Global Backup Facilitates International Expansion

May 29, 2006 by admin

Shareholders have been singing the praises of Andritz for some time. The rapid growth of the technology service provider, based in Graz in Austria, is reflected in the continual appreciation of the company’s value. Founded by Josef Körösi in 1852 as a foundry and machine factory, Andritz became an important international player over the years through numerous acquisitions and its flotation in 2001. The company has around 6,000 employees, 30 production sites and service branches, and 100 subsidiaries and sales bases around the world, for example in Austria, Germany, Finland, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, USA, Canada and China. In recent years the Group has secured a number of large international orders worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This represents a big challenge for the Group’s IT-based order processing and its production sites in Austria, Finland, and the USA. The Group’s mix of different legacy systems has made it less and less able to cope with tasks at a global level.

SAP made to measure

Andritz needed a global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, not least to enable improved collaboration with the subsidiaries in Finland, China, and North America. One requirement of the solution was that it should be able to reflect the needs of the individual national companies. Andritz’s aim was to integrate its business processes electronically at the global level and to remain in a position to implement its constantly increasing demands.
Previously the head office in Austria worked with an integrated IT system (INES) which was developed in-house but had become obsolete after some 20 years. The Finnish company Andritz Oy deployed various solutions and needed a completely new software package for logistics, financial accounting, financial reporting, and project controlling. Overall, Andritz’s processes were running on sixteen different IT systems around the world. “It was clear that we needed a standard global solution that also integrated our third-party solutions for product lifecycle management (PLM),” recalls Dr. Heinz Autischer, Chief Business Process Officer at the Andritz Group. “The most suitable solution for us was SAP R/3 Enterprise with a license for mySAP ERP.”
The purpose of the new SAP solution was to map the entire business workflow of the Andritz Group. In future all processes across the various sites would have to be standardized and integrated into the ERP application in order to enable integration at the global level. To achieve this SAP R/3 Enterprise had to be adapted to the Group’s needs and implemented globally using the Andritz Towards SAP (ASAP) rollout template. The Andritz Group commenced implementation of the project in March 2004. By 2010 mySAP ERP with comprehensive functionality will be integrated at 30 sites with a total of 3,000 users.

Hand in hand towards rollout

From the very start of the project, SAP partner and software consultancy CNT Management Consulting has been supporting the Andritz Group in collaboration with the Swiss SAP system house Information Management Group (IMG). Together they developed a solution that would make the Group’s operations more effective and flexible in future.

SAP Tutor

SAP Tutor

Around 50 employees from Andritz, CNT, and IMG are collaborating at all important Andritz sites on the “Andritz Towards SAP” project to develop and implement the ERP system. CNT consultants are accompanying the rollouts of the global template at the individual locations. In order to speed up the implementation of the system, local key users are available to provide support on site. SAP’s interactive online training platform, “SAP Tutor”, augments the induction process. This enables users to access the system at any time via an intranet portal, where a virtual wizard explains the necessary steps in SAP on-screen, thus ensuring the process is always transparent.

First milestone in Finland

In an initial phase leading up to June 2005, the project team linked the Finnish sites in Helsinki, Kotka, and Varkaus to mySAP ERP. Now all projects – totaling over 4000 – are processed using the new solution. During the rollout phase and in the first months after the go-live, the employees generated sizeable quantities of data in SAP, since the data from the legacy systems first had to be reconciled and classified. Up to that point, each material in the legacy systems was depicted in a different format and therefore had to be transferred to a standardized form (“material master record”) in SAP R/3 Enterprise. As such records sometimes include engineering drawings, they can be very complex and need to be carefully maintained. Well over 40,000 material master records have now been created and others are constantly being added.
In October 2005 the production departments in Savonlinna, Finland, went live. All schedules for the large orders are now mapped in the SAP Project System component and are improving order processing flows. The Finnish team now just needs to deploy the powerful tool optimally in its day-to-day work. Kaj Lindh, Managing Director of Savonlinna Works Oy, has big plans: “We would like to exploit the potential of SAP for financials and controlling so we can generate more precise reports than before. We are also hoping that the solution will deliver optimal support for product standardization, as this is a key factor in cutting costs.”

Real-time access to resources

The new ERP solution enables IT resources within the Group to be used centrally (Global Resource Sharing), thus keeping support costs down. In future, therefore, a Customer Competence Center (CCC) will help to bundle support requests and enable them to be processed efficiently. Further, only one system will need to be maintained in future as opposed to several heterogeneous ones at present. With the Project System (PS) component, the solution provides a project-management tool that is integrated into the logistical and financial processes. Existing PLM third-party solutions can be integrated easily. This tailor-made all-in-one solution also covers the SAP Document Management System (SAP DMS) component for PLM with central access to all engineering documents and technical documentation, and also the SAP Easy Document Management System (SAP Easy DMS) user interface. Both components simplify day-to-day work in procurement, service processing, and in other areas. In purchasing, accounting, and controlling, the processes are thus largely harmonized. This not only contributes to the automation of the business processes within the Group, but also improves the overview of finances and reporting, also in regard to further acquisitions. This reduces future risks and costs for the company and the company structure is more open to adaptation.

Integrated from Finland to China

Autischer is happy with the work of CNT: “The tailored solution for Group-wide business processes puts us in a good competitive position as far as IT is concerned. Over the next six years we intend to implement the system gradually across the entire Group without disrupting day-to-day business. At the same time we are constantly working on enhancing the global template so as to make optimal use of feedback from the rollouts and cater for the constantly increasing requirements of our operational units.” At the moment teams are handling the rollout at the German sites in Cologne and Bretten. China and the USA are scheduled to be linked up in the course of this year, as are Denmark and other countries in 2007. Rollout at the Austrian sites is planned for 2008, as the global implementation comes full circle.

Alexander Fischer

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply