EY - Robot arm holding computer processor

Your journey to operational IT excellence powered by SAP

Now more than ever, the demand for change presents an exciting opportunity for the manufacturing sector to make impactful modernization advancements. Harmonization, standardization and IT consolidation are at the core of this — combining industry leading practices that integrate financial, inventory, IT and operational information from every area of the organization with better data-driven decision-making to optimize and accelerate business outcomes.

Watch the on-demand replay as industry leaders discuss how to effectively improve processes, reduce operating costs and drive IT operational excellence powered by SAP.

Topics discussed include:

  • Operating in a decentralized environment: how to move towards cost reduction through system harmonization and drive organizational growth
  • Common data, common process: how to drive operational excellence through data and what data should look like moving forward
  • Applying the right technology: how to use SAP more effectively to deliver the right capabilities and business outcomes
  • What should next look like: how to accelerate value, increase profitability and lower risk outcomes for manufacturing organizations

This is an automatically generated transcript and there could be sections where the quality of the transcript is impacted.

  • Transcript

    Stephanie Porter: [00:00:00] Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our session. We're excited to bring you a stacked panel of executives from the Advanced Manufacturing Industry today to discuss their businesses, technological enablement, innovation and then SAP programs. A few housekeeping items before we get started. This session will be recorded and shared with all of the participants after the webcast. And we really do want to hear from you. So, if you have any questions, please type them into the Q&A function. And we've reserved some time at the end to get through as many of them as we possibly can, and we'll send out any remaining answers over email. So, I'm Stephanie Porter. I co-lead our SAP practice here at Ernst and Young nationally here in Canada, with Mark Lindeman, as well as the broader enterprise applications. And I do in fact come from a manufacturing background so, I've worked with a variety of advanced manufacturing and CPG-type companies throughout the entirety of my career focused initially on batch traceability, quality management, production efficiency and supply chains. So, I'm looking forward to having this discussion with our esteemed panellists today and I'll introduce you to them now. So, first off, we've got Anju, who you can see on your screen here. She is the CIO of IPEX. Anju has 20-plus years of experience in progressive leadership in IT across a multitude of different industries, so pharmaceuticals, medical devices, retail distribution, mass merchandizing and consulting. Now she is well known for navigating the global matrix to link people in strategy, building high-performance teams and leveraging digital innovation. So, that's definitely a key topic for us here today. We are also lucky to be joined by Michael, who is the CTO of Ranpak. Michael is a seasoned executive with a background in technology, operations and management consulting. He specializes in digital transformation, technology, strategy, formulation, systems design and implementation, and organizational redesign. And he's well known for developing strategies that are geared towards obtaining the highest value from technological investments. And so, we'll be talking a great deal about that today as well. We also have Rusty here, who's the Senior Global Solution Manager from SAP for this particular area. He's the solution owner and consultant and has 30 years of experience in deploying manufacturing execution systems, scheduling and ERP software packages. And within those years, he's got 15 years of project management and implementation expertise of SAP ME. He also has particular focus in helping clients on how to minimize implementation, time and costs, as well as reduce the total cost of ownership. So, we'll be getting to that topic as well today. And we've got Barry, who's an SAP program manager and SAP leader here at EY. He's within our Enterprise Applications Group here in Canada with over 16 years of implementing large scale SAP business transformation projects. His deep expertise comes from finance and supply chain within the manufacturing space, and he's helped a multitude of advanced manufacturing clients develop and deliver strategies for their transformational programs with a real focus on gaining business outcomes. So, those are the folks that are on our panel today, and we're really excited to get into these topics. It's been a transformative several years for all of us and for manufacturing companies and the manufacturing landscape in particular dealing with climate change and the push to sustainability, dealing with greater demands from customers on transparency across the entire value chain. Of course, the pandemic that we all went through and how it disrupted supply chains and sort of shifted our focus to resiliency. And now, with a lot of impacts from geopolitics across the world. So, we're going to start today's conversation there, talking about some of the major trends in the industry and how they've impacted the businesses of the folks that we're speaking to today. We're going to get into some key topics like supply chain resiliency, sustainability, and general business goals. And then, we're going to start to talk about technology enablement and how when you look at those trends and come up with your strategy to address them, the goals for your business and the direction that you want to head strategically, how does technology play a role in that? In particular, big systems like SAP. How can they help you realize those goals and progress down your strategic journey? And then, we'll get a little bit more nuanced into actually talking about SAP programs, how to run a successful SAP program, how to get the most out of your SAP investment, and what some of these key leaders have learned along their SAP journeys. So, we'll get right into it with our first question here, our first questions around major trends. So, for the panel, what are the major trends you're seeing in the advanced manufacturing industry and how do these trends inform your strategic direction? Maybe we can start with Michael.

