min read

The Value of Accurate Data

Why do so many companies that run SAP do so much outside of SAP?

Stephen Smith

SAP is an incredibly powerful tool with organizations investing significant time and money to implement SAP.  

Inevitably they think SAP functionality is wrong or under-delivering so they start using spreadsheets without realizing that SAP is a wonderfully designed system and is basically following what you tell it to do. So, if you are encountering problems, perhaps you are telling it, through the data you have or haven’t entered, the wrong thing. If you put inaccurate data into your SAP system, you’ll get inaccurate data out. Accurate data is a must to ensure your SAP system will work well for you. Here are a few examples:

The Data Impact on SAP

SAP is not psychic, it just knows what it knows and will base its decisions on that. If there is a purchase order with a delivery date of Jan. 1, 2000, for 100 motors but the motors were never received in SAP and today you need 100 motors, SAP won’t suggest a new purchase order (PO), in it’s thought process there is no need to worry – they should be here today, they’re just late. SAP does tell you via an exception message, to reschedule this 1/1/2000 order to today but we know better than that: Those 100 motors from the turn of the century are simply not going to show up, you know it but if SAP takes this PO as a fact. There is a simple solution: Get rid of the old, inaccurate PO so the system can do its job of planning. We run into these situations all the time. How old is the oldest overdue element in your system? It may surprise you.

Evaluate the Rules You Set in SAP

Each material in SAP requires a set of rules. Let’s say you want to order nozzles once a week, but SAP creates an order every day. No big deal, you simply change the order to the weekly amount and delete the rest, week after week after week. Instead, why not get SAP to work for you – and not create unnecessary work for you? Changing the MRP rules to use a weekly lot size instructs SAP to create the right order each week. Many companies set rules up when they go live and then manually work around the results. Are you constantly fixing bad results? Take a look at your rules, and remember, inaccurate data is costing you time and money.

Perhaps you are using SAP to run your manufacturing plant, do you find your team constantly working in spreadsheets, not the system? If you question them, you probably hear the common answer: The system cannot be trusted, it’s full of bad data and always gives me the wrong order amount. Sound familiar? Often, organizations find themselves in this position because there is an issue with work centers, routings or bills of material. Remember, SAP trusts the data you provide. If the routing says it will take 1 day to build a computer, but reality says it takes 5 days, SAP will plan for that 1 day you told it. Again, inaccurate data is costing you time and money.

It’s Important to Reevaluate — Frequently

SAP is an amazing integrated and flexible tool. But it’s so flexible that if it is not set up properly, it will provide erroneous and inaccurate results. Let’s take the one-day routing issue: It causes a problem from the manufacturing planning perspective but thinks also about the financial side of your business. That same routing may be sending a signal to your finance department that the cost to build a computer is only 1 day of labor, while the reality is 5 days of labor. An integrated system like SAP depends on the accurate data and all of the data is linked to other areas in the company. How can you make good pricing decisions if the data from the system is inaccurate, most people don’t they just pull out their pricing spreadsheet leading to more inaccuracies ….

Best Practices to Ensure Accurate Data in SAP

You’ve made the initial investment to implement SAP. Invest the time and effort to make the system work for you by ensuring that the data you are using is accurate:

  • Make the time to clean up old transactions.
  • Review the rules you set in SAP.
  • Keep adjusting your master data until SAP is working for you.


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