• Subject: What is wrong with SAP?
  • From: Dave Mahadevan <mahadevan@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 20:13:17 -0500
  • Organization: Stoner and Associates


I freely admit my shortcoming.  I dont know SAP.  To add to the Hershey
story, here is one about Whirlpool.   This is from the Wall Street
Journal and pardon the length.

                 November 3, 1999

Tech Center

Whirlpool Hits Shipping Delays
Over Glitches in SAP Software


Whirlpool Corp. said it has faced delays in
shipping its appliances since switching on SAP
AG software two months ago.

A spokesman for Whirlpool, Benton Harbor,
Mich., said a new "enterprise-resource planning"
software package from German software
company SAP, combined with record levels of
orders, has lengthened lead times to all but its
largest customers. Orders for quantities smaller
than one truckload are hitting snags in order
processing, tracking and invoicing, the
spokesman said.

Delays have hit orders in all
product lines, including
washers, dryers, refrigerators
and ovens. The spokesman
said the company believes
most of the problems have
been fixed and hopes to eliminate all order
delays by December.

The spokesman said the conversion of
Whirlpool's U.S. operations to the system is the
sixth country in which the company has
implemented SAP's system and described the
problems as a normal part of the process.

"As we have experienced everywhere in the
world, there have been some disruptions," he

The spokesman declined to say how long the
delays have been, but emphasized that they are
due in part to strong demand that has Whirlpool
plants running full tilt.

"Even if we hadn't implemented our system,
there would have been product-availability
problems," he said.

Customers affected tend to be smaller appliance
retailers but include giant Home Depot Inc. A
spokesman for the Atlanta hardware chain
confirmed that the company is having trouble
getting sufficient deliveries from Whirlpool. "It's
less than optimum, but we anticipate it's going to
be straightened out by next week," he said.

Some retailers found they couldn't even reach
Whirlpool in early September. Kelly Kim of M&W
Appliance Warehouse Inc. in Chicago recalled
being put on hold for more than an hour on
several occasions, only to be told the
manufacturer couldn't process an order. For a
while, he just stopped ordering from Whirlpool
and steered customers to other brands. "Each
time, they said the computer was down and they
couldn't help us," he said.

Larger orders from appliance chains and
department stores such as Best Buy Co. and
Sears, Roebuck & Co. are processed separately
and haven't been affected by the bugs in the
system. A spokeswoman for Best Buy,
Minneapolis, confirmed that the chain hasn't had
trouble getting orders filled by Whirlpool, but
pointed out that it placed a large order this
summer to avoid getting snared in the computer

Kevin McKay, president of the software maker's
Western Hemisphere unit, SAP Americas, said he
was unaware that problems with the software
had caused delays, but acknowledged that tests
prior to activation of the system showed
"anomalies" in order-related functions. He said
SAP corrected them and is now "fine-tuning" the

"Senior management at Whirlpool is pleased with
the support we've given them," he said.

Whirlpool is experiencing some of the difficulties
that have plagued large-scale software projects
at many big companies lately. At a cost of
millions of dollars, SAP, PeopleSoft Inc. and
others design complex software to tie together a
company's operations, from order entry through
production scheduling and billing. But installing
such broad systems is so tricky that snags
inevitably develop.

Fabric maker W.L. Gore & Associates is suing
PeopleSoft and consultants Deloitte & Touche
over an allegedly botched installation. Problems
with an enterprise-software system kept candy
maker Hershey Foods Corp. from keeping up
with orders in the key Halloween season.

In the trash industry, Allied Waste Industries Inc.
is in the process of pulling the plug on a $130
million SAP system, while Waste Management
Inc. called off an SAP installation that would have
cost $250 million. Whirlpool declined to say how
much it is spending on its SAP system.

  Copyright  1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights

For information about subscribing, go to http://wsj.com

Thank You.


Dave Mahadevan.. mailto:mahadevan@fuse.net

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