    Michael Gliedman: [00:05:13] Thank you. I'm going to twist your question around a little bit. So, just for background, so Ranpak is a producer of protective packaging, sustainable protective packaging. You mentioned sustainability a couple of times. And we've seen consumers factoring sustainability into their purchase choices in a much bigger way, and they value companies who are putting sustainability first. And so, our mission as a company is to deliver a better world. And we do that via our sustainable protective packaging products. That's a lot of P's. And you know, when we've seen the growth and explosion literally of e commerce over the last few years, especially in the face of the pandemic, and the increased demand for sustainable shipments, that is really informing our strategy and how we deal with our business, but our technology business as well. And so, we want to make sure that we're supporting our customers in the best way possible, so we started a digital transformation journey back in 2019, and we put a lot of investments into technology and to globally harmonized processes across our different geographies. And that's been very key for us because it's enabled us to move more quickly. And that's one of the obviously the trends we're seeing, which is faster business to deliver goods to customers in a faster way. And so, when I think of trends, the trends I'm thinking of, maybe I got the question wrong, but they're systems trends, they're technology trends. But I think they're applicable here. So obviously, we've seen a big shift to cloud platforms, and we've seen a very heavy focus on data and analytics and the ability to track our products to our customers and to get better insights into our business and how our customers are valuing us. And we're also looking at IIOT to track machines. And we've looked and invested a lot in automation, robotic automation for our larger customers who want to process more packages to get to customers in a faster way. And I guess I would end with, in order to do all this and adopt these new technologies and processes, we have spent a lot of time simplifying our business, and I think that's a major trend as well. Even though the company's been around for 50 years, we took the stance of let's streamline and let's start looking at things in a way to make things simpler so that we can go faster.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:08:18] Absolutely. Very common trends for sure. Anything to add to that, Rusty?

    Rusty Baldwin: [00:08:24] Yeah, I agree 100% there. I mean, one of the things that we're seeing consistently, if you can imagine, we go out to companies every single week, and one of the things we're seeing, everyone asks for is visibility. They just want to see the visibility across the entire organization. Currently, you've got a machine that goes down. It follows a track all the way up to the plant manager and plant manager may not know it for quite some time, whereas they're saying, you know what, I want to know when that machine goes down, right? So, I can start reacting to things much, much quicker. So, it's exactly what Michael just said.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:09:03] Awesome. Thank you. Barry?

    Barry Au: [00:09:06] I think the only thing I would add to that is, beyond just the visibility and traceability, I think the importance of kind of, as Michael mentioned having standard processes, is actually enabling organizations from a cloud strategy perspective, adopt technologies faster. There's a lot more technologies out there that you can quickly innovate, adopt or subscribe to just being leveraging standard processes. We talked a lot about analytics, but I think even layering on top of that, there's almost an expectation that we're seeing in a marketplace right now utilizing artificial intelligence, machine learning capabilities to basically do more predictive analysis of our data and our customer trends. And maybe the only other thing I'll add in here is, was maybe the shift on the IT side. But we're seeing a lot of newer technologies are, call it no code or low code technology such as RPA or robotic process automation is being used. And how this fundamentally changes how a lot of our clients operate their IT landscape as you allow what we call citizen developers in organizations. It could be folks are non-IT that are able to develop their own automation and deploy these in organization and where IT plays a role in this, now it becomes more of a governance lens making sure these toolsets are and solutions are built and use appropriately for these innovations.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:10:43] Absolutely. And I think a lot of what you all said ties together. So, Rusty was talking a lot about getting visibility across the entire supply chain, across the entire value chain. That's critically important for organizational improvement and supply chain resiliency. It's also really important from a sustainability perspective. So, the first goal is getting visibility into that and then being able to address ways in which yourselves become more sustainable and then, of course, offer sustainable products to your broader customer base. And Michael, talking about simplification and technological advancements within your own organization and how that helps you become more agile and able to address changes that occur across the supply chain and within the markets. Critically, important. And I think you all touched on technological enablement already, but we will move to the next question, which has to do with that. So, we're talking a little bit about your primary business objective, so we know what trends exist in the industry. How do your organizations intend on addressing them? And how do you intend to use technology such as SAP? And then some of the more emerging technology that we've discussed today and the transformational program around SAP to achieve those business goals? And I think we'll start with Michael again.

    Michael Gliedman: [00:12:07] Again. So for us, I told you about the journey that we started on, but when we did, the mission we put in front of everyone was we wanted to be able to give Ranpak the ability to grow and the ability to scale its business. We wanted to be able to provide leadership with easier access to better and more accurate data faster. And then as I talked about, simplification. We want to operate as one Ranpak across the board with a global design and unified harmonized processes regardless of where you are. And then lastly, we wanted to make sure that what we built was going to be the foundation for continuous improvement. So, those are essentially our primary business objectives. And so, then once we had those in place, we put some principles in for our implementation, which was, you know, everyone has a seat at the table. We make sure that everybody has a voice. And here's the also important part, which is we want to make sure we're adopting SAP leading practices because we wanted to use the implementation of the system to kind of put structure around things that we were doing. And we wanted to make sure that SAP was the system of record for all master data. Again, instead of, I think Rusty mentioned it, but we had pods and pockets of technology and information all over the place. We wanted to move to a enterprise-class platform and we've done that in a couple of places. Get rid of the pointed system with their own data sets and basically integrate everything together so you get that visibility into the business. And I think that leaning on SAP best practices and best in class was a way for us to do that. And once we had that all in place, we could then put an analytics layer on top of that would give us full end-to-end visibility on everything going on in the company, wherever you may be, mobile device, etc.. And you know, I'll talk about this later on, but we've put a big emphasis also on data and data cleansing.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:14:41] Absolutely. It's great to hear how closely linked business schools and technology enablement are for Ranpak, so, that's awesome. And it sounds like you've progressed very well through the maturity curve from a technology perspective. Anju, what about IPEX? You want to share how you are addressing your business goals, these mega trends, technological enablement?

