- Case Studies
International SAP Master Data Project
Sugar is the core business for the group’s four divisions. Each year, the company processes around 28 million tons of sugar beets in 23 sugar factories and two refineries, producing around 4.5 million tons of sugar for Europe and the global market. With the SAP add-on MDC Master Data Cockpit from valantic, the Mannheim-based company has now managed to create consistent, transparent processes in the material master system across several companies, with reduced throughput times and significantly reduced IT expenses. Data quality was also ensured by the now-automated maintenance of master data in SAP.
Johannes Kapper, Product Manager and Project Manager of the SAP master data project at Südzucker
”The one-step production of new finished products through all relevant production and sales companies and their locations represents a huge labor saving.“
Team Business Process Development and responsible for material master data management at Südzucker
”The new function of the mass-scale article master system opens up completely new possibilities and makes it all the more interesting for other group divisions. We look forward to additional expansion and optimization possibilities.“
The Südzucker Group is a leading company in the food industry with more than 100 production sites worldwide. The company is divided into four business areas: sugar, specialties, CropEnergies, and fruit. In fiscal year 2019/20 (March 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020), it generated consolidated sales of around EUR 6.7 billion. In the traditional sugar sector, Südzucker is the largest supplier of sugar products in Europe.
As an international company with different segments, each of which has very specific requirements, SAP master data management posed a particular challenge. In the sugar segment alone, the group has ten companies in different EU countries whose article master data was supposed to be managed centrally.
Previously, the handling of the most important processes was based on the experience of individual people. Overall, there was a lack of product life cycle management that provided all the necessary information and documented needs cleanly. This made the topic of “improved master data quality and up-to-dateness” increasingly important for the company.
(Image source: Dennis Möbus/Südzucker)
Südzucker presented clearly-defined requirements: Throughput times should be reduced, errors reduced, and as much maintenance as possible done by the specialist departments themselves. In addition, there was a desire to establish a documentation database and a lean solution with calculable, reduced IT costs. The new tool should be easy and intuitive for everyone to use and require no long introduction phase or high training costs. It quickly became clear that it would not be possible to fulfill these expectations with the SAP standard alone. The choice was finally made to use the MDC Master Data Cockpit add-on, which was fully integrated into SAP by SAP Gold Partner valantic.
(Image source: Wilhelm Dürr/Südzucker)
The solution was initially rolled out for finished products in the sugar segment in Germany. Johannes Kapper, Project Manager, Product Manager, who was formerly responsible for master data management at Südzucker, explains: “We wanted to start with a pilot project in one small business area. The implementation was supposed to be quick and the solution well and independently scalable.”
As Südzucker was implementing other IT projects at the same time, only limited resources were available for the MDC start-up project. It was also necessary to take into account that several Südzucker companies with a very large number of production and outsourcing sites within and outside of Europe are managed with a single ERP system. This sometimes made the process of material master creation very complex. This is precisely where the MDC was able to significantly relieve the burden on its employees and simplify the process. Furthermore, the ease of use was appreciated. “You don’t have to be a computer scientist to operate the MDC properly,” says Kapper. Colleagues from the specialist departments understood this right away.
(Image source: Wilhelm Dürr/Südzucker)
In the end, the project team at Südzucker was not only won over by the tool itself, but also by the valantic consultants’ approach to implementation. “The introduction into the functionality of the tool was very efficient with a small project team in concentrated workshops,” explains Johannes Kapper. “The valantic consulting team helped us formulate what was really necessary. Everything went smoothly in the implementation. Promises were kept at all times. This enabled us to successfully implement the pilot project for the sugar segment Germany with just a small team with comparatively little effort in terms of time and budget,” explains the project manager.
“Our large number of production and outsourcing sites with some individual and changing needs was difficult to handle. Thanks to the Master Data Cockpit, their requirements are now not only well-documented, but can always be kept up-to-date by the specialist department with minimal effort,” sums up Johannes Kapper.
Overall, the cost of the new material systems has been reduced enormously.
In the following months, the use of the MDC for finished products could be rolled out in stages for the entire sugar segment.
Due to the consistently positive experience and great acceptance of the master data solution after the successful start-up project, additional Südzucker companies could and will be successfully integrated. Use is also being considered in other departments, as well as for companies in other segments within the Südzucker Group.