Keith: Good afternoon everyone, I want to thank you for taking the time to attend this afternoon’s webinar on 10 Lawson Supply Chain projects everyone should do. We’re calling it 10 Lawson Supply Chain carnival prizes, everyone’s a winner. We’ve had several webinars yesterday and today, we have three more tomorrow. I would like to thank everybody that’s involved behind the camera, our camera man Dan, Carlos, Greg, Bill, Logan. It takes a little bit of effort to put these together and have all the technology work, so much appreciated. Very excited today, Ms. Kowal, our presenter, has invited me to present with her. I think she was hoping for a pretty face, but I will not go gentle into that good night. I plan to talk plenty and have a great time in front of the camera. They don’t give you many opportunities.
Two quick housekeeping notes before we get started. First and foremost, Mr. Bill Getty would like you to know that we will be recording this webinar. It takes us about a week to get it edited and up into YouTube, and once we do our good friend Logan Miller will be emailing everybody that’s attended the link so that they can share it and watch as often as they like. Secondly, we love questions. It’s great to have a feedback loop, anything you want to throw at us, especially really hard ones for Stephanie, more than welcome. With that I think I’m allowed to drive-
Speaker 2: We already have a question.
Keith: Well shoot.
Speaker 2: It’s probably not a question, it’s more of a statement and it says if you really want to impress us before the webinar we’d like to see a cartwheel.
Keith: You’re going to ask Stephanie for that one because I am not going to be able execute that feat, but I understand that Mr. Bill Getty, if you sit here for the full hour, will be doing one at 4:00 PM eastern today. Well worth the wait. Before we get started here I just want to talk about the genesis of this presentation. There’s a sister one that’s going on right now with HR and eventually we’ll have one for Finance, but this was sort of sitting back and looking at projects that we feel that every organization, especially healthcare ones, should undertake to improve their Supply Chain. Some of these run the gamut from do-it-yourself to more elaborate ones that you might need some planning and support for. Definitely things that you should have in your radar.
Obviously we have a broad set of clients that attend these, so some of you may already be in process of rolling these out or have already rolled these out and we’re going to try to cater to that full spectrum depending on where you are on what next steps are because Stephanie’s a big believer in continuous improvement which makes her great for running some of these projects. I think that I’ll take the about RPI, you can see she’s very creative as well. I think one of the fun things about RPI is there’s a lot of cool, talented people with a lot of energy that like to get stuff done. Sometimes very motivating, very exciting to work with them. Very exciting to work with Ms. Kowal, and not just for myself, but the entire RPI team I think I speak for. Let’s get started.
Our number one project that every Supply Chain department should do-
Stephanie: MSCM, this is all encompassing to par counting, cycle counting, and receiving delivery. If you’re not utilizing MSCM today, it’s a fairly low timeline for implementation, it minimizes a lot of paperwork for your your Supply Chain, streamlines the whole process. Here you can see a couple screen grabs of what some of this access looks like. Even if you were utilizing this today, you may not be fully taking advantage of all the enhancements. Utilizing par forms, quantity on order, mass order quantity, even taking into consideration some of the badge access that you can use. If you’re using signatures, if you have the employee ID as part of your badge you can use that as a barcode scan and still require them to do the signature. Sometimes it can be very difficult to tell who the name is on the signature. By using the badge it will pull all that information in for you.
Keith: A couple things just to add to that, again on the full gamut, if you don’t have MSCM today … The first thing is you want to make sure that you have licensing, but I believe that most organizations are licensed for it. Once you verify that, what it really takes is it runs on its own separate server, but it’s not intensive in terms of hardware requirements. You need to set that up, it’s not a big project, and obviously sync it in with Lawson. You’ll need some handhelds, and the handhelds run I think about $1200 a pop or so. There’s a gentleman that shows up to all the user groups, they sell them. It really depends on the size of your organization. Big organizations we know might have 40 of them for all their par counters and so forth, but if you run in shifts, maybe you have four or five people counting at a time, you might not need that many to get started.
It’s better to have some of the stuff automated than none. I will say that for those of you that are using par, we’ve seen great return on people using them for cycle counts. I think actually Brent Bower did a project where he saw that the yearly physical inventory variance was diminished by 80% by implementing these bi-monthly cycle counts. Obviously our colleague Dan Farruggio has had the opportunity to implement RAD in quite a few places. It’s something that I feel like if you have the manpower internally, you can just do. The documentation’s out there, you can read through it, you can test it. If you were to hire us, it wouldn’t be a big project. Either way, MSCM, easy to swallow, not a big project, and you get a great return from the folks that are using it, they see the benefit of the system.
Stephanie: Absolutely, and even with the par cycle counting, taking a look at your select IDs again, you may have had them built by bin groups and there’s additional configurations that you can do through movement class or by special item groups which can help optimize the cycle count process. Definitely check that out.
Keith: Awesome. Number two, project every Supply Chain oganization should undertake.
Stephanie: Very, very passionate about mastering your data. With version 11 there is additional auditing features, even if you’re on 9 today make sure that in your ICO1 setup that you are auditing your Item Master and item source changes. With 10 you are now able to audit changes to your PO vendor item, agreements, templates, a whole bunch of additional changes here. This not only helps you track any kind of KPIs, how many changes are made in the system, but also trying to troubleshoot issues or just manage your information. You likely have an MMIS team that’s managing or trying to manage your Item Master, they get interrupted at various times throughout the day, or perhaps can’t finish the process because there’s open transactions.
By building some custom reports yourself to check some of these areas, see what’s missing, you really can help get a better control over the data. Also utilizing other tools like GHX’s NuVia or Vision’s Datalinks, they don’t answer all of your questions 100%, all of those needs that you have, but they can help you get some of that information and then having a process on how that detail is managed in your system. That’s a good place to start.
