SAP S/4HANA has been a revelation for the retail industry. The new age tech savvy end consumer is more informed than ever of their buying decisions and retail companies need to offer value and a great shopping experience to retain them. Studies show that by 2021 nearly 77% of retailers will survey plans to have AI in place for an improved shopping experience. This is where S/4HANA comes in and forms the digital core of a retail enterprise helping provide a truly omnichannel experience.
Why our client wanted to move to SAP S/4HANA?
Our client is a leading grocer in the US operating more than 200 supermarkets across the southeastern US. They were on SAP ECC 6.0 Finance with other ERP systems that had stability issues impacting their warehouse operations. The client was also facing significant challenges with respect to inventory visibility, Master data capabilities and Data integrity. Moreover, the client’s business had grown substantially, and to support this they decided to migrate to SAP S/4HANA and benefit from the significant new functionalities with Applexus as their implementation partner
Data integrity issues
Data integrity issues
Master Data Challenges
At a glance
The client wanted to initiate a complete digital transformation for their business by replacing their legacy enterprise systems with a new digital platform that allowed for innovation. Applexus engaged with the client providing a clear roadmap for their migration to S/4HANA and carrying it out in an agile approach delivering business value such as reduced purchasing costs, improved productivity of the master data team, reduced IT costs and minimal business disruptions.
The approach to S/4 migration
Most organizations today, while migrating to S/4HANA decide to go for a greenfield or brownfield implementation. This is an oversimplification as each client is unique with SAP systems that have evolved over time with a mix of ECC and other platforms. Hence, it is important to create a roadmap that considers factors such as complexity of existing landscape, the client’s risk tolerance and ability to consume change. The Applexus RunWay approach creates a progressive roadmap enabling speed to value by breaking it down into easily consumable projects with each project building on previous projects toward the goal of a modern digital platform powered by S/4HANA.
We deployed the RunWay approach for our client’s S/4 migration with implementation across multiple phases. The S/4 deployment was carried out in an agile approach with short-duration easily consumable projects throughout.
5-Phase implementation leveraging RunWay approach
Delivering the project on time, on budget and on scope
Fit to standard or fit to business?
A fit-to-standard solution with minimal customizations ensures a faster implementation, better ROI, and a reduced cost of ownership. However, customers want certain customizations in the core solution as they find it difficult to follow standard best practice business processes. At Applexus, we solve this issue by following a fit-to-business approach, wherein changes are rooted in business value and isolated in the user experience layer while keeping the core S/4 solution untouched. This is how we approached the implementation for our client as well. As an example, within the Standard SAP purchasing process buyers cannot easily visualize and create full truck loads for transportation savings, along with capabilities to visualize various key data like current stock on hand, on order, etc. With our Fit-to-Business approach Applexus and Ingles together re-designed the User Interface with far more information and the ability to adjust loads more easily all in their new Fiori purchasing workbench.
Leveraging Pre-Configured solutions
Along with fit to standard approach, leveraging pre-configured solutions and prebuilt collateral gives a head start to the implementation making it much faster. Instead of starting from scratch, a pre-built working solution that includes business processes, supporting documentation and tools relevant to the planned scope saves a lot of time enabling a faster rollout.
With deep domain knowledge and functional expertise in SAP implementations, Applexus has developed pre-Configured industry focus solutions for retail, fashion and consumer goods industries. We leveraged the Applexus IFS for retail, SAP CAR and the Finance starter pack to showcase a working demonstration of the solutions to our client and then identify the areas where changes were needed. This considerably cut down on custom development and testing, enabling the project to be completed on time.
An agile methodology – Applexus RunningStart
The Applexus RunningStart methodology, developed with roots in agile principles, was leveraged to deliver a faster and cost-effective S/4 implementation. It includes additional speed factors and risk mitigations above those provided by SAP Activate including pre-configured solutions, end user training materials, Data Maps, user stories, Industry Cloud solutions etc., helping realize value through continuous transformation. RunningStart provided a head start for our client’s S/4 migration while ensuring a smooth and successful implementation.
Process improvements and innovation
SAP S/4HANA allows for continuous process improvements and innovation. Simply getting to an S/4 platform allows you to innovate and further improve your processes. This includes ability to develop smart processes with visibility across solutions, insights to action for key business processes and developing innovative solutions that help provide a competitive advantage in the market.
Innovations at our client
Applexus Consumer Credit Card Reconciliation add-on solution for SAP CAR with support for in-store transactions, online credit card purchases and 3rd party check clearing
Media Reconciliation add-on solution for SAP CAR to provide a simplified, effective sales audit user experience
A Covid-19 vaccine scheduling solution for their pharmacy developed on the Applexus SimpleRetail platform (available on SAP store)
Deployed InSITE, our vendor invoice management solution to fully automate their accounts payable process
Benefits to our client
- A more stable system leading to minimal business disruptions
- Increased procurement team productivity through tightly integrated end to end process with Finance and Master Data in SAP
- Productivity gains, reduced errors and higher margins because of data integrity and new features for Pricing, new price types, automatic price generation based on list cost change
- Reduced AP effort requirements by leveraging InSITE and automating key components such as accounting, posting and reporting
- Enable consistent enterprise-wide data quality and governance through creating uniform, enterprise-wide data standards supported by new processes and systems