Three Tier Problem Resolution

What is Three Tier Problem Resolution, and how is it different than just problem solving?

Advantage ERP Group

Ok, problem solving is straightforward enough – figure out what’s wrong and fix it!  Yes but, problem resolution is a process where an organization learns from each problem and takes steps to ensure that it’s head never rises again.  So, after we’ve diagnosed the problem we use an approach we call Three Tier Problem Resolution.  It works like this:

  1. Correct the root cause of the problem
  2. Fix any data impacted by the problem
  3. Ensure that key people know immediately if the problem ever happens again

Here's a simple example:

Months ago, a company running SAP Business One deployed user defined fields on the PO line allowing the purchasing team to track key information such as product quality, delivery efficiency and responsiveness, all by vendor for each item purchased.  The purchasing team’s standard operating procedures were updated at the time to instruct that these fields should be entered.  But when management later started to use the vendor performance data they found that the fields were sometimes left blank.

Solving this example problem using Three Tier Problem Resolution:

  1. Change the definition of the fields to make them mandatory. This corrects the problem for new transactions.  Simple and obvious.
  2. Fix the missing data. This part can be a bit tricky.
  • Write a query that shows only those PO lines where any of the fields are blank
  • If only a small number of rows have missing data, then copy the output of the query to an excel spreadsheet and send it to the purchasing team so they'll know which PO lines need to be manually corrected
  • If the data cleanup is a larger issue, then
    • Output the query to a spreadsheet and have the purchasing team update the missing data for each incomplete PO line
    • Use SAP Business One’s Data Transformation Workbench (DTW) to build a new import template that includes the user defined fields, then merge the completed data provided by the purchasing team into the new import template
    • Backup the live database and restore into a new test database (or use an existing test database if it is current)
    • Test the DTW import in the test database and obtain user validation import before importing into the live system
    • Re-run the query to ensure that all the missing data is now fixed
  1. Next is the proactive part where we build knowledge of this issue into the ERP system.  Create an Alert based on the missing data query that is routed to the purchasing team and the power users.  This alert runs on a user defined frequency, say once a day. When all PO lines are correct then there is no output, so no alert is raised.  The value is that the company now has a nearly immediate ‘heads-up’ if a future change breaks this business rule.

Three Tier Problem Resolution is a common-sense approach that in time builds an organization’s business rules directly into their Enterprise Resource Planning system.  Please contact us with any questions on how we use this approach or if you'd like more details.

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