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This is Part 4 of the Global Bicycle Inc. (GBI 2.0) story, as related by an intern. The full series begins with Global Bicycle Inc.: An Intern Adventure.

The Search for Master Data: Customers & Vendors


We now had the material master data and we had the accounts. We could buy and sell materials, but we had no one to buy them from or sell them too. The creation of customers was the next task and one where we got to be a little creative.


It was decided that GBI should have 12 customers who would buy their products. It was specifically decided that 12 customers would be used. 12 customers gave GBI just enough variety in customers, yet it did not inundate us with master data that had to be created in the system. The GBI Steering Committee decided that these customers should have addresses of actual SAP US locations. This way, if some enterprising soul decided to go Google (or Bing or Yahoo) an address they found in the GBI training environment, it would turn up as an actual SAP location (good marketing trick, right?).  I proceeded to go to SAP’s website and locate the list of all SAP US offices. I decided that since GBI was a national company, it only made sense that its customers should be located all over the United States. Thus the customers I created ended up in locations such as Boston, Miami, Chicago, and of course Grand Rapids, MI (the convenient location of GVSU, must have one for the home location right?). I now had the number of customers, the location of the customers, and their physical addresses.


It was at this point that I got to have fun and get creative-I got to invent the names of these customers. I attempted to link the name of the customer to something significant in the city where they were located. Additionally, I tried to make it so students would not have too difficult of a time trying to remember what city the customer was located in. Thus I came up with the following:



City / State

Why that Name!

Rocky Mountain Bikes

Denver, Colorado

Right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains.

Big Apple Bikes

New York City, New York

Famous nickname of the city.

Philly Bikes

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Famous abbreviation of the city.

Peachtree Bikes

Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia is known for its peaches.

Beantown Bikes

Boston, Massachusetts

A nickname for the city. Back in colonial days, a favorite Boston food was beans baked in molasses for several hours. Yum?

Windy City Bikes

Chicago, Illinois

Famous nickname for the city.

Furniture City Bikes

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids was the first center of mass produced furniture in North America.

Motown Bikes

Detroit, Michigan

Famous nickname. Music anyone?

SoCal Bikes

Irvine, California

Irvine is located in Southern California. Thus So (southern) Cal (California).

Silicon Valley Bikes

Palo Alto, California

Silicon Valley is next door neighbors to Palo Alto.

DC Bikes

Washington, District of Columbia

One of my less creative moments.  The link is pretty apparent.

Northwest Bikes

Seattle, Washington

Seattle is in the North West of the continental United States. Not too creative, but it works.


Once this was done, I again had to perform an exercise that was becoming all too familiar- I had to enter into the SAP system, determine the necessary fields that would need values, and create the all important master data spreadsheet. See Global Bicycle Inc.:  An Intern Adventure. Part 2.1 of the series for exact steps on how this was accomplished.


The GBI Steering Committee came back with one main suggestion-all customer names should end with the word “Bikes.” This was so customers could easily be separated from vendors in the system. It was a suggestion that made sense and was duly carried out (as is evidenced in the table above).   Thus the customer located in Grand Rapids, MI, which I had originally named Furniture City, now became Furniture City Bikes.


The next task was to create the vendors for GBI, or who GBI would procure materials and goods from. The process for creation of the vendors was exactly the same as the one used to create the customers. For the same reasons, it was decided that GBI would also have 12 vendors. This had the additional benefit of allowing almost all materials and products to be procured from two sources. Having the majority of the materials being procured from multiple sources laid the groundwork for future enhancements to GBI, and was “real world” specific. In the “real world” items are purchased from multiple vendors, usually form whoever sells them cheapest, or offers the best quality. Take the Water Bottle (BOTL1000) a trading good GBI sells. Currently it can be procured from either Spy Gear, or Fun n the Sun Seats n Bars. For the exact same price from both vendors ($10). This is not very “real world” accurate, but was done for simplicities sake. If however, some enterprising individual would like to create an advanced procurement exercise, they could give the different materials different prices from each vendor, and the student could determine from whom to buy them from, allowing them the most profit.


It was decided that a few specific items would be single source (the bikes frames, the t-shirts, and the carbon composite wheel). This also, was “real world” specific. Companies always have a few items that they purchase solely from one supplier. The two companies might have a long business relationship, they just might have better quality, the possibilities are endless.  By having these three items single sourced, it was just one more way we tried to keep GBI as “real” as possible. Well, you might be saying, why those three items? Good question. The bike frames and the carbon composite wheel were designed by GBI, and they are GBI’s advantage over the competition. It is what sets a GBI bike apart from a competitor’s bike. As such, GBI wants as few companies as possible to have the specifics on how to make these GBI specific items (real world specific). And the t-shirt you ask? Well, we needed another item, and the t-shirt seemed as good as any.


They all received actual addresses of SAP US offices, and they were located around the country as well. An additional requirement was that the names of the vendors should give a clue as to what they sold. For example, Space Bike Composites sells the carbon composite bike frames and wheels to GBI. I also was able to be creative here with the names, and came up with the following:



City / State

Why that Name!

Olympic Protective Gear

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta was the home of the 1994 Olympics.

Boomtown Tire & Wheel

Cincinnati, Ohio

In the early 19th century, this city was the first American boomtown in the heart of the county to rival the larger coastal cities in size and wealth.

Dallas Bike Basics

Irving, Texas

Irving is practically in Dallas (if you believe Google Maps) thus the connection.

Lightbulb Accessory Kits

Edison, New Jersey

Thomas Edison (who invented the light bulb) had his main laboratory in the Menlo Park section of the town.

Space Bike Composites

Houston, Texas

Houston is the home of NASA.

Night Rider Aluminum Products

LaCrosse, Wisconsin

For the life of me, I cannot remember how I came up with this name. And re-looking it up yielded no results. It seems to be a mystery.

Spy Gear

McLean, Virginia

McLean is the home of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Rapids Nuts n Bolts

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Rapids, Grand Rapids, an uncreative moment in the midst of creativity.

Green Blazers Seats

Portland, Oregon

A double reference. Portland has been referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly or “green” cities in the world. Also the home of the Trail Blazers, an NBA team.

Fun n the Sun Seats n Bars

Miami, Florida

They have sun, people have fun in Miami on vacation.

Sunny Side Up Tire

Scottsdale, Arizona

It is always sunny, and the residents are always upbeat in this “desert version of Miami’s South Beach.”

Redwood Kits

Carlsbad, California

My initial thinking was that the great Redwood trees of California were located here. Upon re-researching for this blog however, it looks like I was incorrect in this fact.


Some of the names I originally came up with were confusing to people who spoke English as a second language, so the GBI Steering Committee came back with a few suggestions on how to make the names a bit more workable (those suggestions are incorporated already in the list presented above). Once again, at the end, I had another masterful master data spreadsheet.


For the record, as I wrote up this blog I could not remember why I came up with some of the names that I did, and I had to re-Wikipedia them. It might not be a scholarly source good enough for colligate papers, but it is still a good source of preliminary information.