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Day-to-day activities carried out by the call center include acquiring new customers, resolving customer complaints and disputes, and accepting customer orders for products and services. The back office of the call center supports the distribution logistics by way of logistics planning and scheduling services as well as AR-related activities. A variety of legacy systems were being utilized to support the day-to-day operations of the call center in the areas of Customer Quotes, Logistics Planning, and AR.

Strategies need to be determined to understand the viability of retaining some of the legacy systems. One of the key legacy systems being used for handling workflow requirements was replaced by the service notifications functionality of SAP to speed up and streamline the business process flow. To support the back office operations, the Dispute Management functionality of FSCM was introduced with SAP Standard workflow.

A key decision was taken to retain the home grown Customer Quote System (AQS) and develop a synchronous interface with SAP to create the customer shell in order to reduce call duration at the time of the initial sales call. PI was used as middleware to map legacy information to SAP fields. A key challenge faced was to introduce and implement the use of Service Notifications for driving the new customer setup which goes through various departments within the call center until the customer setup is complete.

The overall business process flow of issuing a Quote to the customer up until the point of setting up a Contract for the customer is the required process. This complex process comprises passing customer information from AQS to SAP, the creation of a Customer in SAP, a Business Partner (BP) for the FSCM, and triggering another interface to check the creditworthiness of the customer with external credit rating agencies. Each plant was identified as either a centralized or a decentralized plant for the purpose of planning and executing the services.

 The New Customer Setup Notification was configured to drive the customer creation process from department to department using status profiles and by configuring task lists in a certain sequence of operations. This enables different users/departments to perform the functions of setting up Service and Sales Orders, monitoring and scheduling services, updating the Customer Master, and setting up pricing records and Contracts for the new Customer in the correct order. The overall configuration of the notification satisfies the workflow process of setting up new customers, generating service orders and sales orders, as well as facilitating service scheduling. The following screen shots provide overview of configuration and use of notification for intended purposes.

Each working group was provided with variants in transaction IW58 and status profiles included to filter, work, and monitor respective areas of operations. The overall objective of introducing the use of the notification functionality was to minimize customer call duration while selling, speeding up the process of equipment installation, providing the first delivery on time, and at the same time touching all the relevant departments to attain data accuracy in order to set up the master data for the customer. The use of notifications has resulted in reducing the customer call duration by 50% when compared to the legacy systems and improving the quality and accuracy of the master data, thus reducing user support issues considerably.

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