    Anju Bissessur: [00:15:03] So, maybe just a quick word about IPEX. So, we are a manufacturing company. Manufacturer of pipes and electrical fittings. So, we are based across Canada and the US. So, literally, why we are doing this project, I would say there are three levers. The first one we've been on a legacy system, legacy ERP system for the past 20 years. It's heavily customized to the extent that today it's no longer supported, and that poses our absolute business risk. Which brings us to the point that we have to replace it and ensure that we come to something which is much more enabling for the business. The second reason why we're doing it is, I mean, being on the heavily customized systems implies we cannot turn around quickly when the business is asking us for new capabilities. And as we are in a place where we are growing through mergers and acquisitions, it makes it additionally difficult to support the business. Last but not least, I think Michael mentioned about it. It's all about data. I mean, with legacy systems, it's very hard to tap into the data and to leverage state-of-the-art AI technologies to drive insights. But these are literally the reasons why we are replacing our ERP systems. And if I look at the second part of your question, how we intend to use it? Definitely, we are leveraging this opportunity of implementing a greenfield SAP to look at our processes, trying to maximize the standardization and harmonization of our processes across the board. We are really working to get to one source of truth for our master data, and we are additionally leveraging this opportunity to put in place our master data governance capabilities to introduce data stewardship spending, significant efforts to clean our data, and allowing them to be state of the art going forward. And last but not least, we also want to democratize knowledge. I mean, today we have knowledge of the systems in residing in people's brain in pockets. Some of it is known, some of it is documented, some is not. So, we are really leveraging the implementation of the ERP to ensure that we have proper documentation and ensure that we have our backups. I mean, that we don't just have one [...] knowing part of the business but ensuring that the knowledge is across.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:18:02] Great. Thank you. I think it's interesting, there's both technological imperatives that we talked about for doing these kinds of programs. You want to move to better data and analytics capabilities. You want to be able to use some emerging technology on top of SAP, as well as business reasons, internal growth trajectories that you're trying to accomplish. Challenges that we're trying to overcome and in the broader sector and both internally within the companies. And there's really two avenues to those kinds of improvements. One is the system itself. So, of course the system is meant to drive value and enable processes. I think Michael used the word simplify or landscape, help you from a data and analytical perspective, etc. But there's also the transformational program itself, and it sounds like you're both utilizing it as opportunities to increase your own organizational capabilities in terms of what analytics you can run and what people are capable of doing. Address your data and utilize the program as a real way to get clean data that's well governed and can be leveraged through analysis and other types of technology moving forward and get good documentation and good knowledge on what these simplified, harmonized, optimized processes are going to be moving forward and the solutions that support them. So, that's great. Let's move to the third question here. So, getting a little bit more into the SAP S4 program, specifically, why did your company choose to execute a transformational program? Or how transformational was that program with SAP S4? And what value do you specifically expect to get from the program? And Anju, I know you talked about this a little bit already, but maybe we'll start with you, see if there's anything else you'd like to add. Oh, I think you're muted.

    Anju Bissessur: [00:20:00] Sorry about that. So, I mean, from a transformational perspective, this is a huge undertaking because we are literally going to change the way people work, change the way people look at data, and we are really looking at the change management process holistically across all of our business functions because we know for a fact that there will be significant changes coming along to deliver on this project. And when we look at the value, I think I tap into that previously, it's really being able to be flexible enough and nimble when it comes to providing technology enablement to the business and to be able to move fast and provide them with the capabilities that they need today. I mean, we see the implementation of SAP as a foundational program to lay down the foundation so that we can tap into manufacturing 4.0 in the next phase so that we can further digitalize our operations. So, it's literally, I would say, laying down the foundation and then moving to the next phase, which is advanced automation and robotization. This is what we are aiming.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:21:27] Awesome. Thank you. And Rusty, you've got a bunch of different clients, so maybe you can sort of broadly answer why they're choosing to do these kinds of programs and what value they expect to get out of it.

