Thursday, July 26, 2012

SAP Mobile DSD - 5 Considerations

I want to thank Anup Alex, VP Consulting with Unvired, for sharing his mobile and SAP expertise with us in this guest blog article.

Direct Store Delivery (DSD) is a method of selling or distributing products for a variety of industries like food, beverage, personal care, etc. SAP offers a module on DSD which is part of SAP's  ECC/ERP.  DSD has tight integration to SAP SD, MM, FI and Logistics which makes it one of the preferred solutions across the world.  In addition, SAP offers a Mobile DSD solution as an optional module for customers who like to avoid the manual paper based approach. There are a few considerations when implementing Mobile DSD in an enterprise that I want to share from my experience.

Is the current business process good enough to implement SAP DSD?
There are a few things you may want to consider when implementing SAP DSD. These are things like the use of Bill of Material (BOM), Empties management and Single Sales Area for each route.  Without these, you may be limited in the use of some features SAP DSD provides out-of-the-box, or you will need to custom development them.

Mobile DSD or Paper Based DSD?
Over the last 6-8 years, there has been a lot of demand for mobilizing the DSD process in enterprises. Mobilization eliminates much of the manual effort required to enter data in order/delivery, cash collection, stock, money checkout and check-in. Customers can be issued real-time legal invoices with electronic signature capture, PODs, cash receipts etc, all in real-time at the customer's site. Mobilization can also provide on-the-fly determination of promotions and seasonal discounts which are powerful features of an ERP like SAP ECC. In summary these features can provide faster sales and logistics execution, and eliminate theft.

Which scenarios are meant to be driven via Mobile DSD?
SAP DSD supports Delivery Driver, Van Sales, Pre-Sales and Mixed scenarios. In an ideal world, using a single Mobile DSD solution for all these scenarios would be best and would optimize your ROI.

Many customers also choose to add customer/product surveys, checklists and some field service related features to the solution so their mobile salesforces can collect this data onsite.

The right technology platform to mobilize DSD
While mobilization is important to optimizing the benefits of DSD, it’s very important to choose the right platform to enable it. Some key requirements are:
  • scalability
  • native support for multiple device types
  • offline/online capability
  • high volume data handling
  • roles/group management
  • a messaging platform for instant alerting and notifications
  • geo capabilities
  • central device administration and remote trouble shooting
  • seamless online-offline capability of device software.

Selecting the right devices to mobilize DSD
Selecting the right mobile device is very important.  Often companies, in order to save money, simply leverage existing devices to run MDSD.  However, especially in the MDSD world where there are deliveries, a ruggedized device should be considered.   In the ruggedized handheld category that means you will most likely be choosing between a Windows Mobile device or the new ruggedized Android devices.  Even though Windows Mobile OS is outdated, it still may have an edge over Android in-terms of enterprise readiness.  It is easier to integrate with many different peripherals such as barcode scanners and printers. Android on the other hand could be giving the better results in terms of application software usability experience. I would also suggest looking at new ruggedized Android tablets.

For non-delivery driver scenarios, there is a plethora of smartphone choices including iPhones, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and tablets.

~ Anup Alex, VP Consulting with Unvired
Kevin Benedict, Mobile Industry Analyst, Mobile Strategy Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.