60 in 60: Rolling Out Multiple SAP Projects the D4M Way

Implementing SAP for one location can be a daunting task. Learn how we did it for 60!

Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a daunting task, especially when it involves multiple locations and business units. We’re proud to have rolled-out SAP to 60 locations in just 60 months. Considering the complexity of such an undertaking and the potential for disruptions to business operations, it’s quite an achievement – for both the client and D4M.

In this week’s conversation, we talk with Eric Ibarra, D4M US Country Manager, to delve into the details of this impressive implementation and explore the key factors that contributed to its success. To watch the full interview, click here


Gene: For the past couple of weeks, I keep hearing about the term 60 in 60. Tell me – what exactly is “60 in 60?”

Eric: “60 in 60” refers to a specific a story about implementing SAP ERP systems in a 60 manufacturing plants in 60 months.

Eric: This specific company supplies parts to automotive companies in the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil among other countries.

Eric: The scope of the solution within this implementation encompasses the processes of purchasing to payment, manufacturing planning and execution, logistics and finance controlling, and includes all the integration to multiple other systems like shop floor systems, payroll, HR, finance consolidation system, banks, vendor invoicing, etc.

Eric: 60 in 60 is an example of how a company can implement an SAP ERP system in 60 plants in 60 months.

Gene: And from my understanding of SAP rollouts, this is quite a feat to accomplish because from what I understand, SAP rollouts can take much longer.

Eric: Yes, from our experience, it usually goes from 4 months to 18 months. If I can say that’s the average of the implementation therefore, yes, I agree with you. To get this done, it requires coordinating multiple plans at the same time.

Gene: In speaking with Raj, he tells me that multiple rollouts at once tend to be quite rare in our industry. So, what exactly is necessary? What is the difference in your approach? How can you complete 60 rollouts in 60 months? What is involved in even just one rollout?

Eric: We have a methodology for transforming the organization into a standardized process, which is key to success. 

Eric: Before starting, our customers need to be totally aware of and buy into the concept of business process standardization. This drives the IT standardization. We assess business processes to identify the level of maturity or readiness to start this transformation journey. 

Eric: The next step is to determine which business processes need to be standardized, which leads to several key points within the specific program, such as:

  • Process method transformation.
  • Solution and template governance.
  • Data transformation approach.


Eric: Methodology and experience are the cornerstones that differentiate D4M.

Gene: In a way you’ve found the secret sauce where it’s the exact elements that you need to prepare for to, like you say, create a standardized approach to rolling out multiple plants at once.

Eric: I would not exactly say secret sauce. We have a proven methodology coupled with experienced resources. In addition, we are recognized by our customers as the team that is able to quickly learn their business and routinely deliver results.

Gene: Let’s just say for argument’s sake that you’re starting to do a similar 60 and 60 process for a company. What exactly are some of the early steps when approaching this it in this way?

Eric: I’m trying to picture a scenario where an organization is interested to go through this journey of business transformation.

Gene: I’m assuming it would be on the larger side, right? It wouldn’t necessarily be like a tier three or anything like that.

Eric: Correct. For this case, it might be a manufacturing tier one supplier or tier two supplier, or even an OEM that is interested in going through this transformation journey. We begin with a readiness assessment to determine areas that should be prepared before starting this journey and specific actions that they need to take to be ready to start this journey.

Eric: An example of typical things that we have found in some organizations is the lack of an alignment and interest of a standardization of processes. We have also found that some of the organizations don’t have a clear process and people change management methodology, or a structure inside of the organization to enable the transformation.

Gene: Asking a general question here – what are some things to look out for when it comes to rolling things out in this capacity? You talk a lot about having a standardized approach to stable leadership. Are there other observations that you can share?

Eric: Yes, there are many of them. Let’s start with the key elements for this transformation to work is with the right sponsorship at both corporate and plant management levels. That includes commitment and relevancy of the transformation program included in each of the personal objectives of those leaders involved.

Eric: Sponsorship is required to operate and react quickly and seamlessly, setting both the tone at the top and the right priorities in day-to-day operations of the project.

Eric: Another very important element is that the program should be recognized as a business transformation and not a technology transformation.

Eric: What I’m saying is that it must be driven by business to be successful. Technology is an enabler.

Eric: Day-to-day business operations will be transformed. If this is not recognized upfront, then it needs to be addressed. Another important element is to have a robust template. While this may sound very simple, it is quite comprehensive – containing a list of business processes and guidelines within the organization. This is complemented with a template of the SAP solution to be implemented.

Eric: Another key element is the governance methodology, which is needed to protect the investment of standardization. It needs to be robust and fast enough to be able to make near real-time decisions. 

Eric: Lastly, it’s imperative to staff the program with your best and brightest as this transformation is a gateway to the future of your business.

Gene: So, it seems as though the 60 in 60 is almost more about planning than the execution. Making sure that all the steps required for the entire process are in place to be successful.

Eric: You touched on a very important point – preparation. I will say that it is 60 to 70% of the recipe of success. This preparation could be very fast by doing it with D4M because we have the recipes and even though it says 60 to 70% of the recipe that do that does not represent the 60 or 70% of the cost or the time of implementation. That’s much less – probably it’s between 10 to 20% of the whole program. Now the rest is the execution of the program, and if we have the right elements, it will be possible to execute it as a regular project. We know how to do that. 

D4M is a privately owned company specializing in leveraging digital technologies to accelerate manufacturing clients to their transition to Industry 4.0. With long tenure and hundreds or successful projects, we are confident that our approach and experience provides the roadmap to help bring clarity and efficiency to your manufacturing operation.

To find out how we can help with your SAP environment, or to learn more about how we rolled out SAP to 60 locations in 60 months, reach out to us today. Contact form and office numbers listed below. 

We look forward to partnering with you!

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D4M International is an IT consulting company focused on transforming manufacturing and operations for optimal performance with SAP and DELMIA. 

We have expertise to help our clients assess, deploy, and maintain key solutions, driving productivity that impacts the bottom line. 

Leaders in Automotive, with expertise in other industries with advanced manufacturing, we operate in North and South America as well as Europe, enabling us to support our clients globally.

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