    Rusty Baldwin: [00:21:38] You bet. You bet. So, when I looked at this question, I revisited every single customer that we've gone through in the last couple of months, and they all are looking for speed. So, in other words, they want to implement as quick as possible. They also want global template, right? So, you want to have the same across all of the entire organization and Cloud gives you that. So, if you take Cloud and someone moves from, let's say, one plant or one division and they go to another, they're going to see exactly the same thing. So, global template helps you with that, number one. Number two, it helps you also roll out much quicker, right? Let's assume that you're bringing in another company. When that company comes in, when you start looking at the ERP side of that, no one ever says, okay, we've got to work on the ERP first. That's going to be second. They always push that out because it's a big undertaking moving through it. So, how do you make that much quicker? And as for no doubt, anybody that's worked with it, anybody on the panel is here that's worked with it as well, knows that you can implement it quicker. It's much easier to roll out. And then of course, best practices lead you into that global template. And the global template is ultimately your goal because if you can get there, you can roll out to other sites, other plants, other divisions. It doesn't matter. You can really, really get everybody on the same page. Everybody sees the same data. Everybody sees everything that you have connected up to the system.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:23:16] Absolutely. Thanks for that perspective. And in our next question here, we're going to double click on these specific programs that we've heard from. Michael about Ranpak's program. We've heard from Anju about IPEX's program. And from Rusty about a multitude of other programs that he's overseen. In Question four, we're going to get into those programs specifically and talk about what have you learned. So, you're at, I think Michael and Anju are at different stages of your journeys, which is interesting probably for all of this group, but to date, what have you learned through this experience, your previous experiences, etc.? And I think we'll start with Anju.

    Anju Bissessur: [00:23:56] Well, I mean, we are currently in the building phase of our project. I think the learnings is, the planning is very important. I think it all starts with the planning and I would say sponsorship and engagement. I mean, these are [...] the success of this type of program. And in a world where the market is extremely competitive for resources, what we have learned is not to underestimate the time it takes to staff for these kind of projects. So, I think the resource planning is key and come with the resource planning, I would also add the onboarding of resources. I mean, granted we can get resources who have all the knowledge of SAP, but don't underestimate the time that it takes for them just to get an appreciation of our internal business processes and how we operate. So, I think these are key elements that we have come across. On the other side, when we started on this journey, what we asked to make these programs successful was to get the best resources from the business. And there's a price to that. I mean, if you want to get the best business stakeholders to be full-time on this project, you have to backfill them. So, these are all the challenges that we have had to go through, and it sometimes takes much more time than anticipated. And what has also come across as learning is making sure that there's a good program, governance from the onset and that governance is properly understood, is properly articulated. And last but not least, I think when we started on this journey, we made it clear that we wanted to be fit to standard. I mean, we didn't want to corner ourselves again. We heavily customized the solution. So, we have leaned onto our executive sponsors to get this message across. And you have to repeat, I mean, we say that you have to repeat at least 5 to 6 times before it comes across. So, we have done huge campaign of communication to make sure that this message is well heard. So, we are trending today to fit to send out to roughly 80, 81%, which we are very proud of. And we are keeping a close eye on it. And I think when we talk about the approach that we are using, which is minimum viable product, it's very easy to get to [...]. So, that's something that we are we are closely monitoring. So, we are architecting for the future. We are architecting so that later on we can optimize. We can tap into all of the nice features, but we keep bringing the team back to the reality that we have to keep to our minimum viable product. We have to make sure that we can deliver on time to be able to speed up the deployment of this project. So that's an initial Stephanie.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:27:17] Great. Thank you. And I think some of those things tie in well to things Michael said earlier in terms of being really focused on utilizing standard SAP. You know, you've invested in this software package. Best to use it to its originally intended purposes and minimize the customizations for sure. Obviously, Michael, Ranpak's at a different stage, so we'll talk about lessons learned in a moment, but Rusty, any other sort of overall views that you've seen across all of your clients?

    Rusty Baldwin: [00:27:46] Yeah. So, one of the biggest differences we're seeing with the S4 versus the typical ECC In the past whatever 50 years or so. But if you look at what is going on now in the past, it's always a natural progression, right? To start with financials, get those stood up, then start moving into inventory, then move into manufacturing and then either transportation and so forth and any of those combinations. Right? We're seeing now that the inventory and the manufacturing are all being brought in, not at the same time because you got to have the rest of the foundation there, but they're being brought in much earlier than they were in the past. And that's very, very interesting. Right? Because now you can start making the decisions for the inventory as well as the manufacturing side at the same time that you're making the financials. So, you don't have to backtrack on what any changes you've made. We all know that the S4 is going to be always should be the master data. It's where it should exist. But it's also, you need to be inclusive for the rest of it. And I think you're going to hear from the panellists here that they are starting on their manufacturing journey, even though they've started on the S4, no matter where they are in that journey, we're finding that they're being brought in much, much earlier.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:29:10] Absolutely. And I think that's a good transition into our next question, which is really about for folks that have been through this journey before or through it or partly through it now, and what lessons that you've learned. So, maybe we'll start with Michael. What advice do you have for the folks that join this discussion today? Other businesses contemplating an SAP program or technology-enabled business transformation?

