Bottling Innovation at Krones AG

Most of us probably don’t think too much about how that bottle of celebratory bubbly or interesting new microbrew actually came to be outside of the fermentation process itself, but a lot goes into keeping the beverage industry flowing.

Automation of bottling and ease of vendor ordering are critical to keeping us all well hydrated, and digital solutions are now a big part of traditional manufacturing.

One fourth of the world’s bottles are filled on lines produced by Krones AG. Everything from beer to ketchup, sparkling wine to perfume, and water to soft drinks, come off production lines that Krones AG had a hand in. Founded in Germany in 1951 as a semi-automatic labeling production, Krones AG has grown over the years and now partners with its customers on mechanical engineering, process technology, microbiology, and IT. The company’s machinery goes from filling, labeling, and packing bottles and cans, to then taking back plastic bottles (PET) and processing them for reuse.

Krones AG now has operations internationally in locations such as South Africa, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and multiple sites in South America. But multiple global subsidiaries can produce operational difficulties. With subsidiaries running on diverse ERP platforms, it became apparent that its intercompany integration was too time consuming. The company needed a solution that was easy to implement, and more importantly, would integrate all its businesses.

Enter SAP Business One

Krones AG elected to go with SAP Business One. In a recent video about its success, Anna Maria Gunther, Commercial Applications CRM and Lifecycle Service, Krones AG, explained that the SAP Business One decision was simple. It is easy to learn and quick to implement, but still provides a full range of functionality. That made it a cost effective solution. Its financial reporting has gone from days at month end, to just the push of a button.

By taking this harmonized approach, Krones AG is streamlining all of its subsidiaries and synchronizing material data and receipts with its headquarters. This seamless integration at the warehouse and online, enables its ecommerce presence. In addition, this was accomplished without an IT investment from headquarters.

Easy Shopping for Commercial Customers

Krones AG has over 1.7 million products to offer its commercial customers. And its customers expect to order items with the same level of ease they have ordering products from any online store in their personal lives. With SAP Hybris Commerce, Krones AG was able to deliver such a user experience:

“In the Krones online store, commercial customers receive the same easy shopping experience that they expect from other online retailers like Amazon – even though a single machine can comprise of up to six million separate parts.”

— Bernd Baldauf, Head of eBusiness, Krones AG

And that easy-to-use, accurate online presence has led to an increase in sales orders. Keeping its customers happy and well stocked using an easy-to-use digital solution is just good business.

So the next time you pick up a soft drink or a bottle of water, think about how we take for granted the availability of that great product. There is so much innovation going into the production of consumer products and Krones AG is adapting its business for the future. The company embraces the concept that a business cannot simply be ‘live’ because that implies that they are standing still. Krones AG has simplified its approach to integrating subsidiaries and have reduced the effort to bring goods to customers.

I’ll drink to that!


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This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.