Saturday, 14 November 2009

Where does the time go?

I've just realised that it is nearly a month since my last update and about 7 weeks to the end of the year. Where does the time go?

We are still struggling with the SAP system, and now the consultants have all gone so we are very much on our own. We have a list of items that they still haven't gotten working, and our CEO spent over a hour on the phone to their director to try to get them to accept responsibility to fix these items, some of which have been on the issues list for 2 years.

I managed to resolve part of the problem with the invoicing - we now get the invoice run every day. At a meeting earlier in the week, our project manager said that this had totally fixed the problem, but after the meeting, he admitted that about half of the invoices are still not coming out right for one reason or another. Our finance manager did express some concern that without invoices going out, we won't have money coming in, and this could cause serious issues - we could potentially run out of liquid cash by the end of 1st quarter next year if the situation doesn't change.

In addition, it appears that there are a lot of jobs that haven't been invoiced at all - one of the guys did a quick check and it appears that this is actually an internal problem. People are completing a task, but it's not getting marked as complete, so the system won't process the job. Unfortunately, we can't just force it thru as there is no easy way to tell if the work has been done or not - it generally takes a couple of hours to confirm, by searching thru various paperwork.

There is still an issue with purchasing - jobs get re-scheduled, but the due date for items is not being adjusted correctly and several times, we found ouselves waiting for goods, or items were being delivered for something that has been put back acouple of months. It's more of an annoyance than a serious problem, but as part of the overall project doesn't make it look good.

The system is still not giving us many of the reports that we need. Various people were told to use different transactions, variants of specific reports etc. but many of these don't really seem to give us what we really need. Some of them seem to provide vey large amounts of data that is actually of no value what so ever. I had hoped to be able to spend some more on this during the project, but just never seemed to have the time.

As a result, I've booked one of my staff onto an SAP training course - it's way across the country at one of their actual training centers, and we want to see if the courses actually help; if they do, we may book some more. We do need to get better information about using the system, and we don't want to have to keep paying huge amounts every time we want to make minor changes. The courses are expensive, but if we get our people better trained, then it will prove worthwhile - having invested so much, we have to make the best of it.

Have to go, as we're off to visit my wife's parents - they're going on a cruise next week. Never thought that I would be envious of them!

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