Keith: You mentioned version 11, I think you meant version 10-
Keith: You just have version 11 on the mind-
Keith: We’re obviously very excited about version 11, but I think when I like at master data, and I’ve spoken to a lot of organizations that understand that their Item Master, either because it’s been developed over the years or it’s compiled maybe from a couple of Item Masters that got cobbled together, most of their Vendor Master they’d know that probably stands to improve. I think that it just seems so big. It’s like how do you even start? Let’s say I’m an organization, we acquired another organization, we slammed the Item Master in, I know it’s kind of messy. How do I even start attacking that?
Stephanie: There’s a lot of different ways that you can go about it, and you need to… because data comes in from a lot of different places and you’re not always communicating certain changes. One area is the communication between AP and Supply Chain. AP may be making some changes with the Vendor Master, inactivated one vendor, created a brand new one. Building some auditing reports yourself, pulling some queries out of the system by matching up your item source or even your vendor agreements with the Vendor Master and looking for anything that has that de-add and activate or inactivate status. See what records you still have open in Supply Chain and IC, and NPO tables. From there you can make any necessary changes on your POs and also your Item Master files.
Another area, which I don’t see too often, it can be very difficult … A lot of you may be adding items to your Item Master for any kind of interface to your clinical system and they may not be purchased that often. Usually you find out that something’s wrong with your Item Master when you try to purchase the item and you get that exception back. Oftentimes just that one item is changed instead of looking at the full Item Master and other open POs and just doing a sort by vendor, by that manufacture number, and seeing what else needs to be changed. There’s a little bit more proactive work that can be done and the more you pinpoint some of these scenarios you can build some reports off of that to have them stand out to you sooner before the exception happens.
Keith: I totally hear that you’re controlling the process to stop the bleeding, I think as far as what you have existing you can do some incremental stuff. Attacking an entire Item Master, it might seem overwhelming, but you can start with simple tasks and give your organization enough time. The most important thing in terms of identifying and cleansing an Item Master is standardization. Your naming conventions, your manufacturer numbers, those are things you can just be attacking subsets at a time, leveraging the resources you have, and then you can start taking it to the next levels and being about dupes and checking inner measures and all that other kind of stuff.
Every time you change those you have consequences, but basically it’s a lot to chew on at once, but you can take some pieces.
Stephanie: Yeah, even one more thing-
Keith: Sure, please.
Stephanie: Item descriptions-
Stephanie: A lot you can just do with some Excel formulas. I myself just Google a bunch of different things to try to figure out what’s the best way to do it, but looking at all the first words that you have built in your item description. Making sure that if you’ve done any abbreviations that you look back to see if all of that one word is abbreviated to stay consistent and then utilizing the synonyms. That’s mostly used for RQC, IC32 to have those built. If someone clinical is looking for catheter and you have it abbreviated as cath that that will show up when they’re searching through RQC. Those are just some simple things, somewhat simple, that you just have to pull that information down, try to find what you’re looking for, make sure that you’re communicating to others and a lot you can update through uploads.
Keith: And know that they’re out there, right? Those synonyms, they tend to get built during the implementation and maybe not revisited later so it’s just good to know. There’s a lot of functionality sometimes we don’t look at every day.
Keith: Which brings us to number three, clean up your open transactions. This is something that we’ve encountered a lot, especially as we do cleanups, sometimes the symptoms are things like RNI because it pops up in the balance sheet and finance department starts asking question. In general, Lawson is a data system that needs to be maintained. Just like you hopefully brush your teeth on a regular basis, you want to go out and clean up the leftovers, they’re dated, open POs from 2002 do no one any benefits. They have repercussions in terms of that … I’ve heard stories that we can’t run that PO220 because it’s 500 pages. It’s 500 pages because you have all these open POs that you haven’t maintained. You have open PO lines, open service lines, you have RNI. Let’s talk a little bit about attacking those things because these are a lot of great almost do-it-yourself projects.
It’s stuff that we’ve done before ourselves but when you’re looking at open PO lines, that’s really about order quantities that have not been received, right? You can just query your POLINE table, look for order quantities, look for received quantities and look for canceled quantities. You’re just looking for the differential, and right from there you can build and upload to cancel those remainings. I know in the past it was a challenge sometimes because you did that through a change on the FC field and you put in the cancel quality and you had to go release the PO. There was an automated mechanism but now you can use that L, that cancel remaining, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t release the PO. That’s kind of a simple, low hanging fruit. That PO from 2002, it came, it didn’t come, it’s not coming tomorrow. I think similarly, it’s a little bit different with the service POs because that cancel remaining doesn’t exactly work.
What you’re going to want to do there is… you’re probably going to want to change the dollars to be what you have outstanding. Again, it doesn’t help anyone to have that open historically. Similarly RNI really what RNI is open receipts. Right and RNI’s natural part of the cycle as our open orders. We’re not saying go close the stuff from last week but RNI it’s two years old and the vendor hasn’t gotten paid. They’re probably not going to invoice you much less something from 1998 and 1999. RNI clean up, there’s some decisions that have too be made organizationally and what we found is best to get AP and Purchasing and Finance together and then to sort of automate the process of using old lines, using archiving or going direct. Just closing all that stuff out. At the end of the day what those three things they’re doing for you is they’re flipping that flag on the PO line to close.
