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Suggestions for a beginner PP/QM consultant

Dec 11, 2017 at 08:26 AM


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Hello All,

I will start by thanking this community, I have learned a lot from here ( honestly everything!). I want to continue on this path and need some advice/suggestions.

1. How should a beginner ( 1 year of supporting a client ) should move forward in SAP PP and QM module.

2. I have access to a sandbox system, How can I implement a complete system (practice).

Thank you again.

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4 Answers

Craig S
Dec 11, 2017 at 03:11 PM

Time. It takes time. The biggest problem I see with new consultants is that they usually have only been exposed to one way of implementing QM. And that becomes a problem when you try to go out and consult. I recommend for one, that you stick to a specific industry type and build yourself a niche. Learn the business first. It's understanding the business first, and the technical stuff second that makes you a valuable resource or consultant, IMHO.

Don't try to be a jack of all trades. If I see a string of SAP modules on a consultants resume I'm inclined to toss it in the garbage. Having FI, SD, PP, PP_PI, MM, QM, PM after your name, all in the same resume just tells me one thing. You don't really know any of them at any depth. Find one module/area and understand it to a level of 90%. Maybe two if they are related. After 20 years of doing nothing but QM, I still find things in QM that I don't know. And things that I thought I knew. And things that change. And new functionality that I have to learn. For instance, the whole audit management module was added in and I have yet to have a client that decided to use it. So my knowledge of it is very limited. Only what I can learn by playing in a sandbox. But frankly, time to "play" in a sandbox is limited and it takes a lower priority to almost everything else. So I haven't gotten to know it well. BUT.. I know of it, and its purpose and the basics of it enough to recommend to a customer if they should use it or not. The same thing goes with the Stability package and other more archaic parts of QM. How about all these things: Source inspections? Early-warning system? Work-flow in notifications? Certificate storage? Digital signatures? QM authorizations? Active-ingredient? Billing using active-ingredient? Use of organizational groups in classification? Batch cockpit functionality? Quality level updates? Costing of QM? Multiple-specs in QM? ECM with QM? QM and EWM? Batch levels? Split valuation? There's enough in QM to keep you busy. etc. etc.

Also, stick to a specific industry or maybe two. My area has always been in the chemical and pharma business areas. So in those industries, I have mostly worked with PP-PI and a lot of batch management in addition to QM. Now if you were to ask me to consult for the auto industry, or maybe the aerospace area I would probably decline. Could I do it? Maybe I could and if I was out of work I might try it. And I'd probably be better than many other people that pass themselves off as QM consultants. But, I wouldn't know the industry side as much and I could be doing a disservice to the client. Which I'd fully disclose to the client! And since I work in mostly PP-PI businesses, and not with routings, repetitive manufacturing, or serialization on a regular basis, I'm probably a bit lacking on all the integration points and other things unique to these areas.

Don't get hung up on the technical side. I can almost always find technical help from somewhere. And technical help is pretty much 1's and 0's. There isn't a lot of thought going into it. I'm not referring to program design, program efficiency, etc.. those are a different set of skills. With some research, most of what you need to find out is explained somewhere on the web Or at least well enough that with some exploration and testing, you can usually figure it out

For instance, I can usually always find someone that can tell me what a certain indicator in SAP does from a technical standpoint. If I have to, I can get an ABAP resource and together we can debug it and figure out what it does. But what is much harder, is finding the person that can actually explain to me WHY an indicator is there to begin with and what impact or value it has to a particular business.

Network #1. Build your bridges and never, ever burn them. That horrible client or co-worker you have today, could be your project manager or boss five years or 8 projects down the road. I know first hand. Its happened to me and has helped me land on new projects. I've also had numerous repeat gigs with the same clients. To me, this is one of the most important things to see on a person's resume, especially an independent consultants resume. Sometimes it just doesn't happen timing wise for one reason or another, but I don't think there is any bigger endorsement for someone than to be asked to keep coming back. I always tell people when looking at resumes, look for repeat gigs with the same company. Even if its as a subcontractor to a consulting firm. Consulting firms like IBM, Accenture, KPMG, Tata aren't bringing you back if you left a bad impression the first time around with one of their clients.

Network #2. Your most valuable resources are the ones you can text or IM and get assistance from. If you find someone that does what you do, embrace them as a friend, and colleague. Not competition for your next job. I have about a half dozen key QM people that I know I can reach out to practically 24hrs a day and I'll get a response back from them in usually less then a few hrs, more likely almost immediately. I have a second tier of consultants that I've met over the years that I know are specialists in their areas, i.e. PP, PP-PI, PM, WM, SD, etc.. The closer they are to your industry area, the better. These people are also in my phone and on speed dial. And I try to make it a point that whenever they reach out to me, I try to respond as quickly as possible to them. Each time I do, it's like an investment in my future. A deposit to my 401K. Over the years I've tried to always recommend them when I know they are on the bench looking for projects and they have done the same for me. Pick all these people carefully. Your network will define you. If you have bad consultants recommending you, people will assume you are probably bad too. If you recommend a bad person, that will follow you as well. This network takes time to grow.

Network #3 Carefully consider what recruiters and agencies you work with. There are a lot of snakes out there. There are also a lot of very good people trying to do a good job for their clients. Use network #2 to help weed the bad ones out and find the good ones. You only need 3-5 good ones on speed dial. Don't hesitate to talk to them regularly and keep them updated on what you are doing. Yes, you are a paycheck to them mostly. But a few good ones will become good network buddies. Help them out too if you can once in a while. (see reference to deposits in your 401K above).

Be honest with yourself and others. Don't say you can do something if you don't have relative confidence that you can. Know your weak areas and either improve them or steer away from projects where the weakness will have negative affects for you or the project.

And lastly, Don't stop learning. When you feel you have nothing more to learn, that's when you probably need to learn something the most. It's kind of like AA or NA. When you don't think you need a meeting, it is probably when you need one the most. Find new challenges, make up new challenges for yourself. Go to a user group meeting. Go to a seminar. Take a night school course. Invite a friend in your network to dinner, coffee or drinks.

I know you probably wanted something more technical in nature. Too bad. :-)

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Thank you very much Craig. I did share this answer of yours with my fellow colleagues and this really has helped.

Don't be a jack of all trades is an advice every should get, because just a week back I wanted to learn every possible module and learn it as soon as possible.

I have seen many people hung up only on technicalities of SAP ( myself included ) with never really bothering about the BUSINESS.

I am definitely going to change my approach towards learning and I feel ill be referring to this post after every week.

Thank you

sandeep praharaj Dec 11, 2017 at 09:45 AM


You can go ahead by doing a training or you can make config by going through

a ides system by assuming some existing configuration.

Thanks & Regards


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Anita Arifin Dec 12, 2017 at 08:33 AM

hello Mr.Digvijay,

1. I think that you must join SAP implementation project first.

you can learn many things in project.

If you can't join project you can join SAP course.

2. You can check standard configuration and transaction in IDES system first.

After that you can practice in sandbox, start from configuration first.

Best regards


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DIGVIJAY MANIKTALA Dec 14, 2017 at 05:23 AM

Thank you every one for your answers.

Please pardon me, Is there any way I can provide points/reps for your suggestions? I am fairly new here.

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