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This week we are profiling Chris Karch, Stream Lead for SAP FI/CO at Rockwell Automation. Learn more about Chris’s involvement with implementing SAP Controlling and Rockwell Automation and how he hopes to influence change in SAP Product Costing.
How did you get your start with SAP and SAP Controlling?
In 2005, Rockwell Automation decided to convert all legacy systems, most of them mainframe applications, to SAP. This included all of the SAP modules. With 8 years of Product Costing and Operations Finance experience at Rockwell Automation, they asked if I would be interested in moving to the project team to lead the product costing conversion. At the time, they had a separate lead for cost center and profit center conversion and in 2008, I took over leading the full controlling implementation.
What is one of the most important trends that you see currently in SAP Controlling?
After working with SAP now for 8 years, I really see the need to begin upgrading SAP Controlling. I believe that Controlling has not kept up with the needs of the customer and the changing environment of companies. I am very interested in learning more about the initiative to upgrade the Product Costing functions in controlling and hope to help influence the changes based on limitations with the processes we experience at Rockwell Automation.
In your opinion, why does SAP Controlling matter?
SAP Controlling is very important because it provides the tools and the analytics for the internal management organization to ensure the company is achieving its goals and optimizing its profits. Since converting to SAP, our management organization has been able to analyze data much more quickly and make fast decisions when global issues occur. With global processes, we are able to quickly and easily look at key spending across the regions and identify and focus on specific items that are causing the organization to miss their goals. We have also been able to make much more informed decisions on product costing and optimize where we build our products.
How do you stay on top of Controlling topics? What resources do you regularly use?
Unfortunately we still continue to have a very aggressive release schedule to finish the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions, so it has been difficult to keep up to date on Controlling trends and changes. I did not feel that in the past there was a good way really to discuss with other companies topics within Controlling. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend last year's 1st Controlling Conference and had a great experience and not only learned a lot about things coming up the controlling area, but also better understanding of basic controlling topics and open discussion with other individuals on how they utilize the controlling module to optimize the use of the system to support their organizations.
What are you looking forward to about Controlling 2013?
I am really looking forward to seeing this event grow and to spend more time networking with individuals from other companies. The more you listen to others, the more you realize that many of the same issues your company faces with rolling out SAP, others have experienced as well. Understanding how other companies have managed similar challenges gives us fresh ideas on how to improve our processes.
Where is your favorite place to vacation and why?
While I love to vacation at all inclusives in Jamaica and Riviera Maya, I would have to say at our cottage in Northern Wisconsin. It is on a small lake and the area offers the lake recreational activities, as well as ATV'ng and snowmobiling. While working on the SAP implementation project is very challenging, getting away for extended weekends there is a real stress reliever!