    Michael Gliedman: [00:29:38] Well, I mean, I think we have all heard from everybody who's been speaking on the panel that it's pretty clear this is a major, major piece of work. And it's not just about putting in a piece of software. It's not just about configuring a piece of software. It is about looking at your organization, making sure your resource properly, making sure that people who are going to participate in the project, like Anju said, there are backups for those people because once this thing starts, it is it's an all-consuming endeavor and you have to, as an organization, be prepared for that, that this is going to take a lot of people, a lot of time and effort and nights and weekends, sometimes, etc., and dedication to make sure that this is successful. And so, just thinking along sort of the time value chain, when you start this, do you have the right partner to help you, to help you do this? And I didn't want to say just implement SAP, but think about your business processes, think about your simplifications, think about how this is going to go and what decisions the governance of the decision making. So, we talked about resource planning, but also the decisions you make, you've got to make sure that you're going to document these things properly because trust me, later on, post go live, all of a sudden you're going to have a discussion about something and it's really helpful to have sort of the solutions design document or the Bible or whatever you want to call it, that basically memorialized all of the key decisions that went into doing what you're doing. The other thing I would say is and several of us have talked about this as well. Data, Data, Data, Data, Data and data. Start looking at your data as early as possible. If you're coming from one system and you're going to SAP, SAP is wonderful, but it is rigid and it's structured and it demands fealty and loyalty to its data structures. So, make sure you account for that when you're when you're looking at your data. Data preparation, data validation, mock data loads, data validation and doing it over and over and over again until your data is properly aligned in the system. And then guess what? You will find issues with your data even after all of that work. So, I think Anju said it also, data governance is super key to being successful. So, once this thing is alive, do you have a team that's kind of been focused on or pointed at looking at your data and making sure that they're looking for anomalies, they’re looking for things that may not look right so we can get ahead of it. So, we're in that phase of the project now where we're developing dashboards and reports that go against data to make sure that we are keeping all this work, all this time money resource that we put into this effort. Keeping our data clean and data is the key to SAP. I would say when you're at the beginning, start thinking about who your AMS provider is going to be. I mean, you don't just start with a great company like EY who helps you rationalize your business processes, helps you implement SAP, and then what? Now, you know, you're taking the puppy home and now you've got to make sure that you have all the things that need to be in place for that puppy to grow and be your best friend at some point. So, think about who's going to be your AMS provider or you're going to build an internal team or you're going to have a hybrid model or something like that. But think about that. And then the last thing I would say is thinking about continual training, because a) people come and go, people leave your company, new people come in, you've got to have good training materials. We build a portal internally on SharePoint and we put all of our materials on there and videos on there, etc. so anybody can go in and look at these are the decisions that were made, these are the video training classes that we executed. We have job aides and all those kinds of things. And it's not perfect and we improve them continually, but make sure you have that and you think about that because training is such a key part of this venture.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:34:31] Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for that. And it sounds like you and all of our panellists have really touched a lot on resources, getting the right resources lined up for this kind of program, getting the executive commitment, getting the right partner, getting the right business and IT folks engaged. And you've both talked a lot about governance as well. Different types of governance, process governance, solution governance, data governance and program governance around your decision-making and logging that risks and issues, etc. Critically important on something of this endeavour, this size. But I like what you said a lot about AMS. I think folks jump into that decision really focused on just needing to keep things running and don't take the ideal time up front to think about their longer-term IT operating model and what kind of capabilities they might want to build up throughout this program versus what kind of capabilities would they rather outsource. And the earlier you start that planning, the better. And as you mentioned, Michael, the earlier you start planning for data, the better, not just the data governance that you want to do during and post-project, but all of the data cleansing and preparatory work that has to go into these things as well. Can't be underestimated. Anju I know you already talked a little bit about what's going on at IPEX and what you've learned to date in the previous question, but anything you want to add here?

    Anju Bissessur: [00:35:54] I think everything Michael has said resonated with me. And if I have to add a few things, I would say someone contemplating this type of program, not to underestimate the efforts to go through the RFP process. Pretty much tedious and time-consuming. And choosing the right partner is key. I think we are too in a box. We either win together or we either fail together. So, I think the choice of partner is key. And I would also add to that, I mean, granted, we are doing the ERP, which is going to be the foundation, but I think most companies have several best-of-breed systems. Not to underestimate the efforts to integrate back with these systems. And planning, I think planning the deployment if you have several sites, is a huge undertaking. Just getting the buying across the business is a huge undertaking. I think these are things that I would say are key, but there are two elements that has made a difference for IPEX. The first one being, we have not said it enough, that it's a business project. I mean, we've never ever taken that under the IT belt as an [...]. I think that's key because, from the beginning of this project, we have sent that message loud and clear that it's a business project. We need business ownership; we need business sponsorship. And that also drove the reason why we have to change management from the beginning and change management is a no-brainer. I mean, without change management, there's no way we can guarantee the success of this project. I think these are the two key elements on our end.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:37:57] Absolutely. I think we always struggle to describe these as IT-enabled business transformation so that the broader business doesn't view it as an IT project. Or if you're moving to S4 as just an IT upgrade. Anything of this magnitude is really meant to provide serious business value. That's the purpose of the technology, that's the purpose of the SAP platform and the purpose of these kinds of programs. And so, that communication up front for sure is critical as well as to your point, all of the change management throughout the program to ensure that people are actually going to see that business value, that they're going to adopt all the great solutions that are being put into place, that they're going to adhere to the data governance approaches that Michael talked about and embrace the future state of processes and solutions and data. Rusty, anything you want to add to that around overall what you've seen across a multitude of different SAP programs?

