Success Story: Instant Homes

This success story was a real event. However, the names of companies and individuals mentioned in this success story have been changed to protect their identities. Any resemblance to actual companies or individuals is purely coincidental.

Key takeaway: You can use the Business Rule Framework to control complex end-to-end business processes, eliminating the possibility of human error.

Instant Homes is a company that specialises in manufacturing modular houses. They have a unique process that allows them to assemble the houses on-site within 48 hours. For over a decade, Instant Homes has relied on SAP to manage their business processes. However, despite the power of SAP, the company has struggled with human error, derailing complex end-to-end processes, which has taken up a lot of time and resources to correct.

One customer order can trigger the production of many different components at different manufacturing sites and the procurement of parts from external suppliers. Ensuring that all of these components are delivered to the correct warehouse and shipped out to the building site as a single shipment can be a complex and challenging process, especially due to the need to track the progress of many different components from various sources.

Customer orders in the SAP system contain all the necessary information to guide the entire end-to-end business process from start to finish. Each item in the order can be linked to a production or purchase order, depending on whether it is produced in-house or sourced from an external supplier. The company carefully analyses lead times for each sales order to ensure that manufacturing and procurement are not initiated too early or too late. This helps to avoid bottlenecks and ensure sufficient storage space available at the warehouses, which do not have an infinite capacity. By carefully managing this complex process, Instant Homes can deliver high-quality modular houses to its customers promptly and efficiently.

Instant Homes has the flexibility to manufacture products using a variety of different methods, including make-to-stock, make-to-order, and assemble-to-order. To effectively manage the production process, it is important to carefully control where each component is manufactured and which component is used in producing another component at another manufacturing location, triggering intercompany stock transfers and influencing the total production lead times. This information must be recorded in the sales order and should not be changed after the client has approved the order without managerial approval.

To help prevent human error from disrupting the end-to-end business processes at Instant Homes, the company has implemented data validation checks when saving sales, production, or purchase orders. These checks ensure no documents are created or changed when specific business rules are violated.

For example, if a specific sales order item identifies that the externally procured goods are delivered directly to the building site, it would be incorrect to allow an SAP user to create an inbound delivery against this purchase order, as there would not be a goods receipt at a warehouse, even though the standard SAP system would allow this illogical step to be processed.

When you look at the validation checks in isolation, you will not classify them as particularly complicated. However, combining them all into a central repository, makes it easy to maintain them.

Instant Homes implemented data validation checks within the Business Rule Framework at critical moments in the end-to-end business process: Creating or changing sales orders, production orders, and purchase orders. BRF+ enables the SAP support team to add or change business rules, without needing the assistance of ABAP developers.

They achieved a massive reduction of manual interventions required by the SAP users, by automating the identification of potential human errors before they have a chance to cause disruptions in the production, procurement, and delivery process.