Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are critical tools for businesses to streamline their operations and optimize performance. Implementing an ERP system across a global organization can be an enormous undertaking, requiring careful planning, coordination, and execution. Recently, D4M successfully implemented an SAP S/4HANA solution in a smaller-scale project, which served as a template and proof of concept for a larger, global implementation. In this conversation, we will explore the details of this successful SAP implementation and how it paved the way for a larger, enterprise-wide rollout. We will also examine the key factors that contributed to the success of this ambitious project and the lessons that other organizations can learn from this experience. We did a virtual sit down with Raj Krish, VP of Global SAP Practice at D4M International, who was also leading the SAP S/4HANA implementation project
at MAN Truck Plant in Mexico.
Raj: It’s about a SAP S/4HANA implementation at MAN Truck and Bus in Querétaro, Mexico. As you may know, MAN Truck and Bus is part of the Volkswagen Truck and Bus (Traton) Group.
Raj: The first implementation of this global SAP S/4HANA system was done in Querétaro, Mexico. This implementation was designed to be used as a proof of concept for a bigger implementation in Brazil, providing the template for the
Brazilian location, and then for other locations (e.g., Germany) across the globe.
Jean: Okay. And what exactly was the size and scope of the project?
Raj: The scope of the project was to implement SAP S/4HANA at one assembly plant or manufacturing plant in Mexico, plus three spare parts warehouses and many service workshops. These service workshops are used to service both trucks and buses. The SAP S/4HANA was hosted on AWS (Amazon Web Services).
Jean: What were some of the pain points of the project?
Raj: Now more than pain points, I’m going to call them business drivers. One of
the biggest business drivers was to make sure to have their overall business
process maturity go to a different level.
Raj: And they were planning to use SAP S/4HANA, along with the industry best practices to do that. They wanted to start with Mexico, bring the company to the state-of-the-art technology, and make sure that this becomes a trend setter for other locations across the globe, which includes Brazil and Germany.
Raj: They also had some requirements/business drivers issues with the local Mexican government electronic requirements and the electronic invoicing requirement. So they wanted to make sure by going with this S/4HANA implementation they can fulfill the requirements of the local Mexico government.
Raj: As part of an ERP integration for all their corporate locations, they were preparing from a system point of view to have the latest and greatest system, which can be used for an increase of sales, production, and services that they were expecting in the subsequent years.
Raj: Lastly, they wanted to use SAP S/4HANA as the base system for the entire group because they were going for an IPO. As Volkswagen Bus and Truck became part of a TRATON group and they were going in for an IPO. To prepare for that IPO, they wanted to have S/4HANA implementation.
Jean: In your opinion how do you think the new technology could benefit this organization? You spoke of keeping the systems as current as possible, but are there any other positives you could think of for this upgrade to S4?
Raj: Yes; in fact, the SAP S/4HANA addressed a lot of major business processes that they were looking for.
Raj: They were challenged with their current ERP system before doing the implementation. So S/4HANA was able to address all the major challenges that they were having across the company wide, able to address all the business processes and also, they were able to bring in all the new innovations from S/4HANA and brought in as part of their implementation.
Raj: So just basically these two alone, they were able to be very successful and because this was used as a proof of concept and this Mexico location was able to be the best in terms of business process, in terms of standardization, etc. Now they have taken this template and started rolling out in Brazil.
Jean: Like we discussed in a different conversation, it’s this standardization that D4M is known for, like creating a template which should be used across the globe.
Raj: Yeah, we are extremely good at creating templates, and this is another example where we were able to do it successfully, use this as a proof of concept or as an initial template, and then take this template to roll out in
Raj: No doubt this template will keep growing. The initial version of the template will keep improving as we go on to different rollouts, but we always need a starting point. So, this Mexico rollout with S/4HANA was a great starting point for the entire VW Truck and Bus corporation.
Jean: As the title of this of this conversation suggests that MAN Truck was a major success for D4M. So other than creating a template, what are some other positive outcomes that this project has done for the company?
Raj: One other big advantage by doing that is this is the first implementation that was done with S/4HANA on AWS hyperscaler. So traditionally it has never been done. They were always hosting and this being a proof of concept, they not only wanted to test the S4 HANA capability, but also wanted to make sure that this S/4HANA system hosted on a hyperscaler like AWS would really work well.
Raj: This was a great success for not only for the Mexico location, but for the group worldwide. And so they started using this as their benchmark to do this kind of implementation on AWS in other locations. So that was a great win for them.