The SAP rollout will establish a single platform that interconnects BNSF’s financial, human resource and compliance operations. This integrated enterprise landscape will improve transaction visibility, real-time processing of invoices and enhanced management control.
As a subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, BNSF Railway operates more than 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. The rapidly growing popularity of freight rail has made BNSF among the world’s top transporters of intermodal traffic, and the railway moves more grain than any other American railroad. In coming years, explosive growth in the transport industry will present BNSF with more challenges as well as opportunities.
“Industry estimates all report that the demand for freight transportation is expected to jump 67 percent over the next 20 years,” said Jeff Campbell, vice president, Technology Services, and chief information officer, BNSF. “We wanted to prepare early on to provide HR and financial systems that could handle that kind of demand. Our users of those systems have benefited from the best available technology. A complete transformation of the IT infrastructure from top to bottom and across business units was necessary so that we could continue to provide the best systems available.”
SAP-fueled integration and automation brings finance and employees to the fore
BNSF selected SAP Business Suite to bring a more integrated and seamless approach to internal processes. The family of business applications will be employed across all of BNSF’s financial, compliance, payroll and human capital functions. BNSF’s budget monitoring and human capital management will be jointly handled by Duet software from SAP and Microsoft. The easy-to-use Microsoft Office interface from Duet will help users access data from SAP enterprise applications so that more information can be easily disseminated to employees. BNSF will also utilize SAP Interactive Forums by Adobe for processing employee master information and field invoices in a self-service capacity.
“Virtually all of the company’s back office systems will be replaced and the integrated system will be a strategic platform for the company,” said Paul Bischler, vice president and controller, BNSF. “The company will process 50,000 payroll records through the new system and replace many of its internal systems, including its financial reporting, invoice management, and portions of its revenue and asset management processes. We believe this will enhance our existing processes and provide more efficient and improved data processing.”
One planned benefit of BNSF’s business transformation is the ability to rapidly deploy new employees in the field. The new human capital management system allows for the rapid on-boarding of qualified workers, incorporating necessary training and certification in one package. As much of the industry’s workforce approaches retirement, BNSF is assured that those open slots will be filled with knowledgeable professionals much more quickly.
“BNSF is a shining example to other freight transporters,” said Rodney Strata, industry principal, Transportation and Logistics, SAP. “IT revitalization is needed today to prepare for the sweeping business changes that lie ahead for the railway industry. SAP is there for them with a business process platform that adds common functionality to years of disparate IT build up. We look forward to continuing our work with BSNF as they move to a complete IT ecosystem.”