AB Enzymes has used the mySAP All-in-One industry solution FOODsprint from command ag since October 2000. For about two years, 30 users in accounting, controlling, materials management, and sales and distribution have worked with SAP R/3 4.5B. However, maintenance of this release runs out at the end of 2003, so the company needed a new IT strategy. In the summer of 2002, AB Enzymes decided to move to SAP R/3 Enterprise as a long-term strategy. And the new SAP ramp-up procedure was just what the doctor ordered. Participation in the project was inviting, but it also ensured the early development of know-how. It also offered the opportunity to include improvements and suggestions from the very beginning. After its positive experience with the implementation of SAP R/3 more than two years previously, the company counted on the support of command ag for this project as well.
New Release Strategy
With the ramp-up procedure, SAP offered some 30 selected customers the possibility of participating in the introduction of SAP R/3 Enterprise from the very beginning. At the end of the development and test phases, participants would receive a solution completely tailored to their individual needs. Previously, these kinds of pilot projects would deliver the first pilot (Release A) after the development phase and then a second version (Release B) that required a completely new installation. In the new SAP release strategy, however, the first pilot installation is migrated directly into the production system.
This advantage over the previous procedure convinced AB Enzymes. The ramp-up “became interesting for us as a midsize company that did not have a large IT department and could not tolerate long downtimes for our systems. Now we were able to take this opportunity to include our requirements in the new solution and be one of the first users of the new release,” says Martin Deeken, SAP project director at AB Enzymes. The pilot project began in July 2002 and ended successfully as early as the beginning of October 2002 – as the second upgrade project to SAP R/3 Enterprise in the world.
Another weighty argument spoke for participation in the ramp-up procedure: early knowledge transfer between SAP consulting and AB Enzymes. “In this manner, we could build broad know-how that we could transmit to our employees in later training,” explains Deeken.
An analysis phase, directed by the command consultants at the beginning of the ramp-up procedure, first defined the goals and expectations of the new software and created the project plan. A common team consisting of consultants and employees of AB Enzymes then decided what new functions of the software would be used. After all, the new functions played no little role in the decision for SAP R/3 Enterprise.
For example, in controlling SAP R/3 Enterprise offers a series of new tools that enable further automation of planning, which means designing plans more quickly and manageably. “New tools should simplify and accelerate business processes. For example, the schedule manager that enables automation of the period close and thus leads to informative reporting more quickly,” says Michael Hollaus, the project leader from command.
Optimized Report Techniques
The new report techniques in SAP R/3 Enterprise were met with great approval. The graphic reporting tools and the new ABAP list viewer (ALV) technology enables the creation of better reporting lists. For example, users can automatically generate a list of revenues for customer items in result and market segment accounting. “Before, we had to rework a whole series of evaluations by hand in an Excel spreadsheet. Now it works directly in SAP R/3 Enterprise – at the touch of a button,” says Deeken happily. ALV technology offers another advantage: a screen image that can be adjusted for each individual user. The new technology can sort, summarize, and filter user data without customizing. Users can also insert, delete, and move fields. The new want ads in accounting are an example of ALV technology.
Some of the new functions were implemented only after the new system went into production and during an optimization phase, rather than during the ramp-up. “We wanted to keep the purely technical conversion phase for the new release as short as possible,” explains IT specialist Hollaus. And in fact, the migration from the test system to the production system at AB Enzymes took only two days and occurred over a weekend. As a result, the company was able to avoid downtimes in its operations. “When employees came to the office on Monday, they could seamlessly start working with the new system,” says Hollaus with satisfaction about the short migration time.
A Trend Toward Cockpits
The new user-friendly interfaces in SAP R/3 Enterprise are particularly welcome among employees at AB Enzymes. The new features include “enjoy transactions”, which enable execution of commands with a drag and drop function. With this function, no intermediary step is needed to generate an order directly from a purchase request.
With its Foreign Trade Cockpit and the Batch Operator Cockpit, SAP also offers a repertoire of interfaces to meet the industry-specific needs of the enzyme specialist. “We needed mapping of our specific flows during batch execution and for our export business,” says Deeken. The Foreign Trade Cockpit combines all important transactions on one screen desktop. For example in reporting to external agencies, all the steps involved – from selecting the data to creating the reporting form – can be executed from the Foreign Trade Cockpit. The cockpit solutions also increase clarity. Accordingly, the Batch Operator Cockpit provides a view of the master data that belongs to each batch – without having to change the screen template.
E-Business Solution with SAP Web Application Server
Now that it has successfully implemented SAP R/3 Enterprise, AB Enzymes wants to undertake further optimization. For example, the company would like to improve the procedures for revenue costs in financial accounting. In addition, an additional company code was added in December 2002: Gamma Chemie (a subsidiary) will use SAP Web Application Server in the future. Gamma Chemie plans to offer its customers a comprehensive e-business offering, including a solution for online shopping. According to the plan, all future orders will be processed directly over the Internet and thus save employees in sales a great deal of work. Additional plans call for AB Enzymes to implement SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) and SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM).
AB Enzymes also sees collaborating once again with command ag as valuable. The team involved in the implementation project was already familiar with the requirements of the system. A few months after the conversion, Martin Deeken saw a positive bottom line. “The production system is stable, employees are satisfied with it, and so far no errors have been discovered.”