That close flag is really important and that purchase header tracks the number of lines. There’s a field that says number of lines – 59, there’s a field that says number of closed lines – 58. When those two match and you’re on that PO190. Everybody should run the P0190, there’s no harm. All the PO190 is doing is saying if those two lines match, those two quantities, flip the purchase order to close. When that purchase header is flipped to close, it doesn’t show up on that open PO report and a lot of places now, it’s going to match exact. If it’s 59 lines that it thinks are on the PO and it thinks 60 are closed it’s not going to close either. Which brings us to our next thing, which is dealing with orphan records, which is something that definitely happens in Lawson. Maybe you want to-
Stephanie: Absolutely. Yeah, so sometimes what can happen is it’s just a system issue or bug and Lawson’s working on a patch-
Keith: Lawson has no bugs.
Stephanie: Or you’re in the middle of a patch and it left a record that you can’t close. Sometimes you utilize paint screens and when you are utilizing those paint screens, Infor is very specific on what fields need to be changed and how and in what order. If one of those things are missed, oftentimes it can leave those open orphan records. Sometimes things can just get frozen in the system so warehouse demand is a table that can get a little bit busy and that will add some additional records to your stock on hand detail, which often causes you to not be able to close a record. Working directly with Infor to make sure that you have the right process to clean up those orphan records is really important. You can do that by opening an incident with them.
Keith: It sounds like a lot to tackle but once you get into it, it really isn’t. It is something that you can manage on the side, I think that opening an Infor ticket is really good because at the end of the day you’re probably going to paint screen, but it’s nice when they say you have to do it instead of saying we’re not responsible. It looks like we have a question, if that question is whether PO25.7 connects with Lease Management, the answer is still we don’t know. What do we have now?
Speaker 2: I’m not sure if it’s a question or a statement, but we’ll try it anyway. For service lines, cancelling the remaining from the action bar on the header will close out service lines created in version 9.
Keith: That’s awesome. Basically what we’re saying is that the cancel remaining from the header will close out the open service lines. Again, I think this is just a maintenance thing and sort of twofold. Just like when we talk about RNI, there’s ongoing maintenance which everybody should have, just monitoring and cleanup, just a little bit easier. Then there’s, hey we implemented again, 15 years nobody’s ever done this and we have all these open transactions, but it’s certainly something that very overcomable and some sort of vendor agreement purge that I’m not familiar with.
Stephanie: PO300. You may have had Lawson for about 10 years and you have all of these vendor agreements that might’ve expired, maybe you’ve had a process where you just make a change to that vendor agreement and extend the expiration date. You actually can purge those and we’ve seen a lot of different organizations have processes quarterly to help clean out some of that detail. That will help make your vendor agreement line table a little bit smaller, a little bit easier to run some reports on. It also helps your buyers or contract analysts that may be utilizing PO28 to try to find open costs and not have to add all these filters. Definitely something good to look into. If you’re in the functional area, you likely don’t have direct access and so there’s a purge table. Take a look at that and work with your IT team to test out that process.
Keith: Then what about the IC216?
Stephanie: Oh, IC216, this is a new report that was added in version 10 and this can be run by item and it will actually show you all of the open transactions that are within IC or entry warehouse requisitions and PO. It’s used for you to measure changes, but I imagine it can be used for any kind of inactivation or if you’re going through a conversion to a new item and you want to see what’s out there. Instead of having to pull all of these queries through MS Add-ins or Crystal Reports or a custom report, you can now utilize the IC216.
Keith: Cool, that brings us to … I’m sorry, you have another question?
Speaker 2: We do, and we keep on having people come in. I think people are coming in off the street to watch this webinar. Is doing DVT still the best way to cleanup orphan records?
Stephanie: DVT like through AppLoad?
Speaker 2: I’m assuming data validation something with a T.
Stephanie: Oh, it doesn’t work for all records. Using those … It’s like PO4…
Keith: Mostly we’ve used paint screens, but don’t tell on us.
Stephanie: The data integrity checks are definitely helpful, they will help cleanup some of those orphan records if they can make that connection, but if any little piece is off, it’s not going to find every single one. I would definitely follow the Infor process of going through those reports, but just know that you’re still going to need to check for other things on your own.
Keith: Going to number four-
Speaker 2: We do have one more question and that is, we have Contract Management and have our vendor agreements now going through that application and have all of our old PO25s, that should be removed?
Keith: That’s a great question.
Stephanie: Yeah, using PO300 will definitely help purge some of those older records and make sure that what you have in the system is more current. It’s okay to have agreements still built in the system that aren’t valid anymore, you want to give yourself a little bit of a background to see what other agreements it was on in previous months or maybe the fiscal year before it. You don’t necessarily need to know about 10 years prior. You may want to keep some sort of archive of what records it found that it’s now purging, but that’s a much smaller file, not in your system.
Keith: Number four, leverage the EDI.
Stephanie: EDI is not adapted overnight, even if you have this in place now, you may only have one transaction set. It’s definitely smart to continue to take a look at this. Not to try to focus on having every single vendor be setup via EDI, but just try to get as much adoption as you can for your highest vendors.
Keith: Completely, I feel like this is actually a pretty old technology and sometimes it gets dismissed, but I’m always surprised that not all organizations have a lot of adoption with it. You’re taking one end of the spectrum where people are like, “I’m going to get 100 vendors on EDI” and you start to see really diminishing marginal returns, but you get your top 10, 20 vendors, there’s a lot of value, you’re automating a lot of processes out there. It enables confirmation, which are obviously very useful, and I actually believe in the other side where you get the invoices in. When you’re getting the invoices in, definitely I would say target your top five, top five vendors.
