly to supplier deficits using links and initiating development measures. If an overall evaluation is not desired, you can hide individual key figures. However, this is not the only option to consider individual key figures in isolation in the supplier evaluation. SAP also offers separate apps for this purpose, which can be found using the App Finder in the Purchasing Analyses group.
Overview Inventory Management
In addition to the already explained Procurement Overview app in Purchasing, SAP offers an app with congruent functionality to monitor the inventory situation. This is the Overview Inventory Management app (Fiori app ID F2769). Thanks to a minimalist yet sufficiently informative overview, all KPIs relevant to the inventory management environment are displayed graphically. It is also possible to conduct more in-depth research and transactional processing for each individual KPI using drill down. Questions regarding stock in transit, warehouse throughput levels, or goods-receipt blocked stock to be processed can be answered with the help of this insight. In terms of function, both apps are absolutely identical and only differ in their KPI characteristics.
TRANSACTIONAL FIORI APPS IN MATERIALS MANAGEMENT
Transactional Fiori apps are used when transactional tasks are to be executed. This means that they are mainly used to interactively carry out existing business processes. Transactional apps can be used, for example, to create a purchase order within materials management, post a goods receipt, or create a logistics invoice verification. Below you will find a selection of interesting transactional Fiori apps.
Mass Changes to Purchasing Info Records
The Mass Changes to Purchasing Info Records app (Fiori App ID F2667) gives the buyer the function to delete several purchasing info records at the same time. The app also offers the possibility to adjust field values congruently and simultaneously for several purchasing info records. As is generally the case with Fiori, this app also impresses with its clarity as well as easy-to-understand structure, and intuitive handling. But unfortunately, the user has to make certain compromises when using this app. Although it facilitates the updating of purchasing info records, it only does so to a certain extent. Price changes, for example, cannot be updated. To adjust the conditions, each info record must still be accessed and changed individually. A separate app, Monitor Purchasing Info Records Price History (Fiori App ID F2988), must also be opened to view price developments for the purchasing info records. This costs time and as we all know, time is money. The Buyers Cockpit provides a remedy. The Buyers Cockpit is an add-on developed in-house by PIKON Deutschland AG. With the help of this add-on, it is possible to make mass price changes, create mass purchasing info records, or delete them using mass maintenance. Price developments can be displayed both numerically and graphically, as well as collected and analyzed in this tool. The adjustments are made by exporting data to Excel and re-importing previously selected info records. One huge advantage is that selected suppliers can be sent Excel lists containing just the respective supplier’s materials. The suppliers can then, for example, adjust their prices or the supplier material number in the Excel file. After receiving the updated file, it can simply be uploaded to the Buyers Cockpit, which transfers the adjustments to the system. Changes are displayed by the Buyers Cockpit in percentage and absolute terms, as well as highlighted in color. In addition to these functions, the Buyers Cockpit offers many other useful features that simplify the work of purchasing info records.
Have we aroused your interest in the Buyers Cockpit? For more information, read the blog post “How to simplify the mass maintenance of purchasing info record data” or contact us. We look forward to hearing from you and are happy to answer any further questions you may have!
App-integrated barcode scanning
This subchapter does not deal with a specific app, as has been the case so far, but rather with a useful function that is available in several apps and makes operational logistical work easier. Where a lot of additional work was previously required to install external scanners into the existing SAP landscape by the interface, now all you have to do is connect a device with camera access (tablet, smartphone) to the company network by using Fiori. Selected apps already have an integrated barcode scan function as standard, which can be enabled or disabled within the respective app.
This ensures that companies can, for example, record incoming goods without much effort using barcode scanning, rendering manual entries obsolete. In addition to the amount of time barcode scanning saves during the work process, it also considerably minimizes the risk of input errors and thus significantly improves efficiency.
Why use Fiori Apps fo materials management
Interacting with the system feels very familiar, thanks to the use of an app interface design that is familiar to the majority of its users. The intuitive design of the apps suggests that inexperienced new employees can potentially be trained more effectively and learn to use the system more quickly. Another bonus is the introduction of analytical apps. Analytical apps are a perfect enhancement, creating new ways to monitor and evaluate one’s area of work. With these apps, Fiori is offering new functions that were previously not possible in the SAP GUI and thus expanding its application portfolio.
However, SAP’s goal of improving the user experience through Fiori has not been fully accomplished yet. While the app design contributes constructively to how easy the system is to use, there are isolated points that detract from the user experience. Since Fiori is web-based, longer loading times may occur from time to time. This can occur either because of a poor internet connection or because the user browser cache settings are not optimized. Furthermore, it should be extensively tested and verified that the apps work correctly before they are put to use. Depending on the SAP system release status, incorrect evaluations and functions may occur from time to time within the respective application, particularly in the case of analytical apps. The more recent the system version, the less likely it is that errors will occur. Known malfunctions can, however, be corrected by importing SAP notes. The malfunctions are then maintained by SAP and the corrections are inserted with the next system update at the latest.
Nevertheless, it can be said that Fiori is an enhancement for materials management as well. Precisely because you don’t have to decide between GUI and Fiori, but can use both user interfaces side by side.
Do you have further questions about Fiori? Arrange a web meeting with our experts or ask us your question in the comments section.