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This is Part 6 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 Beginnings of Configuration

Soon after this we received access to a client with basic configuration completed for GBI hosted out of UCC Magdeburg, Germany. The client had the basic enterprise structure configuration completed; it had the plants, sales areas, division’s, etc., configured, but not much else. Our task was to try to execute the procurement process, document any errors we encountered, then configure and document the solution to the error. Create a purchase order, receive the shipment, receive the invoice, and send payment. That was our goal. We figured about week, maximum, and we would have it done. We were so wrong.  


Before we could jump right into testing, we had to enter the necessary master data. This included the General Ledger and Chart of Accounts, the Customer Master Data, the Vendor Master Data, and the Raw Material, Finished Goods, Semi-Finished Goods, and Trading Goods Master data. This required a bit of doing, as all materials were not in all three plants. Trading goods are only in the San Diego and Miami plants, Finished Goods are in all 3 plants, Raw materials and Semi-finished goods are only in the Dallas Plant. Customers and Vendors also had to be entered into the system multiple times based on the appropriate Sales Area and Distribution Channel.


Kevin Coolman and I were looking at about a week of entering in just all of the Master Data (about 20-30 hours’ worth of work-we were just part time interns). Not our first choice on how to spend the week, but such is life. After we got into it a ways, we hit upon an epiphany. There was no need for us to enter in ALL of the Master Data; rather all we needed was a broad subset of Master Data. All of the Customer and Vendor’s are created the same way, with the exact same fields filled out in the system. If the process works with a few of them, it will work with all of them. With this light-bulb moment, we chose a broad cross sections of master data to enter and quickly finished our task. Yet another lesson was learned.


Finally we got to testing. Open up an SAP session and enter in transaction code ME21N: create purchase order. Enter in a material and the other basic data, then click “SAVE”. We hope for success. We get an error message.  Double click and open up the message. Open up Google (which usually led us to the Forums on SDN. Most of the time, but not always). Find the solution, document it, and configure it. Repeat. Let the fun begin.