There is work, these things aren’t all going to match and there’s these staging tables and screens that used to work them. You go to an organization that’s more mature and they’re like, “Oh, it’s a lot of work” but it’s the work that five people could be doing that mostly one person can process. This is tremendous efficiency, especially if you’re able to reallocate those other resources towards process improvement. I think this is probably, surprisingly, still low hanging fruit. It’s low barrier to entry, you either go the GHX or you map directly, but in terms of Lawson configuration and so forth it’s just not that much work.
Stephanie: Yeah, agreed. And 855s, too, even if you’re just utilizing 850s and you don’t have the invoices yet, the PO confirmations, the acknowledgements are really, really easy to implement. It’s additional configuration for your ED10 record, once you get the inbound in you run PO122 and what that will do is write that acknowledgement to your PO revision table. Your buyers will be able to utilize PO66 or even just drilling around on that PO and see when it was acknowledged. Yes, they can still go into GHX for that detail, but now since that’s in Lawson and a table, you can report on it and help automate that confirmation process.
Keith: If there’s one wish that Stephanie has the for the world at large, it’s for everybody to work their PO confirmations. Number five, IC11 replacement items.
Stephanie: Yes, so I’m very passionate about replacement items. This has not gotten a lot of play, it’s a little bit confusing, or intimidating I should say, but it can be very, very helpful. The replacement item has been out since 9.01, I believe, and just recently I think it was 9.0115 they actually added in date ranges. What the replacement item field does is if a requester is requesting one item and it has zero stock on hand, it’s not available, it will actually try to replenish using the replacement item, so it can have a certain date range. If you have a substitute process in play and that item has been approved, you can add it here in this field here and it will optimize it for your requesters.
Keith: Cool. Number six.
Stephanie: Another thing I’m very, very passionate about, if you’re not utilizing RQC today, roll it out.
Keith: Do it.
Stephanie: Plain and simple.
Keith: You own it, I almost guarantee it, yeah.
Stephanie: It’s very easy to implement. It helps speed up the process for the requesters not having to utilize RQ10. Even if you choose to not implement it for specials and service, it’s very helpful for Materials staff who could be utilizing MSCM today, but sometimes it’s quicker to just order that one item through RQC. You also can leverage IPA to do requisition approvals. RQC does have a few things out of the box that you can use approval codes, but we really don’t see anyone utilizing those anymore and IPA is definitely the way to go for email approvals, to help optimize that process, and PunchOut. If you click it just two more times see if we have some screen here.
Stephanie: PunchOut, again very easy to implement. Infor have a selected list, I believe, of about 30 different vendors that approved by and for who we’ve done a good amount of work with already. Very easy to implement. Here you’re utilizing the vendor’s catalog to purchase your products, but your requesters aren’t going to their website directly, it’s through RQC. Those requesters would have a special task assigned to their RQO4 record, it’s not every single requester that would have access. Then they go to fine shot PunchOut and they would select the vendor that they’re wishing to PunchOut. Then here it brings them to the vendor site and then they choose to checkout and it brings them right back into Requisition Center.
Here you’re working with the vendor to come up with your own catalog, it’s utilizing your own contract pricing through your account number. The only thing that isn’t automatically stored, that you would want to work with that vendor on, is bring back that GL account unit. They’re not sure what account within that account unit this needs to get charged to. The requester could always do that themselves when it comes back to the requisition lines and click on each item and change that or do it on the header, but to help optimize that process you’d want to work with your vendor.
Keith: I think it’s a really exciting concept because you can negotiate contract pricing for 30,000 items and not load them into your Item Master or your PO25s because who would possibly want to do that? Basically you put it on the vendor to manage that for you and to limit that selection. Things like office supplies it makes a lot of sense and definitely the folks that have rolled it out, high satisfaction rating. I want to add one thing before we dive a little bit deeper is Stephanie and I were talking about as a Supply Chain department RQC is your portal to your customers. You might have 500 , 1,000 people using it and interacting with you. Even if you haven’t rolled out, I think it’s a great thing to look at and say, “Could we be doing this better? Could we be changing it? What could we add to it?” It is technology facing your user base.
Stephanie: Absolutely, this is what your requesters see. Making just a few of these changes can really change their view of the Supply Chain and give them the detail that they need at their fingertips. A lot of the items that they’d be getting through Granger or Office Max, it’s a manual process. If they go through a special service, they have to type that in every time, the buyer needs to look at those items because they’re special. It can slow down the process for everyone and it can be frustrating. I think that sometimes PunchOut is intimidating, but it’s really not. There’s not too much of effort that’s needed-
Keith: It does not.
Stephanie: It has a high satisfaction rate.
Keith: Totally, totally. You can even take it on internally if you have the right resources.
Stephanie: Another area is Receiving Self Service. I find that if you’ve had a Requisition Center implemented for a couple years now, you may have chose not to allow Receiving Self Service or one of my next slides here. The users the implemented it, you may not even know that this is here. This is just another user interface for processing a receipt. You can do the through a handheld, you can do that through a PO30, or you can go through Receiving Self Service. It just looks a little bit nicer. It’s a little bit easier, I think it’s one less click, and it gives the same information, it just looks a little bit nicer. This may not work for every single Receiving department, but I found that this can easily be implemented in areas that do not have a receiving area, could be a clinic, but you still want that three way match and you don’t want them to scan that delivery document and send it over to receiving in a different area to have them do the actual receipt.
You can build some special security in Lawson to just allow them to see certain receipts, not everyone. You can be a little bit creative with this to make it work for your organization.
Speaker 2: We have a question.
Speaker 2: Can you lock people down to only certain POs and locations?
Stephanie: Yes, absolutely. I found that this is a little bit more easily done if you do it by ship to location. It’s not something out of the box, it would just have to be configured in a rule within Lawson security.
