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Implementing SAP from basic excel


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I am going to be using this space to document our transition and implementation to SAP.

I will share what I can and provide as much info for people reading and also for your comments. To say I have been thrown in at the deep end would be about right but it is all good. I am lucky to be able to have this experience on my CV.

The story so far; we are part of a multinational company that has SAP on their sites in the US and are now rolling it out to UK sites. The project stared in the middle of this month and is expected to wrap up around October.

Our site has a couple of challenges, very little CMMS, outdated inventory and no site designated planner. However, the need for one has been recognised as vital and is expected over the next couple of months.

My role presently is as an engineering manager, I am heading up this SAP project on our site and have begun to populate the master data file. This coming week we have set about employing a resource to begin to put every item in the engineering stores onto an excel sheet for the load. it is my responisibility to generate the workcenters, locations and equipment lists for the masterdata. We have a few weeks to get this compiled which is no mean feat when no legacy system exists. 

I have a question on functional locations, is it better to be broad and abstract, and have fewer locations. Or be more specefic and have more locations?

My thinking is too many locations will prove difficult to maintain, but then too few may make searching difficut?

Having not used SAP before in any real capacity it would be good to get some thoughts.








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Hi @Hadwll,

That is a really good experience and will definitely add a lot to you CV. It is quite rare to find people who have gone through this situation.

I haven't implemented SAP anywhere, but I led a project that aimed at creating a standard system for different plants (standard FLOCs, equipment, BOMs, Datasheets, criticality and maintenance plans), which is not that exciting, but tought me a lot.

You do have a challenge ahead, especially because you said you have just a few weeks. This sort of project requires a lot of attention to details, so try to plan every single step to ensure you will be able to meet your deadline with a high quality work. For instance, one single typo might be enough for a few hours of downtime as you could be buying the wrong part due to this typo, especially when you are creating the bill of materials for hundreds of pieces of equipment.

In regards to the functional locations, I recommend using a detailed hierarchy. Try to use different levels when creating your FLOCs (Site-Process-Subprocess-Equipment Tag), this might mean more work now, but can save you a lot of time in the future when analysing improvement opportunities. There is a standard for this topic, but I cant remember now. I will have a look here to see what I can find.

Also, if you allow me to suggest something, try to have a diverse team working with you. For instance, get people who really experienced on your plant that will have information about the pieces of equipment or where to find the information required, and people really good with this master data thing and spreadsheets. Those two sort of professionals working together will definitely be able to speed up and provide quality to your project.

I do like this topic and I am looking forward to reading more about your experience.


Raul Martins

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Hi @Raul Martins,

For sure I am glad to be part of the project. The external SAP team has requested a functional hierarchy like you say, in the form 4-2-5-16

4- site code





We are picking a numbering system for the equipment presently, each piece of equipment will have a nameplate welded onto the frame that will be easily found in SAP.

if anyone has thoughts, we are thinking we will go with the following configuration.

site-workcentre-equipment type- equipment number 

so an example number may be


Site-2nd process-centrifugal pump-002

We have an excel wiz onboard and a number of the shift technicians are in on the act as well. I think we all agree the importance of quality when it comes to having the responsibility of setting up this system.

The count of the inventory has started this will be a much larger ongoing task, but it has begun. Apart from that, yesterday was spent entering more equipment and functional locations into the MasterData.

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Hi @Hadwll,

On ‎6‎/‎2‎/‎2020 at 2:20 PM, Hadwll said:


Site-2nd process-centrifugal pump-002

I think that is fine.

Also try to create detalied descriptions for those funtional locations. For instance:

CF34-2P-CP-002 - Raw water pump from tank A to tank B


This is really handy when doing failure analysis and understanding the process of your plant.


Raul Martins

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Short update. 

Work centers are complete and the cost centers have been assigned by the site accountant. 

I gave a short presentation to the team introducing SAP, what a work centre is, functional location and the reason for the equipment lists. 

This was as much for me to be 100% clear and be able to give a good explanation. 

I created a CAD drawing of the site showing the work centers that I will plot out A1 for the techs and the planner. Same with the functional locations to follow. 

This will greatly assist the technicians if they are creating work orders for breakdowns, so I am being told. 

We have about 10 days left to get the functional locations and equipment lists compiled. Not coming from a legacy system means we are going to be busy.

We altered the machinery number slightly to remove the site code and introduce a line ID. 

It is now. 


Process 2 line 1 conveyor number 1.

Reasoning being for the technicians searching will should be able to remember the line when they get back to the workstation and can pick the item of equipment from there. We are being guided by a sister site who have implemented the system, this is their advice and we are glad of it. 


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Hi @Hadwll,

It has been really interesting to read your posts.

