D4M 60 in 60 interview

Let's explore key factors that contribute to success.

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 D4M COO, Jean-Yves Durocher, 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: Today we’re talking about 60 and 60. Before we begin, let’s just ask a couple of questions about this automotive manufacturer that you worked with this project. What can you tell us about and your relationship with them?

JY:  We have been working with a tier 1 automotive manufacturer for over a decade, assisting them in a global transition to SAP from using several different ERP systems.

JY: This client, based in Europe, has experienced exponential growth of which some has been organic and some through acquisition. As is often the case with growth through acquisition, they ended up running several ERP systems around the globe.

JY: Whether you’re talking about SAP, QAD, or JD Edwards, they had plants that used them. Over the years, they ended up with a multitude of ERP. We have been helping them not only with this project that was the main undertaking, but we have been assisting them globally with their SAP needs.

JY: In some cases, it has been support-maintenance rollout. It has taken various forms over time.

Gene: Are they tier one automotive or tier two?

JY: They are one of the top five part-makers for automotive worldwide. It’s a corporation with operations in many countries around the world. They are a global player and are in the top five or six within their industry.

Gene: Let’s get into the brass tacks of what exactly 60 and 60 is. I hear this term a lot at D4M. Can you just give me an overview of what 60 and 60 is?

JY: When we refer to the 60-in-60, it refers to the largest project we have been done over the years and the most ambitious project for this client. The long and short of it is that we ended up helping them roll-out SAP in 60 different location plants over a period of six months.

JY: That was a major undertaking that took place over a period of five years. Basically, we were able to transition / migrate to an SAP ERP across 60 plants. These are locations that had various ERP systems that were non-SAP. It was quite an ambitious and large notetaking. This is what we refer to as the 60 over 60.

Gene: Just to be clear here, the name “60-in-60” is referring to the amount of time and the number of rollouts that the process takes.

JY: That’s exactly correct. We’re talking about 60 rollouts over 60 months. That’s where it’s coming from.

Gene: And I know you’ve done this approach with some really large companies. Out of curiosity, so let’s just say you wanted to take the implementation of 60-in-60 for smaller companies, is the process limited to the size of the company and how many plants they have, or can anyone attempt this?

JY: Our approach is a systematic rollout, encompassing planning and execution. It’s applicable to any size corporation – but obviously it’s more specifically applicable to companies running several plants. This could easily be applied to a large or mid-size corporation in the US with 5/10 plants.

JY: This could also easily apply to 4 or 5 locations that were acquired over the years and for whatever reason, are still running different ERPs. The concept of streamlining is still applicable. 

Gene:  You’ve been successful in the high-end automotive industry. Have you attempted this for any industries other than automotive?

JY: Yes, absolutely. The same approach can be applied to other industries.

JY: In the end, multiple rollout projects are based on solid foundation of planning and execution. We have done these type rollouts in other industries; in fact, we’ve done them in several industries. It’s fully applicable. The idea and the objective for the corporation is to streamline or standardize operations under one single ERP.

JY: It could be a different level of complexity – different depending on the industry – but it is clearly fully applicable to any industry.

Gene: What makes this so special as an SAP rollout? Is it just more rollouts than the industry is used to? What is the next step in SAP rollouts?

JY: I think what is unique is the pace of the work and the time it takes to execute.

JY: A typical SAP rollout in the manufacturing industry would take much longer. In Faurcia’s case specifically, done in a traditional way, they could often rollout only 10 plants per year.

JY: If the average mid-size company could rollout 10 plants per year. If they have 100 locations worldwide, it will take 10 years. From a business perspective, this is not acceptable. The unique benefit of 60-in-60 is the pace of the work the AND the speed at which we execute.

JY: It requires a phenomenal and outstanding type of execution to make this happen. The timeframe is short, and the execution is highly efficient. Not to say that it’s not efficient otherwise, but it does require a level of discipline and execution that’s extremely precise.

Gene: If a company that specializes in SAP rollouts were to try to attempt to do 60-in-60 themselves, are there any words of advice that you would give?

JY: I think there’s probably two key pieces of advice. The first one would be planning. It requires excellent planning upfront. So, before you jump into execution, take a few months to plan-out the process. Take some time for your plan, but not too much. Sequencing of business segments, countries, plants, etc. is key. Start with a core segment of your business.

JY: The second piece of advice is to garner strong commitment from executives and your leadership team. There will be reasons why things may be delayed. In order to tackle issues and roadblocks, tone at the tone, commitment, and support are vital to success.

JY: The third piece of advice is to know the limitations of your team in terms of skills, bandwidth, etc. and seek help by augmenting your team with experts – especially for the planning phase.

Gene: Just in closing for 60 in 60. What are some closing observations that you can impart about rolling out multiple plants at once or perhaps some insights that you learned when you rolled this out to a tier one automotive company?

JY: While this is not necessarily limited to tier one or automotive, generally speaking, when you try to do this kind of a project, you may hear from the street or from the market that it’s not doable or it would cost millions. Know that it is absolutely doable. It can be done in an extremely efficient way and at a reasonable cost.

JY: 60-in-60 can be successfully completed based on good planning and good execution. These style rollouts are not done in the traditional “one at a time” method, but rather by tackling several plants in parallel. In our approach, a company could tackle six to 10 plants concurrently. In the end, you will save money.

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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