Keith: Req status.
Stephanie: Yes, very exciting. Requisition status is not only great for the requester, but it’s great for the buyers at your organization. This is another add on in Requisition Center that’s a part of the bookmarks. You may not see it today if you’re not a portal bookmark administrator, but it’s there. You just have to be added as a user that has access to it. This actually has a very, very nice user interface. It will allow the requester, it defaults to their information for their requester identity for their RQ04 details and here they have some special filters. It will let them know their requisition number. If you have requisition and approvals enabled, there’s a little org chart and they could hover their mouse over it and it will let them know where it’s at in the approval process. Then there’s actually a line details area which is down here and you probably can’t see it very well since it’s small, but it will actually let them know the PO number that was assigned to that requisition.
Instead of calling purchasing, “Where’s my overnight request? Is a PO assigned yet?” They can look themselves here. If you’re utilizing PO comments and have a standardized process they actually can select that PO number and drill around in the PO detail. This is another area that if you give direct access to requisition status, yes they can change the requester ID, they can search for other people’s information if you have it open ended. I found that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you don’t have any type of contract exclusions for different areas in your facility, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for them to see what others have been requesting.
Keith: For those that are looking for something more advances on the RQC.
Stephanie: Yes, imaging integration. Here’s a picture. Adding images to your Item Master and IC11, there’s that attachments area. Here it’s just looking for a URL. We’ve seen organizations work with their vendors to pull their item catalog. It does need to tie to your Item Master number, these can be stored in your server and then you’re just noting the URL of where that image can be found. This will actually show up when they search the item and then select the item hyperlink and it will bring it to the item detail with more information and the image will display here. Again, we’ve seen organizations work with their main vendors, their distributors, to try to pull the images that they have available. We’ve seen organizations take pictures themselves and upload them in. It can be really, really helpful and it’s definitely a satisfier for requesters-
Keith: And users.
Stephanie: One area I didn’t include in here, but it’s also imaging integration is working with your imaging system to attach quotes to your request. That can be very helpful for special or service requests where it may have a quote available that you want the requester to be able to attach to the requisition, so we’ve seen that as well. Double bonus RQC.
Keith: Double bonus, we got some more bonus stuff for you here on RQC. I’m starting with templates.
Stephanie: Yes. If you’re not utilizing templates today you really should-
Stephanie: It’s PO15, yes. That’s another area that there’s actually bookmarks within that RQC, the Requisition Center bookmarks, where requesters can maintain their own templates themselves if you give them access to which can also optimize the process. It’s one of those you break it you buy it, if they delete it they have access to delete it. You didn’t stop them, it’s going to be gone, but that’s another area to look at.
Keith: Even for those of you that have already implemented templates.
Stephanie: Yes, exactly. As you may be aware there’s not a way to tell whether or not those templates are being used out of the box. There’s no report to run canned that let’s you know, “We added this template last year, it’s 200 items, how do I know if these 200 items are still active? Should I remove them from the template, they’re not being used or do I need to add more?” You have to be creative by pulling those, the PO line detail. We definitely recommend that. It’s not that it’s easily done, it just takes a pretty low effort and then you can maintain it moving forward.
Keith: I don’t feel like it’s rocket science, either, right?
Keith: The PO line detail, it’s got the source, I mean that’s a nice process improvement project to look at. What are my rep locations buying and does it match what they have on the templates?
Stephanie: Definitely. Just taking a look at what participants have access to use it and then making sure you take into consideration that maybe one of those locations is still utilizing the item and maybe you want to keep it on there. Another area is your requesters, again you may have been using RQC for about five years, you just keep adding new requesters. Maybe you were notified that they may have left or moved to a different department, so finding a process to manage that. One thing that you can easily do is pulling that requester table and then pulling the most recent requisitions and seeing if one has been made in the past year, two years, six month, and then working to inactivate those and remove that requester ID from their identity within Lawson security or maybe even remove them as a user in Lawson security.
Keith: Typically that has a different licensing impact than your regular core users, so you want to maintain it at some point in time, but we’ll audit, and you’ll have all these requesters that haven’t logged in in three years and you certainly don’t want to pay for them.
Stephanie: Absolutely. Sometimes you can leverage your IT policies if they have one for their active directory users and then work off of that to just have a process and maintain ongoing. Another area is your requesting locations, so again another area that you may have added on throughout the years … Like I was mentioning earlier with AP and Supply Chain speaking to each other when they’re modifying records and sometimes it’s hard to see the whole picture, same thing happens for requesting locations. Finance may have made a change to account unit, not necessarily realized there was open transactions out there and requesting locations is one of them. There isn’t a report today that let’s you know, hey these requesting locations are out there, but the account unit isn’t active anymore.
Once you go to change that record it tells you, it won’t let you change it, but having a process to maintain those as well.
Keith: Before we go onto the next one some debates as to best way to setup templates. Is it by vendor category, department, do you want to weight into that debate at all or stay neutral?
Stephanie: I am a big proponent of by department. I think it’s a little bit easier to manage, I think even building them by company can be really helpful if you have a disaster preparedness item list or anything like that. Once you’re by vendor I find that then it ends up being by requesting department-
Stephanie: Yeah, you have a cost center and then you have about 50 different templates by vendor of who they’re ordering for. Your PO100 helps you parse that out anyways. Optimizing your item descriptions and making sure that your keywords are setup really helps the requester where they should be able to find what they’re looking for without you having to segregate them that much.
Keith: Awesome, and that takes us to number seven, master the LBI.