In regards to the new FLOC structure, if your site has no interaction and there is no plans at all to have this interaction with other sites, then the site code is not necessary.

Yet, if they plan to have one system for all of the sites, then I recommend using the site code and add the line ID. This would result in 5 levels on your structure, which is something very common in many companies.


Kind regards,

Raul Martins

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great insight @Raul Martins thank-you.

Checking in again on the project.

We have completed the Work Centres (WC) and FLOC  and are working our way through the equipment.  We are drawing information from many places, for example we had a pump survey completed a few years ago which details all the makes and models of every pump in the plant, this info will be invaluable once I have updated.

I met with the insurance inspector today as he has an asset list of all the pressurised vessels, boilers, compressors etc. It will speed me up in compiling the list. We had a discussion on how we will be able to schedule the inspections into the PM plan.

The other sites we are working with are struggling with resources  for compiling the master data. A number of the guys are trying to do their normal job, so things have been pushed out abit. As such we have endeavoured to have the equipment list completed by the end of this week and then we are going to begin to add the task lists.

The second part of our task is to get all of the spare parts that are in the engineering store onto excel for upoad, luckly I have good help with this side of the project we are taking this time to grade each spare part as below. ( I cannot take credit for this system, one of our equipment suppliers grades their parts this way)

A- Consumable (parts that are used weekly by the machine in normal service)

B- Breakdown part (if this part becomes broke on the machine it results in line downtime or the process is severly impacted)

C- minor overhaul part (parts typically reduired during minor overhaul >1year)

D- major overhaul part (required for major overhaul <1 year)

E- parts that have been  required to be replaced after an inspection historically,

By this logic we should always have A and B parts instock to ensure that we are well covered during normal production. C, D and E I am thinking we can maintain stock for the common items and order the remainder for upcoming services. 

Please let me know what you guys think.







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  • 2 weeks later...

Project is on track, we are submitting the WC, FL and equipment list  now for upload on Friday, we have totally only 500 assets so not a massive amount. I spent yesterday verifying serial and model numbers with my team. Looks good. 


The next stage is adding the task lists. Pm schedule etc. We are creating the CA10 text keys

CA10 being the transaction code for the text key, which in this case is going to be then textural procedure for completing the task. (I am assuming) 

Presently we have a paperbased system most are in word format so we are transferring it all over to notepad .Txt for the load. 

We are getting our test accounts this week so we can trial the software. This is going to be key, we have 50 staff that need trained out. I will develop the procedures and make up a matrix for the teams. There will be a training plan so everyone is comfortable before go live in October. 

I have came across a couple of texts I am looking at. 

SAP business user guide


configuring SAP PM


The first text should give us a head start on configuring SAP to run shift reports etc. 

I have also been reading some info on ABAP which is very interesting to me as i am somewhat of a programming enthusiast. 



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  • 4 weeks later...
  • Founder

Thanks for sharing your SAP journey with us @Hadwll

When you train your staff make sure you do not just train your staff in SAP transactions, but that you train them in the business process so they understand what they're being asked to do, how to do it and why.

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  • 5 weeks later...


Hi Erik,  I will bear that in mind, really there are only a few transactions the technicians will be using and it will be getting them used to using them and as you said explaining their purpose.


Small update, we have compiled the master data for the PM including the task lists and PM plans. It has yet to be loaded into the testing environment as the project team is busy with the other sites that are due to go live before us. Our go live is set now for the 2nd week in November.


The test scripts for the software are now complete we have 6 roles defined Planner, maint manager, maint supervisor, mechanic, part room lead and part room attendant.  The master data that was loaded checks out so far.


The material side of the project is now the focus we have 3-5k parts in the room and no record of them. The process is to log the parts from the shelf to excel and then the SAP codes have to be checked if they are on the system. if not they either have to be created from scratch or requested to be extended from another site.  We have had to bring in external support for this section of the project as the task is so great.


There has been some discussion on how the notifications should be raised at our site. Weather it would be the operations dept or logged by the maint dept. One site that is coming from a legacy system is looking like it will have the operations dept make the requests.  Our site that is coming from excel, were we did not have such a system is looking like the main dept will be asked to log the requests. 


I plan to make a presentation to the top management at the plant next week to coerce them into pushing the project team towards the operations team making the requests. 

In my head the main advantages are that there will be fewer missed notifications as the operations team will have direct access to the system.  resulting in a better service from the main dept.

It will create more items in the bucket list providing the chance for increased utilisation of our workforce,

it frees up the planner to do other tasks in SAP.

The machine minders will be able to enter a much greater detail and less chance of error than if it had to be input manually by the planner. 

Our technical dept will be able to log and keep track of their notifications on fabrication as they are closed out.  

If there are further examples, please let me know your thoughts or if you have any tips for securing the top managements support for the project.



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