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WEIG Group Creates New Business Models with SAP S/4HANA

October 3, 2016 by Andreas Schmitz 214

WEIG Group chose SAP S/4HANA to provide an integrated platform for enabling  new business models throughout the company’s entire value chain.

WEIG Group, a midsize company headquartered near Koblenz, Germany, and with operations in South America, turns recovered paper into cartonboard, printed folding carton, and plasterboard liner. It is a major regional supplier of cartonboard and folding carton products. It also provides the gypsum industry worldwide with plasterboard liner for wallboard panels.

Digitalization: Opportunity for New Business Models

Digitalization is presenting new challenges to WEIG Group. The company believes that transparency goes hand in hand with individuality and reliability. Digital technologies are bringing the company closer to that credo. Digital business processes will enable WEIG Group to manufacture products to individual customers’ specifications and to provide even more transparency along the entire value chain. Digital technology will also allow WEIG Group to integrate its customers, suppliers, and partners in its processes via user-friendly SAP Fiori apps, as well as to identify additional potential for improvement.

The head of IT applications, Marco Schüller, expects the new solution, based on SAP S/4HANA, to accelerate decision-making for WEIG Group while enabling customers to place orders themselves and check inventory levels.

SAP S/4HANA 1610 to Go Live in December 2016

In July 2016, WEIG Group’s accounting and purchasing processes went live on SAP S/4HANA 1511. The company has now joined the beta program for the 1610 on-premise release. “The new release will enable us to become a platform provider,” says Schüller.

WEIG Group will also implement SAP Extended Warehouse Management. The new data model enabling real-time data processing will bring more transparency to logistics processes. Another benefit is the simple and intuitive SAP Fiori user experience that will link together sales, manufacturing, and customers. “Customers will use the SAP Fiori apps to access the system to place orders with us or check inventory levels,” says Schüller, who plans to go live with SAP S/4HANA 1610 release as early as December 2016.

Direct Access to SAP Developers Drives Project Success

Schüller believes that the risk of being one of the very first customers on the new release is manageable, not least because the company’s decision to enlist SAP’s help when it migrated from SAP ECC 6.0 ERP system to SAP S/4HANA 1511 paid off.

It benefited from SAP S/4HANA Value Assurance Service Packages from SAP Digital Business Services. They help companies get up and running with SAP S/4HANA quickly and efficiently and create the foundation for introducing future innovations, since they cover all project phases and implementation scenarios for SAP S/4HANA. Scenarios include system conversion, adjusting IT infrastructure, and new implementations, and cover all deployment models: local (on-premise), in the cloud, and hybrid. SAP S/4HANA Value Assurance Service Packages are designed to help customers switch to a digital platform so that they can transform their business processes. The service packages combine the expertise of SAP Digital Business Services and the partner ecosystem.

SAP provided the 15 members of WEIG Group’s IT department with all the support they needed throughout the project, from setting up an isolated test environment, trialing the new software in the development system, and going live.

SAP S/4HANA 1511 in Three Steps

“We set up a sandbox to test how we could migrate from the old ERP world to SAP S/4HANA,” says Schüller. The sandbox includes a test program from SAP that checks custom code and custom settings for their compatibility with the SAP S/4HANA infrastructure.

“The integration of customers and vendors didn’t work at first,” Schüller reports. Through SAP S/4HANA Value Assurance, SAP promptly helped him resolve this and similar issues that arose during the migration. “Having direct contact with SAP developers was a real advantage,” says Schüller. “That way, we were able to solve problems so much faster.”

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Why did WEIG Group choose to migrate to SAP S/4HANA? According to Schüller: “Our SAP ECC 6.0 system just wasn’t meeting our performance expectations any more. Besides, our SAP Business Warehouse took too long to deliver the reports we needed. So we decided it would be better to switch to SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s strategic solution.”

Right from the sandbox phase, WEIG Group’s project team spent two days a week with SAP experts. Within six weeks, a blueprint was in place for accounting, management accounting, and material management processes in the new system. The development system reflected the company’s latest requirements. “We deployed the development system for two weeks before going live over one weekend,” says Schüller. The implementation of SAP S/4HANA 1511 took five months from start to finish.

Schüller wants to work just as closely with SAP on the next phases in their journey. What makes his job easier is that WEIG Group, being a midsize company, can make decisions quickly and flexibly. This ability will be key to realizing its plan to complete migration of its entire manufacturing to SAP S/4HANA by 2018.

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