Keith: Now, before Stephanie gets started, most organizations have LBI, you probably have it. You may be using it, but not fully, it may be in use in other areas of the organization. Typically it’s a low barrier to deploy and it doesn’t always permeate the organization. Chances are you have LBI, and if you do, it’s a great tool.
Stephanie: Absolutely. You can create role based dashboards and here you can utilize Crystal Reports to post those reports to those areas where they can run them on their own. There is report bursting so this can be very helpful for financials for the statement of expense to drill that down and only give them access to the cost centers that they have access to. You also can build some metrics for your management and have a KPI dashboard let’s say. You don’t have to necessarily just use Lawson data, you can pull data from other sources as well and have that on your dashboard. This can be very, very specific to certain areas. Some of those ‘master your data’ ideas that we had before, once you figure out these common issues and build a report around that, you can have that out there in that dashboard so certain key players in those areas are constantly monitoring those and cleaning up those records before they become an issue later down the line.
Part of LBI is smart notifications, this is a really, really great tool that we haven’t seen heavily utilized, or at least I haven’t, which you can do a lot of really neat things with it. This is actually a PO23 worksheet that was created and this is a smart notification that’s run ad hoc basically. It’s like a bookmark that you can select, and here it’s pulling up all of the PO23 records by company, tells them the vendor number, what rec number it came from, how it was sourced. Where the cost came from, whether it was entered, whether it came from the last unit cost, or it came from the agreement. Let’s you know when it was released and also gives them an alert flag. Red was when it has been sitting there for a few days, green is if it was from the same day.
It’s just a quick snapshot to give the user everything that we’re looking for in that one screen. There’s also another view here and this was an email notification that was created when Item Master was inactivated. You can have distribution lists, have this run at the end of each day, or end of each month and pulls that information together for that line of logic that you wrote and gives that back to you. If you’re utilizing smart office there’s also a watch list functionality that that’s actually utilizing smart notifications where that more of an ad hoc alert. You’re making a change in IC11 and you want to know when it’s been inactivated. Once that trigger happens it will send you an alert to your watch list which is a widget on your desktop.
Keith: Just looking at it from the perspective of anyone that’s out there, these aren’t hard things to do. There’s two elements in there, one is knowing what stuff you maybe should be looking for, potentially the PO23 worksheets, exception based stuff lends itself really well to smart notifications. The second is having that expertise internally. Maybe your IT department has someone that’s pretty familiar with LBI can do this, but it takes almost no time at all to create this.
Keith: This isn’t like some big deal, right?
Keith: It’s like that.
Stephanie: Just having someone that’s excited and can work with a lot of these different areas, what’s frustrating you? Let’s see if we can get an alert out there to communicate that cost center issue that I was just speaking about. You could create a smart notification that says every time a cost center is inactivated, alert these mailboxes and then someone monitors those mailboxes and inactivates the rest of the records, or he could build an IPA flow that does that for you. Another area that I’ve seen this very, very useful is the items that are automatically killed. If a requester is in RQC and they may not be paying attention, ordering off a template, didn’t look at the stock on hand, ordered it anyways, and some of them were killed. You can build a smart note where it will notify that requester to let them know that those items, they won’t be receiving. Helpful if you’re utilizing RAD with a signature and you’re not necessarily giving them a paper delivery document for them to see everything.
It just gives them … You’re communicating with them, it enhances that requester experience.
Speaker 2: I have a question, can you create a smart notification on an IC81 change?
Stephanie: Absolutely. Any type of trigger in the system. IC81 changes are also audited-
Keith: In 10.
Stephanie: Also in 9, so it’s part of item location. When you’re making a change to IC81 it writes that IC12 table within that item location, so you can audit them there as well, so yes.
Keith: Cool. Smart office watch lists.
Keith: Want to say anything about that or we’re good?
Stephanie: No, I think we’re good.
Keith: All right, perfect. Number eight, attack X type specials. This is when aliens invade your carnival and you need to get rid of them. I think it’s one of those things where we tend to be reactive to them, but we can be proactive. We can get tired of swatting at flies and we want to go after these X types where they live. Let’s talk about that a little bit, what are some strategies for minimizing your X types and thereby increasing contract compliance?
Stephanie: Yes, so one pretty easy thing that you can do is just double check your RQC config file, work with your IT department. Make sure that if you are utilizing special service through RQC that you have the warn feature on. What this will do is if a requester’s typing in that part number and it has a match to your Item Master or a vendor item, it will let the requester know that one’s already been built so they’re not ordering an item as a special if it’s actually already built in your Item Master. That helps the requester out too because it will help default a lot of that information in for them, that GL account unit. That’s definitely one fairly easy thing that you can just double check-
Keith: Low hanging fruit.
Stephanie: Yep, and make sure that you have that implemented. Another area is managing those special through PO23, having your buyer work those items through that queue. From here they also can do a double check, make sure they actually should be ordering that item. Are they putting some sort of character in front of it just to try to bypass the system? Have a little bit more control there.
Keith: I think that when you start looking at history, a lot of organizations have processes where they put the X in front of the vendor item number or so forth. That’s super helpful if you can get that organizational compliance when they order specials because then you can track it and report it and then you’re looking for two things. Or three, you’re looking for items that are getting ordered as specials which exist, which is an education, or maybe that item description or those synonyms aren’t good enough to find or they’re not on templates. You’re looking for items that are not part of your Item Master but that are ordered frequently enough that they should be and you’re also looking for departments or requesters that tend to just X type it and-
Stephanie: Yes, do their own thing.
Keith: Sometimes transparency, say hey everybody else is 2% and you’re 50%, maybe you want to sit down with us and we can talk through it. All this data’s available in there, it’s not always easy to parse. You download it, you try to match it up, you clean it up and you look for patterns.
