Pharma Plant Digitally Transforms with SAP S/4HANA in Just 4 Months

Kiara Health, a manufacturing partner for a top five pharmaceutical company, bought a manufacturing plant from one of the large pharmaceutical companies. They wanted to digitally transform the plant’s processes, from product ordering through to production. Working with United VARs member for South Africa, Seidor Westrocon, they migrated from SAP ECC and implemented a greenfield SAP S/4HANA in only 4 months. We talked to Martin Van Wyk, Director at Seidor Westrocon, to discover more about this successful digital transformation project.

You can watch the full 9 minute interview, or read the transcript below.

UVARs CAST Ep. 1: Pharma manufacturing plant's SAP S/4HANA Migration in South Africa

United VARs: Why did Kiara Health choose you as their digital transformation partner?

Martin @ Seidor Westrocon: We were the first company in South Africa to go live with SAP S/4HANA. One of our SAP S/4HANA customers is a pharmaceutical company which manufactures vaccines, so we have a good track record in the pharmaceutical industry. Kiara Health wanted a partner who has a global footprint. Seidor has a direct presence in five continents the icing on the cake for Kiara is that we are part of United VARs which gives us a global footprint.

To date, we have done 16 collaborative projects with other United VARs partners. This project was a localised implementation, but what brought a lot of comfort to Kiara was the fact we have this broad reach and access to experienced SAP partners worldwide who all have a common way of working together on global SAP implementations. Having access to the United VARs community, through Seidor Westrocon, gives them complete confidence that we can scale this internationally when they have the opportunity.

United VARs: Why did you have such a tight timescale for this project?

Martin @ Seidor Westrocon: Kiara Health had to move from a global SAP ECC system to their own new SAP S/4HANA system very quickly to comply with South African and Global regulations as well as GMP, Good Manufacturing Practices. They needed a validated system and to not lose any manufacturing capability There was no flexibility on the go live date, as Kiara was implementing other shopfloor systems too, so everything needed to go live at the same time.

United VARs: How did you achieve the SAP S/4HANA go live so quickly?

Martin @ Seidor Westrocon: We achieved go live in 4 months, within budget and with no disruption to their business, which is amazing. We also went into lockdown just as we started this project in Feb 2020.

When we started the project they hadn’t yet agreed on the hosting platform, so we started the development on our secure server and then migrated that to a hyperscaler. To accelerate the project, we had a set of templates and went through the entire pharmaceutical validation process with them. Typically, validation can take 3 months so the templates enabled this to happen much quicker. The project was based on SAP Best Practices and the customer aligned with this vision. Also, we were very clear about milestones upfront and managed the project tightly to ensure no scope creep.

United VARs: What benefits are Kiara Health enjoying as a result of this implementation?

Martin @ Seidor Westrocon: We helped to automate their business, and simplify processes, in places they didn’t know was possible before. They have visibility in areas they previously had none. There wasn’t any reporting when they purchased the manufacturing plant, and now they can see the KPIs and have a real-time view of the business. The General Manager of the plant can’t stop talking about how they now use the mobile Fiori app to approve certain things. Previously, they needed to get to a laptop and connect via the VPN but now they can approve during meetings and when they’re on the road. It’s a simple example but it makes a huge difference in the lives of their executives. If you can approve something in seconds instead of 10, 20 minutes then that’s a big process improvement.

United VARs: Does Kiara Health have any future projects planned with Seidor Westrocon?

Martin @ Seidor Westrocon: What we’ve already done as a second phase is roll out another 6 companies, which are actually various parts of existing companies Kiara owned. We collected them all together using the power of the SAP S/4HANA platform. They are very well positioned to grow internationally so I expect we will implement in other countries.

We have also agreed to look at MII, Manufacturing Integration Intelligence, which brings the shopfloor to the boardroom. We will be implementing that in the next few months and are planning other business process improvements to help them manage their supply chain.

This article first appeared on the United VARs blog.