Importance Of Test Automation In Supply Chain Management

Test Automation In Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is complicated; it is cumbersome, time taking and has multiple processes that need overseeing to ensure hassle-free performance. Additionally, consumers and client bases are growing at rapid rates. 

Supply chains, thus, need to become more accurate, nimble and flexible. They need to adapt to the need of incorporating methods that are more complex to facilitate better transportation of products and information. 

The supply chain process starts with the creation of a product by manufacturers and raw materials providers. These finished products are then transported to warehouses where they are stored in an organised manner. Then they are further transported to their final destination; the client.  

It might look simple but each step faces certain challenges that hamper the efficiency of the chain thereby causing delays, errors etc. Some of the common challenges that supply chains face today are:

  • Increase in spending, resulting from rising fuel and raw material prices, high labour costs etc.
  • Managing multiple supply chain verticals, third-party marketplaces, drop shipping retail, traditional retailers etc., is difficult and complex
  • Driven by consumer needs, supply chains are expected to become faster, more accurate, provide better product and service quality and be environmentally aware etc.
  • Associated risks create additional pressure
  • Other endemic problems include port congestion, trucking capacity issues, the introduction of tariff across trade routes results in delays, backlogs and bottlenecks
  • Miscellaneous other issues like:
    • Just-in-time manufacturing followed by speed to market
    • Sale and marketing cycle based demands and seasonal demands 
    • Maintaining the balance between cost and availability in inventory management
    • New product introduction etc. 

It is simply not possible to overcome all these challenges using manual methods. Hence, automation is the key to ensuring every aspect of supply chain management performs superlatively with one process flowing into the other without a hitch.

Benefits of Automating Supply Chain

Integration of automation in supply chain tasks like warehouse management, data analysis, data tracking etc., help to increase the performance of the company and enhance client satisfaction.

Supply chain automation benefits the business in many different ways like:

  • Betterment of management accuracy leading to reduced turnover times
  • Lowering of workspace injury risks
  • Enables companies to convert large clients by marketing a high-performing business
  • Enhanced eco compliance with a decrease in environmental footprint etc.

Automation of the supply chain is done using technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, robotics, predictive analysis etc. and incorporating them within a single SAP software. The ERP software helps oversee the automated process and ensures its performance.

What is SAP and How Does it Help Businesses?

SAP is ERP software with the capability to integrate multiple commercial applications and processes. In supply chain management, the implementation of SAP is critical for ensuring the consistent flow of data. SAP has one single common database and all integrated apps access this database. This helps businesses to:

  • Enable cost reduction with an increase in flexibility 
  • Enhance productivity
  • Help management make better commercial decisions
  • Link up different individual supply chain processes and bring them under one aegis etc.

To ensure the deliverance of superlative performance SAP needs to undergo comprehensive testing using test automation services. This service tests different SAP modules to ensure that it meets the requirements of the client. 

SAP consists of many complex workflows. To work optimally it requires a strong understanding between the engineering and commercial teams. Thus performing a comprehensive test of the SAP software is crucial to the success of system automation. 

SAP testing is not without challenges. With the decrease in release timelines, testing needs to be done quickly and accurately. Thus, test automation solutions are adopted both to debug the software and to ensure incremental delivery of quality software. 

However, for complex enterprise ERP apps like SAP, testing is generally GUI driven. This makes it difficult and costly as testing for SAP requires:

  • Specialised skills
  • Extensive maintenance and
  • Produces brittle tests. 

Manual testing of SAP would have been easier but it is no longer a commercially viable option. However, today there is a better way of ensuring a bug and issue free quality enterprise solution within accelerated timelines.

Certify Helps Make SAP Testing Easy

Certify, one of the best test automation tools popular across the world, is based on a patented Object Action Framework.

