In collaboration with SAP Consulting, an ERP project for trade and finance at a leading retail company has been successfully completed!
The customer implementation took place at one of the largest food-service enterprises in Europe. Right from the beginning the implementation project was set-up as a template project for multiple countries within Europe. As a leading supplies company – mainly hotels, restaurants, homes, hospitals, staff canteens and schools – have been the target customers for this business. The trade goods did include fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables, and also meat, fish, seafood and dairy products and non-food products.
The two major challenges were to switch from a classic general ledger solution to the SAP new general ledger solution at the same time with a combined implementation of SAP Retail. On top of that a template would have to be designed that would drive the roll-out of further countries after a successful go-live of the first country.
As the customer landscape has been very structured by company codes and clients the challenge had been more on the functional side. Which functions of the new general ledger would support the customer processes best?
Picking the right fruits out of the basket of ERP Financials and especially the new general ledger functions was the main task. At the end, it turned out that cost center and cost element accounting as well as internal orders and profitability analysis covered all controlling aspects of the business. In the area of the new general ledger it has been very time saving to follow one principle: Less is more.
Consequently, specific functions like the document splitting have not been chosen to be in scope. As a result the design of the financial solution has been tailored directly to the customer needs. In terms of the implementation approach the classic steps of design workshops, design scope documents, testing and go-live preparation have been chosen.
As the customer financial team was very experienced with SAP Finance solutions it was possible to discuss the design content without displaying every single step in a prototype. However, a test sandbox had been used to verify assumptions wherever needed. Regarding the template approach all potential aspects like e.g. a global chart of accounts have been captured in order to create a common basis for future implementations in additional countries. However, at the end it became very clear that the country specific business processes were quite different. Therefore only the chart of account information was prepared for future use.
How did the customer benefit?
The area of main benefits was the integration of finance and logistic operations. Being able now to have a real-time valuation of the trade stock and having online reporting on controlling aspects plus financial postings at the same time shifted the business to a new level.
Now after a successful implementation in multiple countries in Europe it has been a true benefit of this project to have sales, stock and customer Information available on a daily basis. Furthermore, a single version of the truth has been made available. Faster reporting without dependency on manual processes to deliver results has enabled the customer to support internal information needs and to improve the interaction with the business partners.
The main personal takeaway was the fact that it pays to spend extra time while discussing the details of the design at the very beginning of the project. Taking a solid decision after a long time of discussing speeds up all follow-up project steps and is therefore well invested money. No rework is needed. An additional often underestimated topic is the fact that team members that are well trained in the financial software product prior to the start of the implementation project are one of the main drivers of delivering a fast, cost efficient and successful project.