Case Study SCHÜTZ
The SCHÜTZ Group harmonized its financial and controlling systems in the run-up to the SAP S/4HANA migration. In the process, the company introduced the new general ledger and asset accounting, among other things. Following the successful completion of this international preliminary project, SCHÜTZ is also ideally positioned for further growth.
The SCHÜTZ Group is one of the world’s premier manufacturers of high-quality transport packaging such as intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and plastic and steel drums. The family-owned company which is headquartered in Selters, Germany, is split into four business segments – Energy Systems, Packaging Systems, Industrial Services & Composites – each having a leading position in its relevant market. It offers its customers system solutions individually tailored to the respective supply chain and attaches great importance to sustainability. SCHÜTZ currently employs more than 7,000 people at over 54 locations worldwide. The group’s consolidated revenues for FY 2021 were EUR 2.5 billion.
Project Manager at SCHÜTZ
”When selecting valantic and SNP as partners for this complex S/4HANA preparatory project, we attached great importance to a comprehensive understanding of the technology and our business to ensure effective knowledge transfer between IT and the specialist departments. This paid off in the course of the project.“
Manager at valantic ERP Consulting
”During the system harmonization, we learnt a great deal about SCHÜTZ's requirements, which will benefit us in follow-up projects.“
Quick Implementation of Ambitious Work Packages
As a group enjoying strong international growth, SCHÜTZ has systematically relied on a globally uniform SAP system for many years. The leading specialist for industrial transport packaging and innovative technical solutions in the field of metal and plastics processing is currently using SAP ERP ECC 6.08 and has the SAP S/4HANA migration on its agenda. It is also planning to integrate new locations which became part of the group in the course of its expansion into its central SAP ecosystem. Against this backdrop, SCHÜTZ opted for a preliminary project to harmonize its finance and controlling (FI/CO) systems and thereby reduce the complexity of the upcoming migration to SAP S/4HANA. With the introduction of the new general ledger and new asset accounting, the merging of 28 controlling areas into a single, universal controlling area, the introduction of the group currency in FI/CO, as well as other measures, SCHÜTZ had put together ambitious work packages. These had to be implemented within a limited time frame due to upcoming international SAP roll-out projects.
Detailed Breakdown of Solutions and Results
International system harmonization in the areas of finance and controlling in preparation for the SAP S/4HANA migration:
SCHÜTZ Paves the Way for SAP S/4HANA Migration and Further Growth
Lean, globally standardized processes are one of the foundations of successful growth for the expanding SCHÜTZ Group. Migrating its global ERP system to SAP S/4HANA is therefore a given for this technology specialist and leading supplier of high-quality transport packaging. Even before its future-oriented project got going, the company took a strategic approach by selectively bringing forward a number of extensive financial accounting and controlling tasks: The switchover to the new general ledger and new asset accounting, along with the merger of the national companies’ 28 separate controlling areas into a single universal one, were the main work packages. On top of this came the introduction of the group currency in FI/CO, the optimization of reporting with SEM-BCS and the adaptation of interfaces to various downstream systems.
With this preparatory project, which significantly reduces the complexity of the subsequent ERP transformation, the company paved the way for its SAP S/4HANA migration. It also enabled a speedy start to the pending SAP rollouts at several international SCHÜTZ locations. The company’s pipeline is well filled with integration projects of this kind due to strong growth. As part of the Group’s expansion, several new locations, primarily in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, need to be integrated into the central SAP landscape, including a plant in Mexico. Since the new general ledger is already being used there, SCHÜTZ also expected to benefit from the experience gained from the FI/CO project, particularly in relation to the SAP integration of this location.
Synthesizing Expertise and IT Know-How as a Success Factor
SCHÜTZ brought valantic’s experts on board as their consulting and implementation partner, having been swayed by valantic’s IT and technical expertise, as well as its existing familiarity with the technology specialist’s requirements following many years of working with them in the SAP environment. Those responsible at SCHÜTZ also appreciated the fact that valantic, in its capacity as general contractor, assumed responsibility for coordinating matters with cooperation partner SNP. SNP was responsible for a core part of the project: transforming the data and migrating them to the new applications. Maik Grass, project manager at SCHÜTZ, emphasizes: “We had a kind of open-heart surgery ahead of us. When selecting valantic and SNP as partners for this complex S/4HANA preparatory project, we attached great importance to a comprehensive understanding of the technology and our business to ensure effective knowledge transfer between IT and the specialist departments. This paid off in the course of the project.”
The joint team tackled the extensive work packages using the classic approach of the waterfall method: Starting with a preliminary study and several scoping workshops, through concept development, implementation, key user training and a test phase, to migration, go-live and hypercare support. Change management, including communication with the various national subsidiaries, was also part of the project scope. SNP performed the data migration using its BLUEFIELD approach which allowed the project to implemented within the current fiscal year.
A special aspect of the project was its central coordination from Germany, controlled by the IT, Finance and Controlling divisions at SCHÜTZ’s corporate headquarters in Selters. At the same time, 28 national companies with a large number of different and, in some cases, very specific requirements were involved. Both the coordination and implementation were performed almost entirely remotely due to the Corona pandemic. For project manager Maik Grass, the fact that this all went smoothly is once again proof of the solution-oriented cooperation of all those involved. “Our motto was: Don’t beat around the bush, get the job done! This pragmatic approach was crucial to the project’s success,” he says.
FI/CO Harmonization Forerunner For Leaner Processes
After just under a year, the experts from SCHÜTZ, valantic and SNP successfully completed the FI/CO system harmonization. The team achieved all the project goals, which are already having a positive effect in the departments involved. Among other things, the Finance department can now prepare financial statements more easily and quickly, and in accordance with various accounting standards. Time-consuming and error-prone auxiliary and reconciliation calculations in Excel are a thing of the past. SCHÜTZ also saves time with its consolidation activities, and the new general ledger eliminates complex reconciliation entries in Controlling. In addition, the universal, cross-country controlling area creates the conditions needed for future process optimization – such as simpler allocation between the individual plants, and centralized control of the month-end financial statement process.
The system harmonization has also been an enormous advantage for the IT department, as the prior introduction of the new general ledger simplifies the SAP S/4HANA migration enormously. Moreover, the merging of the 28 controlling areas, for example, helps greatly reduce the workload involved in customizing and maintenance. As planned, the experience gained in the project is also of considerable benefit for the IT team during the international SAP rollouts. The same applies to partner valantic, as Simon Wolter, manager at valantic, stresses: “During the system harmonization, we learnt a great deal about SCHÜTZ’s requirements, which will benefit us in follow-up projects.” This knowledge transfer is also guaranteed at a personnel level: Some of valantic’s experts are now supporting the migration in Mexico after the successful FI/CO project.
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