msc mobile emerging technologies blog

How to setup Checklists for Mobile Applications in SAP PM/CS

Posted by André Kreuzwieser on Feb 29, 2016 3:00:00 PM

In a maintenance and customer service process, there are obvious domains to utilize checklists in order to fulfill the following purpose:

  • Standardize maintenance checks based on predefined steps in order to ensure consistency and quality. As an example, we can examine a car inspection scenario which could consist of steps like:
    • Check wheels
    • Check engine
    • Check gears
  • Capture condition of equipments
    • Qualitative: e.g. general condition like “good” or “bad”
    • Quantitative e.g. air pressure, operating hours or temperature
  • Capture standardized error codes and causes like “outworn”, “overheated” or “leaking” for further analysis
This information could be used internally for documentation or data analysis. In addition, it could be shared with customers (for instance on a service report or inspection certificate).

Today´s challenge

In the past - and still today! - a lot of organizations face major issues in terms of their checklists since:

  • Checks are not documented and only in the heads of a few technicians/engineers. In case of fluctuation or a missing knowledge management strategy, the knowledge decreases or gets lost.
  • Checklists are not integrated into SAP and are not directly linked to the corresponding objects like Customers, Functional Locations, Equipments, Orders or Notifications. Instead, there is a media break since the checklists are Excel-based or printed on paper. In some cases, checklists are even not used.
  • The information is spread over several documents and sheets, a data analysis is almost impossible or requires high effort.

The answer – Standardize checklists and integrate them into SAP PM/CS

Especially in today´s markets where a lot of products are quite similar from a functional perspective, the quality, trust and stability besides the maintenance and service capabilities of an enterprise can influence the buying decision of customers and lead to an increasing market share. Think about an example in which an analysis of the checklist result leads to the conclusion that a certain equipment part causes the most down time. Having this information, the enterprise can take actions like searching for a new vendor providing better quality in order to fix this quality issue. The quality assurance and data analysis capabilities based on checklists could hereby lead to a huge competitive advantage.

Therefore, part one of this blog will outline how to set up checklists in SAP PM/CS. Part 2 of this blog will cover the mobile application part running on the mobile device.

Requirements for a checklist

A checklist should fulfill the following requirements:

  • Fully integrated into SAP PM/CS in order to provide data analysis capabilities
  • The technician should fill out the checklist on the mobile device in an easy and fast manner (should be as easy as with pencil and paper)
  • Checklist should contain predefined values and free text capability
  • Checklist should be enhanceable (e.g. deleting or adding new checks)
  • Adding removing checks to the checklist should be done in SAP PM/CS and not require an update of the mobile application
  • Checklist should be directly assigned to an Equipment (e.g. the checklist could differ dependent on the equipment type)

Different ways to build a checklist in SAP PM/CS

In general, there are multiple possibilities how to implement a checklist in SAP PM/CS. In most cases, one of these three strategies is used:

  • PM/CS Notification with codes (based on catalog profiles, code groups and codes)
  • Measurement Points attached to a Functional Location or Equipment
  • Inspection Lots (integrated into SAP Quality Management module (SAP QM)

This blog will focus on the option with a PM/CS Notification and the catalog profiles.

Our Business Scenario

Let´s take a business scenario in order to illustrate the checklist setup in SAP PM/CS. We are working for a vendor of elevators which are sold to a huge customer base all around the world. The maintenance of these elevators is done by our team of service technicians once a year. Although they already use a mobile application in order to execute the maintenance and service orders, the checklists are still paper-based and not integrated. Since we receive more and more customer complaints, we decide to gain more transparency and a better data analysis capability by setting up the checklists in SAP.

We sold a set of elevators to our customer Max Mustermann GmbH. The elevators are residing in SAP PM/CS as Equipments. Each elevator resp. part of the elevator should contain a predefined checklist. The checklist we would like to build should look something like this screenshot: 

Checklists from SAP PM/CS on a mobile device (running SAM Smart Asset Management)

Checklist from SAP PM/CS shown on a iPad running SAM Smart Asset Management

Build checklist by creating Notification Tasks

In our scenario, we decide to build the checklist based on Notification Tasks. Therefore, we can create an own code group for Notification Tasks.

  1. Creating a new Task Code Group “ZCHECK” using transaction QS41
  2. Specify name for code group and press button “Create/Change”.

SAP transaction QS41

  1. Maintain short text and status for code group

SAP - create Code groups

  1. Double click on “Codes” (see red section above)


  1. Press button “New entries” in order to maintain the codes for the checklist.

SAP PM/CS based checklist

  1. Maintain the codes for the checklist and press Save button.

Create a Catalog Profile

In order to assign the checklist to the elevator shaft, we need to assign the previously created Task Code Group to a Catalog Profile which can be assigned to the elevator shaft reflected as Equipment in SAP PM/CS. Transaction OQN6 can be used for this purpose.

  1. Press button “New Entries”

Transaction OQN6

  1. Maintain name and short text of Catalog Profile and press Catalog / Code Groups in order to assign the Code Group to the Catalog Profile

Catalog Profile

  1. Click Button “New Entries”

Create new Catalog Profiles

  1. Assign Catalog and Code Group

Assign Catalog Profile to Equipment

The elevator shaft is an Equipment within SAP PM/CS. In order to assign the previously defined checks to the elevator shaft, we maintain the equipment´s Catalog Profile using transaction IE02.

  1. Call transaction IE02 and press enter

transaction IE02

  1. Switch to tab “Organization” and assign previously created Catalog Profile
  2. Press Save button.

Test assigned checklist within SAP PM/CS

In order to test if the correct checks are populated, we can perform a quick test by creating a PM/CS Notification using transaction IW21 or resp. transaction IW51 and assign our elevator shaft as Equipment to the PM/CS Notification.

  1. Create Notification of type M1 (or any other type available in the system) using IW21

SAP Transaction IW21

  1. Assign Equipment

SAP PM Notification - assign equipment

  1. Check populated Notification Tasks  on tab “Tasks”

SAP Notifications - Tasks

In case everything is set up correctly, each defined code should be displayed and can be selected. In this case, the Task List within the PM/CS Notification is derived from the Catalog Profile of the Equipment we assigned as reference object to the PM/CS Notification

In this blog, we discussed the needs for mobile checklists, why they should be integrated into SAP ERP and which benefits might arise. In addition to this, we explained the single steps how to assign necessary checks to an Equipment in SAP PM/CS and how to validate if everything is set up correctly.

In part 2 of this blog series, we will discuss how to build the mobile checklist on the mobile side dynamically based on our settings in SAP PM/CS and how to save the checklist results in an analyzable way.

Are you planing to mobilize your customer service or plant maintenance processes? Our white paper will tell you what you need to think about. 

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Topics: SAP, Checklist, Customer Service, Maintenance, SAP Work Manager, SAM