    Rusty Baldwin: [00:38:54] Sure. Well, one of the one of the obvious things here with this question is Michael and Anju both have given us everybody on the webinar here on the call lessons learned. So, they've given their lessons learned and they were both pretty consistent with the team. Right? So, project team either internal could be partner, it could be SAP, more likely it's going to be all three. But churn within that team is one of the things that a lot of people don't think about because when you have churn within the team, you get a new team member. The ramp-up for that new team member takes quite some time. Right? So, it's whether it goes through IT, security, just trying to understand what they're trying to do and so forth. The ramp-up itself is crucial as well. So, pick a team that you feel is going to be around throughout the process. Obviously, new people are going to come in. Right? You're going to have new people for manufacturing. You're going to have some for transportation. You're going to have all these new team members that come in. And you can't help that. However, try to pick the team that you feel is going to be there the longest for you because you do not have to reteach them. You do not have to ramp them up. I mean, you heard Michael say it there. They created information so that they can try to get people on board as quick as possible. But that would be my problem number one, maybe because I'm coming from the project side as well, but I think that would probably be a good one to take a look at.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:40:30] Awesome. Thank you. And Barry, you also have been doing this your entire career with lots of different clients, most specifically across advanced manufacturing companies. What are some pieces of advice that you have for the group?

    Barry Au: [00:40:44] The other panellists covered making sure this is business-led or having that joint sponsorship from business. I think that's very important and we touched upon change management data. I think maybe the one thing I'll add is that there are work that can be done, what we sometimes call pre-planning phase. Work that's to lay down some of the foundational change management network, understand how we are putting some of these strategies in place, even data cleansing, having some of that done upfront before the ERP implementation happens can be very helpful because once the meter starts running in your implementation and you're really pressed for timing to get everything in a coordinated fashion. And I guess the other thing to add is, especially those are on SAP today and ECC, technologies have improved immensely over the last decade, depending when you implemented your last system. So, take the time to understand the business outcomes, the opportunities that can be realized through a transformation. Don't simply look at your journey to S4 as a technical upgrade. There's definitely a lot of opportunities that can be realized through this transformation. And then I think from a, call it project management deployment strategy with technologies nowadays, as long as you're really focused on adopting leading industry best practices, adopt standard, it's good to be pragmatic, look at more agile ways of doing some NBPs, being able to realize benefits along the way and not necessarily, I know back in days we would try to get everything done all at once and one big bang sort of fashion, but it is possible to realize the benefits along the way and celebrate these smaller wins with a business.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:42:41] Yeah, absolutely. And we haven't talked very much about road maps in general, but I think we're seeing a major trend in that space, Barry, where we have clients that spend the investment of time and resources and money upfront to do the appropriate planning. You heard Michael and Angie both talk about how they did that with their organizations, but make sure that they're able to mobilize and get everything in place for the program, but also to do a significant amount of planning and determine what they want to build, how they want to build it and how it's going to be deployed. And I think there's a lot of folks that look to quick wins early in their transformational roadmap to provide some value to the business that helps from a change management perspective and also to fund the rest of the program and build the momentum towards the rest of the program. So, that's a common trend we're seeing as well. We're going to open it up for questions and then maybe we'll all give some closing remarks. But if anybody wants to add questions into the Q&A function here, we'll be happy to answer them. So, maybe while we're waiting for some questions, I'll just ask one last one to the folks on this panel. Sounds like everybody has some of the same perspectives around how best to do these kinds of programs, how best to frame them, why they're so important, what work you need to do upfront, what work you need to do during them, and how you need to plan for after those programs. And Michael touched on that as well. Based on what you've heard from the other panellists today and based on your experiences within your own organization and more broadly before that, what else would you like to tell this group? Are there any other pieces of information that we didn't cover off today that you think would be valuable? And maybe we can start with Rusty. See if you have anything else to add to the panel today.

    Rusty Baldwin: [00:44:46] Yeah, I think that Barry actually hit it perfect, right? I mean, I might want to ask the question to Anju and Michael, how important were the wins? Right? The little wins instead of the big wins. Just how important were the little wins? Because we do hear that those are probably one of the most important things to keep the project moving. So, wins for you guys, how important was that?

    Michael Gliedman: [00:45:16] For us, I mean, and the wins keep happening, right? So, we were advised early on to, after you put this thing in, look for a small number of achievable things to hit out of the park, you know, every subsequent quarter and go business area by business area and ask the question, you know, if I could do something, how much value would it be? Or do you have something a specific pain point after all of this that you would like us to look into and that sort of continues along as we're now, we started in January of 2021. We went live January 2022. We're now 11 months past go live. And we continue to work with the business to find those little wins for them, a little report, an extra view, or whatever it tends to be, and that helps them a lot and sort of makes people feel really good that the improvements are continual.

