By Ken Erb

SAP ByDesign has many functions ranging from Financials, CRM, Manufacturing, Demand Planning, MRP, and much more. Today I will focus on the Project Management Module as it related to tracking labor, expenses, scheduling resources, procuring materials internally and externally. Any company in the world selling services requires robust project costing that sits on top of a financial accounting framework. SAP ByDesign offers a fantastic solution for this in a number of ways.

Services

First let’s talk services… You have a strong workforce whether it’s electricians, engineers, consultants, etc. How do you manage all of their time in an efficient and accurate manor? Easy, SAP allows your team to enter time to projects using a mobile application on an apple or android device or directly in the SAP interface through any web browser. Access for recording time to projects is completely controlled by a Project Manager. In addition to this, they can require work descriptions and approvals for all entries. Costing is also flexible! Your employees carry a resource cost rate that hits the project when time recordings are entered automatically, but let’s say you want to bill the customer for different rates depending on the job performed? No problem, service items can be created for as many different billable services that you need.

Expenses

What about expenses? Along with timesheet entry, expense are entered in a complete self-service module. Expense reports can be allocated to projects and go through a highly configurable approvals process. Materials, services, and mileage, miscellaneous expenses can be added to these expense reports and are all tracked at the project level all the way down to the determined General ledger account assigned in the master data of the line items added to the report. Another great feature related to the self service area is procurement requests. This can be used to allow team members to put in purchase requests proactively against a project that will go through a number of approvals if desired. Below is a view of the self service area of ByDesign.

Resource Planning

Now that we know where to put all of our time and expenses, how do I schedule all of my resources and know their availability? Within each project you have the ability to plan and COMMIT resources. Planning resource shows an overall forecast of each employee based on their available working time. When you commit a resource that time is now locked in and reduced their remaining available time. There a number of screens and functions in the system at the individual project level and at a high operations level to view resource allocation. Below is a screenshot of an Operations Manager dashboard of reports and a single projects team members.

As a Project Manager you will need the ability to request purchase orders or potentially request consumption of materials from inventory. Both are managed in the project and have approval process around them. These processes allow for consumption to the project directly upon receipt, delivery to inventory at your location, or drop ship to a customer. As for the cost side, I could write an entire blog on revenue recognition, maybe I will, but for now let’s assume receipt of products and services incur cost and defer them until point of invoice and revenue recognition run.

Without writing a 20 page blog it’s hard to encompass all of the features ByDesign offers for project cost accounting, but I have touched on some of the most important parts. SAP ByDesign is a great fit for companies looking to sell labor and services and also has a field service module. In a future blog, I will go into greater detail on the functions within this module and how they tie to warranty and contracts.

If you have any questions regarding SAP Business ByDesign, please feel free to email us at lori.crawford@vistavusolutions.com.

Author: Ken Erb
As a consulting lead in the SAP Business ByDesign practice area, Ken Erb is responsible for the implementation, configuration, customization, and support of the SAP Business ByDesign application. Specializations include field service, project management, custom reports, data migration, system support, and project/client management.