The Company – Fortune 100 CPG (Food & Beverage) multi-national
The Problem – this CPG Company, much like most large multi-nationals, was managing their global operations, including Brazil, from a SAP Center of Excellence. Because outbound Nota Fiscal processes in Brazil are required to be real-time or the truck is not allowed to leave the loading dock, IT was always on call for day to day production support issues. The headache was further compounded by the disparate and customized nature of their in-house Nota Fiscal solution which had multiple components including: SAP configuration, a print procedure, a middleware component, and a specific software for Nota Fiscal compliance. Beyond day to day support activity, the in-house solution required updates and configurations to manage the changing Brazil Nota Fiscal legislation. These upgrades posed two issues:
- The in-house solution required the support of multiple hardware boxes – needing a separate instance for Production, QA, and Development. This made the work more difficult especially during the testing and transport processes.
- Additionally, each new country change required external consulting services for upgrades, maintenance and support which became very expensive on top of the software maintenance.
So when a new December 2012 business requirement was threatening the financial team with non-compliance and the logistics teams with an inability to ship, the leadership started looking for an alternative that:
- eliminated the SAP configuration issues now and in the future
- lowered the ongoing costs to support
- provided enterprise support where they could pick up the phone in Portuguese, Spanish and English
- guaranteed compliance with any future changes
- eliminated duplicate hardware and multiple systems
- reduced reliance on outside consulting firm for changes
- provided a Latin America eInvoicing network that covered multiple countries including Brazil and Mexico
The Solution – By utilizing a SAP Rapid Deployment Template from a vendor focused on SAP and Latin America eInvoicing, this food & beverage manufacturer was able to maintain their current global version of SAP, meet the newly mandated NFe changes, and protect their SAP system from future issues. Additionally, the approach of the Rapid Deployment Template and Latin American eInvoicing Network will allow this CPG company to upgrade their SAP system on their terms, not on the terms dictated by one country’s unique legislation. Changes to the local requirements are managed within the rapid deployment template which removes the burden of constantly updating your ERP every time the local regulation changes and the Latin America eInvoicing Network maintains the connectivity for Brazil Nota Fiscal for Goods, NF for Services, CTe for Transportation Invoices, Mexico eFactura (CFD and CFDI), Argentina AFIP, et al….
The Lesson – Managing in-house software solutions for SAP Brazil Nota Fiscal can be complex and has many costs: multiple software solutions, multiple maintenance fees, multiple hardware maintenance fees, maintaining the solution through a multi-tier SAP deployment, day to day production support, ongoing change management and upgrade support. Additionally, most in-house solutions are limited to one country. As your company looks to comply with the constantly changing legislation in Latin America, ensure you understand the support issues you are experiencing during both production and upgrades.