    Rusty Baldwin: [00:46:28] So, Anju, I'm assuming you guys were also looking for little wins. How did you document the success criteria for those little wins? Is that something that was exposed to everybody?

    Anju Bissessur: [00:46:44] Well, definitely there's a lot of communication within the core project team, but we also did a newsletter to the entire organization. So, today we have our project is named Connect. So we have a purchase connect whereas we are progressing, we are seeing like when we are going to do the go live, there are a few changes that we have to bring into the business, so we are not waiting until we go live. We are already seeing what are the process changes that we can make right from now. So, these are little wins. So, each time we can get them to change the way they are doing things, we are making it happen. We've done the same on the one we've just launched, the Manufacturing Connect, where we are seeing ways of working that can start changing. We are making those happening now. And I think celebrating these small achievements on one side, it helps with the communication it tells people things are coming, it starts getting them into that mindset that changes is coming along, but the changes are not that painful. Right? And they are also seeing the value that it is bringing.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:47:56] Absolutely. Thanks. And we've got a question here from [...]. Generally asking, analytics is critically important. I think we've talked about that a few times today. How would you recommend discussing that with the key stakeholders at your organizations and the broader business and getting buy in to the idea that analytics is going to become fundamental to how you run your business, how you grow your business, and gaining alignment around building that kind of capability through programs like this? Michael, would you like to start?

    Michael Gliedman: [00:48:31] Yeah, sure. So, before we started the SAP implementation to the notion of wins and MVPs that we've all talked about, we did an MVP on a data dashboard. So, we took data. It wasn't always in the most elegant fashion, but we built some visuals quickly and we built the foundations of what we now have a year later. But showing that to business leaders and saying like, hey, you can get this on your phone, you can look at it on your computer, we'll use this data and these dashboards and these visualizations versus the old tabular rows and columns. Now you have graphs, charts, etc. and everybody, that was it, once they saw that it was an easy sell for the rest. And that's where we took the program, and we built a very beautiful and helpful series of dashboards that take business metrics and present those in a real-time fashion in a very colourful way. And we're just continuing to build that out as we move along.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:49:48] Very cool. Thank you. Rusty, anything to add to that?

    Rusty Baldwin: [00:49:52] Yeah, I mean, just it's a very good point because if you look at any of the SAP products that have moved, take the jump into the cloud. Right? Almost every single one of those products. And in fact, I can't think of one that doesn't, has SAP Analytics Cloud in it. One way or another. Even down to the plant maintenance side. You'll see that every single one of those the manufacturing, the MAS, plant maintenance, they all use it. So, from my point of view, it is key, and I think you're going to continue to see it grow within every organization where eventually everybody's going to be using that just for even small things because it's there. Right? It's in virtually all the products for you now.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:50:40] Absolutely. Thanks. And here's a question for Anju, and I think, Barry, you can weigh in on this as well. It's around resourcing and how do you do the proper planning, even if it's difficult to hire or backfill or find the right resources or free up the right business resources. How do you go about planning and addressing resource constraints at the beginning of a program to ensure you have the right folks involved and the right outcomes?

    Anju Bissessur: [00:51:07] So, I think what we did is when we, sorry about that. I think when we define our project organization, what we did was really identifying what kind of resources we will need and how do we staff these resources as we move into different phases of the project. So, I think getting that core organization in place is key. So, we were able to know who do we need 100% of that time? We will need a partial time. And where are we going to source them? Are they going to be sourced externally or are they going to be sourced internally? And as we started advancing, when we saw the difficulty of hiring, so we've been planning ahead. So, if we knew we needed someone six months down the road, I mean, we would start the hiring process early on to onboard them as early. But we also have worked with agencies and also looking at, always finding what if? I mean, if we don't get these resources on time, can we source them from a consulting company? Can we source them from the [...] itself? I think you need to have all of these different choices nailed down so that you can act very quickly.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:52:29] Absolutely a solid resource plan with a multitude of different options on how to meet your needs. Barry, anything to add to that?

    Barry Au: [00:52:37] I agree with all those points, and I think it goes back to establishing that race. See the roles and responsibilities, the resource plant way up front and more of a roadmap-type discussion, because this is where it does take a lot of lead times to find the right resources to staff them. Really home in on those that are full-time resources that need to be dedicated to a project. I know it's often very hard to get into the minute task of what each week by what resource you're trying to do. Set the expectation that anybody that starts 70 to 100% are full-time dedicated to a project and there's always going to be unplanned activities that come up. So, just keep that in mind and maybe it just goes back to maybe my other point I made earlier with those that are actually considering moving from their EEC journey to S4 [...], just make sure you plan that ahead of time. Don't wait till close to 2027 to do that because it's going to become even more challenging from a resourcing standpoint, and costly as well.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:53:45] Absolutely. So, I think we've heard a lot about how important it is to frame this as a business initiative and therefore get the right business folks and IT folks engaged upfront. We also talked a little bit about the broader business community and change management. So, maybe a last question for the panel. How do you maintain the right level of broader business involvement throughout the program? I know, Michael, you've talked about things like collaboration hubs and tactics like that. Anju, you've had solution playbacks and broader demonstrations of what's being built to the group that's involved but are there any specific things, those examples or others that you can share with the group around how to keep the business engaged throughout the entirety of the roadmap?