Stephanie: Absolutely, so just pulling your PO line data and doing a comparison against your Item Master and your PO vendor item, it can be really helpful information. Build a custom report, have it available for your buyers on a monthly, even weekly basis that they go back and review and see what’s going on with those items or departments.
Keith: Number nine, ‘Check Yo Matching’. I know this is a Supply Chain oriented thing and matching seems always that red-headed stepchild that doesn’t belong to one set or the other, but I think that rethinking your matching is actually not as big an effort as it sounds. Even though a lot of that might fall in AP, there’s a lot of downward consequences that take up time from the Supply Chain department. I think one thing throughout all these things we’ve talking about is all these things are about reducing exceptions, automating processes, they’re about reducing workload and allowing the department to be less reactionary and more proactive. At a higher level you always start with process and I’m not going to get into this too detailed right now.
What I found is getting AP and Purchasing around the same table, you’d be surprised how many conversations have just never occurred over 15 years and understanding what each side is seeing. I’d say there’s a couple things to really understand. There’s a difference between entry and processing, so there’s two different types of errors. If you’re able to get the invoice entirely into Lawson, then Lawson has tools to drive its resolution. You should trust them and use them, they work. They work for big organizations, process tens of thousands of invoices and those include the MA126, those include the MA60.3, force match, those include charge back, those include PO cost messages. They’ll route everything where it needs to go. Conversely if you are and to able to get all the data into Lawson, you can’t find a vendor, PO is closed, item isn’t on the POLINE, you need to have other workarounds for that. Ideally there’s some sort of imaging system to route that back and forth, but maybe you’re just stacking up that paper, walking over to purchasing.
There’s many different solutions for that, you just have to understand that those things don’t lend themselves to Lawson and commenting those into Lawson you’re creating double work. That’s high level, I’ve seen places where they have 50 different iterations and you only need a few. It’s like can you get it into Lawson? No. Is it an AP issue or Purchasing issue to resolve? If you can get it into Lawson, file it away, let Lawson handle it, follow those processes, know who owns each one, and have some monitoring. You don’t even want to get to that level, one thing I would recommend, very simple, is check your configuration. This has become standardized throughout the industry, there is a set of best practices. Most organizations adopt them, some do not, and most of what matters here is this is the MAO1 match company tab… screen in the messaging tab.
Three things that I recommend checking, number one you have PO cost messages flagged to yes. The thing about PO cost messages is they don’t require an action from AP to create, there’s no force maatch, they can get created before the receipt. The main reason you have those is if you have a cost discrepancy you want to know as soon as the invoice is entered, before you get 80 more messages for the same cost discrepancies so somebody can either address with the vendor or the contractor. Very simple, it’s a flag right here. You just want to check that it’s flagged to yes, that means you’re using them. If you’re not using them, you’re turning them on, there’s a little bit of change management, but it’s not very complicated. It’s a single screen that’s going to pop up, you’re letting AP know that there’s going to be this new message whenever there’s something outside of tolerance in terms of the invoice unit cost versus the PO, then you’re letting buyers know how to address it.
Number two, there’s a service flag and I think this was when we went to 9.01, they expanded the options under here. It just to be yes, return on, but that turned into extended amount only. You just want to make sure that that is B, which means I want to create messages for both over and under quantity and cost. That’s almost certainly what you want. Most of you have probably already seen that. That’s an easy flip, it doesn’t really change anything, what that B means is that Lawson will create buyers messages the way we expect it will. The way you think it does right now, and hopefully you have it set that way.
Stephanie: Have we also found that some choose to just have over? Like in the instances of service amounts, if they have a blanket amount for $10,000?
Keith: You don’t really distinguish here between amounts and not so you’re sort of making that choice. I can see the argument for it, certainly I haven’t seen a lot of customers do it, but usually … This comes to regular POs too, have 99% under tolerance, we don’t care, we’re going to pay it. Usually that discrepancy at that level reflects some other issue. It’s not the right line, not the right invoice that comes back to bite you. It’s rare that you’re ordering something for $100 and they’re charging you a dollar and that’s correct. Thirdly, there’s this reconciliation match… settings here. Over and under tolerance, they’re set to no, and I want to spend a second talking about these because I’ve actually seen a lot of organizations where they’re set to no. They should basically never be no, no matter what their process is, they should never be no.
I think what I’ve seen is they’re no because during the implementation process the organization decided not to use recon messaging and that’s usually related to either an aversion to chart backs or not wanting to have double messages and I’m totally cool with any organization that does not want to use recon messaging. I recommend it, but you don’t have to. For that no flag, it’s extremely dangerous. What that no flag means is that when I’m in a situation where I have an invoice discrepancy that’s made it to my recon queue, I don’t know if you can see here, but we have an invoice line at $30 a unit, and a receipt line at $25 a unit, if I match it here in AP what’s going to happen is it’s going to automatically match it.
The reason it’s doing that is because I have that flag set to no. We think that flag set to no means we don’t do this, but what it means is that Lawson is going to let me do this and just pay the invoice. One of the things that I found is that even organizations where we find this there’s not a lot of appetite for trying to revisit the configuration. Nobody wants to fight that battle, but it’s totally worth it if you’re just processing all these invoices without anybody checking it. I’ve seen it in lots of places. Hopefully that’s not you guys. If it is, do the world a favor, check it out, do me a favor.
Stephanie: Crazy fun house.
