SAP Innovation sets a Solid foundation for Wilmar Zimbabwe Operations’ 2020 Digital Transformation Journey

With consumers more empowered than ever thanks to the convergence of technologies creating a hyperconnected world, businesses need to be flexible enough to adapt to changing customer needs. Since entering Africa 15 years ago, Wilmar has expanded its footprint to 14 countries on the continent engaging in oil palm cultivation, crushing, edible oil refining, consumer pack oils, speciality fats production, soap and detergent manufacturing, rice as well as sugar milling and refining, with a vision to become a leading FMCG company. “We chose SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud because we wanted a robust technology platform that embraces change and help standardise all business processes across our various manufacturing plants in Africa,” said Mohan Dass Sivanason, Regional Manager for Transformation at Wilmar Africa Operations.

Surface Wilmar (Pvt) Ltd, based in Chitungwiza, is the largest cooking oil manufacturer in Zimbabwe and Olivine Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, the largest edible fats, ketchup, margarine, baked beans and soap production manufacturer based in Harare. Due to the effects of frequent supplier changes, nature of business and volatile market exchange rates, the company needed to employ the correct technology to achieve business agility. The companies recently received the “Superbrand Brand of the Year 2017” Award, with Surface Wilmar receiving recognition in the Cooking Oil Sector, and Olivine in the Spread sector for their outstanding work.

“Both Surface Wilmar and Olivine needed a system that could provide a full view of all business operations by pulling in data from its various manufacturing plants into a central dashboard. It was imperative that the leadership team could respond quickly and accurately to market and supply chain changes,” said Tracy Bolton, Director of General Business at SAP Africa.

Surface operations in Zimbabwe commenced in 2006, joining forces with Wilmar in 2014 followed by a takeover of Olivine in 2015. The company has transformed its business operations by introducing new automated processes and a state of the art manufacturing plant with the aim of producing products locally, including products that have a near-80% market share in the country.

“We had a need for an agile technology platform that will help us grow, remain relevant in this fast-paced environment and give us a quick ROI on our investment. The SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud has powerful analytics and in-memory big data capabilities to help us accelerate our business operations, remove the burden of managing multiple siloed data sets and give us the ability to consolidate information across countries and companies from a central location with an end-to-end view of all processes and distributions,” added Sivanason

Wilmar Zimbabwe’s 2020 vision is to triple production, start exporting, and produce raw materials locally. The second manufacturing plant is in progress and has been designed to leverage Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure and be able to collect and exchange data that can predict and prevent any manufacturing disasters before they occur. “Commissioning of on-premise server hardware and application software takes longer and is more expensive. By leveraging SAP’s cloud infrastructure, we are able to get up-and-running quickly and expand when we need to,” said Sivanason.

“The company’s dedication to digital transformation, supported by a strong implementation partnership from Tata Consulting Services and leadership commitment by the Executive Chairman, Mr. Narottam Somani played a key role in the successful completion of this journey. SAP believes that companies that leverage the latest technology to improve operations and decision-making capabilities will become the true game changers in the digital economy,” added Bolton.

“Wilmar’s digital transformation journey presents further opportunities to establish a centre of excellence to develop and grow a talent pipeline in line with its growth vision to serve the entire operation across Africa. With the SAP Cloud offering already designed for such growth initiatives, Wilmar has the opportunity to create a manufacturing sector blueprint and make a positive contribution to digital skills development in Zimbabwe and the greater Africa region.”