Certify from Worksoft is a test automation framework specifically developed for non-technical users to test enterprise-scale, end-to-end business processes. Benefits of using Certify are diverse and limitless. Some of the important features of Certify include:

  • Ability to perform speed testing or regression testing
  • Codeless automation
  • Remote and unattended execution 
  • Acceleration of time testing
  • Quick defect identification
  • Easy to build and maintain
  • Detailed documentation resulting from improved reporting

Thus, the use of Certify helps to increase the efficiency and convenience of supply chain management systems by reducing the need for human labour and mitigating risk of human errors. 

This built-in functional test automation framework:

  • Is an integrated SAP testing tool that automates its entire testing lifecycle right from the creation of the test to impact analysis, functional testing and audit documentation
  • Requires no scripting language as it is a complete code-free solution
  • Supports the methodology of Business Process certification 
  • Is also a reusable, versatile integrated test repository
  • Requires low-cost maintenance that can be enabled with only a single click with updates propagated among all the tests
  • Increases test coverage to almost 80%

This code-free solution has also managed to provide solutions to almost all challenges that testers face in SAP testing. The important challenges that it helps to mitigate are:

  • Test data management: Since behind the scene, data management forms an integral part of an ERP, the biggest challenge that SAP testers face is with the availability of consistent test data. This can either be addressed by:
    • Accepting system imposed data and generating enormous amounts of useful test data so there is no scope of overwrites within the testing session or
    • Maintain a back up of that database which contains data sets relevant to SAP testing and recovering the back up before every test run. 

While the problem of test data management is not unique to SAP testing, the sheer complexity and volume of operations associated with SAP increase its criticality.

  • Test case management: To facilitate good test case management for SAP, Certify advocates the following ground rules:
    • Dependable testing needs accurate test data and test state availability
    • A self-explanatory and accurate test case name adds value 
    • To understand regression and the total impact of the problem faced, correct naming of requirement linking is mandatory

Since there are innumerable details associated with each case, E2E scope needs to have a comprehensive solution for test case management. This can be achieved by following the above suggestions.

  • SAP test execution: Change is the only constant in business. Thus, test automation services need to be continuously carried out with end-to-end data co-relation. Without the validation of the data with its corresponding business process, any end-to-end SAP test conducted will eventually fail.
  • Test estimation: The biggest challenge to SAP testing comes from making the right selection of test strategy and test estimation. Sometimes the count of the test steps can also exceed 200 in number. This means that some tests may take more than one day for its complete execution. However, evaluation of sample scenarios will help testers come to a right decision regarding test estimation.

Making SAP software free from errors and enhancing its quality has business-wide implications. SAP oversees the whole of the automation process. It is also responsible for ensuring steady and accurate information flow to better productivity and process output. Thus, this ERP software needs to be of high quality and free from errors and issues. 

Certify, with its innovative test automation services and solutions has made SAP testing easy and free from challenges. Thus, Certify ultimately helps to enable supply chain test and test process automation in business. It benefits businesses by making them time and cost-efficient and reducing incidents of errors, accidents, wrong deliveries etc. Certify justifies its worldwide popularity by enhancing the efficiency of supply chain work processes like warehouse and inventory management, freight management, delivery, replacement etc. 

That is not all. Certify is a one-stop tool with diversified business applications. It also helps in web automation, is mostly used to automate SRM applications, performs ERP app testing, mobile app testing, mainframe testing, Testing different Microsoft office products like Word, Excel etc.   

Businesses using Certify also benefit in other ways like experiencing cuts in delivery timelines, reducing manual labour, risk mitigation etc. However, the biggest advantage of using Certify is its ability to enable it to work with non-technical business users. This collaboration ultimately leads to reducing manual errors, speeding of delivery timelines and enhancing customer satisfaction; the three prerequisites to a successful supply chain automation.

About the Author

QA InfoTech

QA InfoTech

Established in 2003, with less than five testing experts, QA InfoTech has grown leaps and bounds with three QA Centers of Excellence globally; two of which are located in the hub of IT activity in India, Noida, and the other, our affiliate QA InfoTech Inc Michigan USA. In 2010 and 2011, QA InfoTech has been ranked in the top 100 places to work for in India.

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