I have lots of project experience in manufacturing, but in most cases the automation systems can not be integrated into ERP systems at all. So my wish is to integrate more good ERP system into manufactory applications. But right now I am new to SAP. How can I become a SAP implementation expert? What kinds of people are suitable for SAP career? Thank you.
Let's start with your last question - you don't have to be a hardcore programmer or systems administrator to make a real contribution to the SAP field. In fact, due to SAP's extensive client base in both discrete and process manufacturing, there is plenty of room in SAP for people like yourself who have experience implementing manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain management systems. The challenge for you is that there are plenty of seasoned SAP consultants with manufacturing backgrounds out there, and in the midst of an economic downturn, it's hard to compete with seasoned consultants.
The best strategy for breaking into SAP right now is to work your way in "through the backdoor" by leveraging your current skills on an SAP project site - as opposed to getting trained in SAP and trying to move directly into a full-fledged SAP position. A gradual, indirect route will often get better results. In many cases, it is possible to "break into" SAP by finding an opportunity to integrate your current manufacturing app with an SAP system. However, in your case, it seems that the automation system you have expertise on is not typically integrated with ERP. Your job is to do some more market research and figure out how your skills might be utilized on SAP projects in your industry. This is the so-called "age of integration," so if you can find a way to help SAP users integrate SAP with specialized manufacturing apps, you might have a foothold in the SAP market. You would then want to expand your expertise into new areas within SAP, such as the APO supply chain solution, where you will face less competition from veteran consultants. The real legwork for you is figuring out how your skills can be relevant to a company running on SAP right now, without any additional training. You need to figure out what you have to offer SAP users in your industry and sell them on your abilities. Good luck!
This was first published in May 2002