A Day in the Life of an SAP Consultant
(Photo courtesy of: http://www.jobsinscotland.com/article/a-day-at-the-offices/)
Morning: For the last 3 years I have worked for a leading SAP® consultancy called Absoft, headquartered in Aberdeen. Essentially, my role as an SAP logistics consultant involves working with our customers to optimise their SAP software and ensure that the right equipment is delivered to the right place, at the right time.
As part of my current assignment, I work on a client site for an international oil and gas company which involves travel to Norway each week. Generally, I fly to Stavanger on a Monday, returning to Aberdeen every Wednesday evening. Each time I visit Stavanger, I tend to stay at the same hotel where the staff now recognise me and always provide a warm welcome. I get up at around 6.30am each day and have breakfast at the hotel. Shortly afterwards, I order a taxi and leave the hotel around 7.30am to ensure that I arrive at the client’s office, based in Tananger, about 8am.
It’s good to have my own desk in the Tananger office, which is situated near the client’s IT department and it makes me feel part of their team. I’ve noticed that in Norway the day starts quite slowly, but quickly becomes extremely productive as the day goes on. I split my time between Aberdeen and Stavanger and tend to do most preparation work in Aberdeen, in order to make the most of my time on the client’s site with valuable face to face discussions. Typically, my mornings are spent interacting with the client’s supply chain team and SAP super users. These are the main contacts within the supply chain function of the business who report on any issues with their SAP system and raise requirements for improvements. A key part of my role involves implementing client change requests. When I’m in Aberdeen, it’s very easy to get the necessary sign-off as I work with the customers on a day to day basis, but it’s more difficult with the Norwegian part of the business. So when I am in Stavanger it’s good to get the opportunity to sit around the table with the client’s team, discuss their requirements face to face, test the system together, and if required, make immediate changes, to ensure their SAP system remains in line with their operational requirements.
Lunch: There’s a fantastic canteen on site which I use daily, although lunch in Norway starts much earlier than it does here in the UK, with most people eating around about 11.30am. I usually don’t go for lunch until about 12.20pm, at which point the canteen is preparing to close! The food on offer is very healthy and fish is a popular delicacy. The canteen is a very friendly environment and I tend to chat with the Norwegian employees, who all speak excellent English.
Afternoon: My afternoon generally consists of client meetings, but I always try to catch up with another one of my Absoft colleagues, who is currently based in Stavanger. My colleague specialises in SAP Plant Maintenance and there is quite a bit of crossover between this department and my materials management remit. For example, if equipment is damaged offshore then a corrective maintenance notification is raised by the maintenance department to schedule the repair, but ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the materials management team to ensure the essential parts and necessary materials are available for maintenance execution. For that reason, my colleague and I often meet in Stavanger to discuss these operational processes and how the information should be reflected in the client’s SAP system.
I also meet regularly with the supply chain lead, who manages large projects which SAP consultants are often required to advise on. At present, oil and gas companies are driving cost efficiency initiatives and I work with the client to improve inventory operations by monitoring stock levels in SAP, which can help to reduce stock levels and costs.
When I am in Stavanger, the operations in Aberdeen don’t stop. I still need to provide assistance to the client’s UK team and I’m always checking emails remotely and dialling into web conference calls to make sure the client’s local team continue to receive the best possible service, and get the most out of their investment in SAP.
Evening: I usually finish work in Stavanger around 5.30pm. After work, I head back to the hotel and talk to my husband on Skype. During my leisure time back in Aberdeen, my husband and I enjoy mountain biking, so I try to keep active whilst I’m away with work too. I’m lucky that the hotel in Stavanger is not far from stunning outdoor scenery, with a beautiful lake nearby, where I tend to go jogging. After I’ve worked up an appetite, I have dinner, which is normally in the hotel restaurant, but sometimes I travel into town to dine with colleagues who come to visit. It’s always nice to catch-up. People often ask me if I mind working away from home. The truth is that sometimes it can be tough being away from family, but I really enjoy my job and my time in Stavanger always passes so quickly that I can hardly believe it when I’m boarding the plane to come home.
6 reasons why I love my job:
- Variety – Each project is like starting a new job. I get to meet new people, work in a different environment and learn about various business processes in SAP.
- Travel- Absoft has an international customer base which means that project assignments can often lead to travel to interesting places that I’ve never visited before.
- Challenges- SAP consulting always brings new challenges and requires exploring different methods to solve problems. Developing solutions and monitoring the positive impact on the client’s operations provide a great sense of satisfaction.
- Progression - Absoft has a very structured and clear path for career development, which really motivates me to achieve consistently high standards of delivery.
- Support - Although the ability to be able to work on your own initiative is crucial, I always feel that I have the support from Absoft’s consultants back in Aberdeen, who are always on hand to help and share their experiences.
- Meeting interesting people- I work with a variety of people from different cultures and levels within an organisation and they all offer lots of experience that I can learn from to develop my own career.