Keith: Crazy fun house. Before we dive into Contract Management obviously Stephanie’s very passionate about Contract Management. She’s done some webinars, and I don’t know if you guys have seen it, there’s some more scheduled. Two things I think held the market back from Contract Management, at least in my experience speaking with Supply Chain managers that were looking at it. One is the Contract Management and strategic sourcing, they sit on the landmark platform. You’d have folks that are interested in looking at it and IT departments that were resistant to add this platform mix and sustain it and so forth. Now with version 10, Landmark has been introduced into pretty much all these organizations because of Process Flow and IPA.
The second one was, is this product really ready for prime time? Let me ask you, is this product really ready for prime time?
Stephanie: Absolutely. It’s gotten a lot of love, a lot of attention the past few years. There was a lot of customers utilizing it and that community base is really starting to build up to have other users to bounce ideas off of and more experts to have hands on with the application. I have a couple slides available just to give you a snapshot of what it looks like. Landmark is a little bit different of an application to utilize, but if you’re using Smart Office today some of your users may be a little bit more comfortable or it just looks really nice. It’s a nice way to do your work, everything’s organized so you can find detail a little bit easier. There’s still search bars to find that detail. One of the biggest areas that has given Contract Management a lot of attention is the ability to allow specials on an agreement.
Having better management of those items, have them available in your system, have a little bit more control over it, all within Lawson. All of that detail there. It also can pull all of those transactions from your Lawson system, your Financials, your purchase order data to help bring that detail back and be able to do some spend analysis on those contracts, better manage your expirations. There’s lots of reports available, inquiry screens, there’s a lot of different things to think about before implementation for helping to manage some of that detail and what users have access. It’s a great application that should definitely be looked at.
I believe I have another slide that has some other areas. One of the features that I really, really like about Contract Management is the ability to personalize your view. Again you can do this in Smart Office so if you’ve had some access or demos of that system, it has the same… similar features where you can move columns around, add new. This also utilizes Configuration Console so if you have some additional fields that are a part of your contract process but maybe not necessarily part of your procurement process but still need to be documented, you can easily add these new fields as the administrator. You don’t want everyone adding their own fields, but it gives you a lot more flexibility. Also the ability to add some ad hoc reports, just utilizing the system. There’s a lot you can do with it.
In another area that I really like is it utilizes spreadsheet designer. This is MS Add-ins, but not the MS Add-ins that you may know today. It’s a way souped up version of it.
Keith: It’s on steroids.
Stephanie: Yeah, absolutely. Not only can you do uploads to the system, and it does have some smart logic there if you name the column the same detail as the fields. It’s not control-shift-O like it is in Lawson, it’s control-shift-click. If you name the column when you’re building that upload it will just automatically map it for you. You don’t have to find what fields and figure out what F number it is to map all that. It will help take the thinking out for you. Also, when you’re querying information out you can utilize the Excel functionality. Pivot tables and pivot charts and then you can just refresh your query very quickly and it will auto-magically update all your graphs for you.
Keith: Yeah, this is a more serious project than some of the other ones we put. It takes a little bit more time, a little bit more effort. Not trying to imply that this is a simple one, but I do think it’s something that every Supply Chain department should be looking at because it has some really good functionality and it’s the advancement of Lawson over the last 10 years. It looks like we have a question here.
Speaker 2: Quick question, is there anyway to import contracts from GPOs or GHX, et cetera?
Stephanie: There’s nothing out of the box today, but GHX and some of the other GPOs are becoming more familiar with the Infor Contract Management tools, so I see that coming soon. There are some things that you can do. If you have a standard way that data comes in, you can make a few configurations and then optimize that, that upload process. You also can utilize 832, so that’s one way to import those contracts in. If those organizations could send it to you that way that would help speed up the process. Those are two of the things to think about.
Keith: Let me just add there’s a lot that Stephanie can say about this, and in fact she’s got a whole presentation. If you haven’t seen it, I think we’re doing it again either Tuesday or Wednesday, October 23rd, 24th, you can go to RPIC.com/webinars and sign up for it. Highly encourage. Also we have an internal sandbox, anytime you want to setup a WebEx and talk about whether it’s a good fit for your organization and so forth, that’s something we’re happy to do. Obviously you can reach out to Bill, you can reach out to Logan, you can reach out to me, you can reach out to Stephanie. Before we go we have a bonus 11.
Stephanie: Mobile apps.
Keith: Mobile apps.
Stephanie: If you click a couple more times we have-
Keith: Oh sorry-
Stephanie: Some little bumper car views here. Mobile apps are available, they are Apple only at this point in time. They are pretty low effort to-
Stephanie: To deploy. We believe that they are no cost, however, there are some additional configurations that need to be made. Also, once you do configure it, there needs to be a process in your organization whether or not you’re allowing it outside the firewall. This can be used on iPads if you have them throughout your organization, used for other areas or perhaps one of the departments doesn’t necessarily think the cost of the handheld is worth that. Over a thousand dollars where iPads what now like $300 or something, it’s less. Definitely something to look at. There’s also other mobile apps available like Inventory Control, not just Requisitioning and some of the other modules as well. Definitely something.
Keith: That is the future with V11, it’s all going to be mobile apps. We’re over, we are going to stick around for some questions, but for those of you that stuck around, need to go, first of all I want to thank you for taking the time to attend the webinar. I want to thank Ms. Kowal for putting this together and I want to thank her for giving me the opportunity to present on it. Some more webinars coming tomorrow, some more webinars coming next month. Please keep an eye out for those emails. Looks like we’ve spoken plenty.
Keith: We’ll give it 30 seconds.
Speaker 2: If you do have questions just tell them to shoot an email into firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keith: Yeah, email@example.com or any of our emails. One of the great things at RPI is you can contact us. I have an email too, it’s KWayland@rpic.com and if you email me I will respond. Thank you.
Stephanie: Great, thanks everyone.