    Michael Gliedman: [00:54:34] Can I start? Sure. So, when we establish the project teams, we establish business process owners and subject matter experts and we had the backfill discussion, etc. And then you go live, and those roles don't disappear. They have to continue. So, we did another round with the business and said, well, we don't need business process owners, we need business process leads now. So, we look at business users, business process leads from the business areas. We interface those with our internal SAP leads, and those SAP leads interface with our AMS provider. So, that's how we ebb and flow, taking in defects that come up, post go live, change requests that come up post go live, new projects that come up. And so, there is that tie back to the business through these business process leads or through our data captains who are all businesspeople, they're not IT people, they're businesspeople who sort of represent the business as they interface to IT. So, that's how we've been able to do it. And we have weekly meetings for each one of those things. We do defects, we do change requests. We have project meetings for, If you're doing Agile and MVP, that means you will still have continual ongoing initiatives that require business involvement. So, between the defect meetings, the change request meetings and the ongoing project meetings, that's how we sort of maintain that linkage to the business.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:56:16] Awesome. Thank you. Anju anything to add to that?

    Anju Bissessur: [00:56:20] I think we have a very detailed communication plan. So, we have a note coming from our CEO, who is also the executive sponsor of this project, in a quarterly basis set across the organization. And each time he has a town hall, he will bring the latest updates on the project. And we also have put together a SharePoint site where we are constantly publishing all the activities, all the happenings on the project to make sure that there is a continuous flow of information. We have end user communication. So, what we have done is a frequently asked questions that we are cascading to the plant managers and all the managers across business functions so that they are well versed, or we are just creating awareness. Why we are doing this project? What does that mean? How things will change for them. When they are going to be reached out. So, these types of FAQs that we have done so far. And as I mentioned, we are doing newsletters very tailored to different business functions where they can get started on improving their ways of working. And we also have, we are right now working on fact sheets where we are really looking at different roles that we will have to introduce or roles that are going to be changed. And explaining what that change will imply for them. So, that's really on the communication part. But I think a little bit like Michael said, I mean, we have what we call functional leads or business leads who are assigned by each workstream. So, these are really the bridge to their functional managers, their functional VPs to whom they are constantly in communication to share what's going on. On the IT side, I have IT business partners. I have business analysts who are the conduit to the rest of the IT organization to share perspectives from the project. So, we're trying to communicate vertically, horizontally and it's never enough. I mean, we will always have someone asking like, oh, I have not heard about this and that, but I think it's a journey. And we are constantly working at improving this trend.

    Stephanie Porter: [00:58:43] Absolutely. I think that's a good place for us to end. So, first and foremost, I want to thank our speakers. We talked a lot about the fast-paced manufacturing industry and these fast-paced programs, which obviously means everybody doesn't have a ton of time. So we appreciate it. I think it's very valuable for everyone that joined this call or we'll listen to the recording to hear what world-class manufacturing organizations like Ranpak and IPEX are doing, and to hear from top experts that both have business expertise and systems expertise. It's a pleasure working with all of you. I think it's great to have organizations that really understand how technology and SAP can help them meet their business goals and you know how to run these programs well. So, Michael, Anju, Rusty, Berry, great to hear from all of you experts and we appreciate that. Maybe just a couple of very quick closing comments before we sign off here. I think we talked about how the manufacturing industry has been very altered and affected by recent changes that we've gone through from the pandemic to geopolitics to climate change, etc.. These major trends are forcing manufacturing companies to take a look at their business models and the way that they run from an operating model perspective, from a growth perspective, from an organizational capability perspective, etc.. And fortunately, a lot of manufacturing companies are adjusting their business goals and their strategic visions and understanding that technology has to play an increasingly important role in their future moving forward. And so, you've heard from our panelists today, there are external factors that everyone's dealing with in the form of sort of megatrends and the industry. There are their own growth trajectories and changes that they've seen in their market and ways in which they want to expand. And of course, every company has their own internal challenges, whether it's data reliability or processes that are different across the business that need to be harmonized or systems that are heavily customized. And to use Michael's phrase, not very simple, not very easy, not very good from a total cost of ownership perspective. And so the combination of business goals and technological goals that you have can be brought together in these kinds of programs. And of course, the software itself will provide a lot of benefits. S4 is a lot more advanced than previous versions of SAP but I think you've heard today how done well, these programs themselves can be a really good conduit to value, so they can help you increase your organizational capability around data, governance of data analytics. They can help you better integrate your business and IT functions when you've got common goals and good business engagement and value that these programs are actually driving, they can help you simplify the way your business runs from harmonized processes and standardized data and simplified systems to ensure that you're able to be agile and able to grow in the way that you want to grow. And when you run these programs, as Barry mentioned earlier, it's really important to think about these things up front. You don't want to wait too long to do these programs. They're going to get increasingly expensive. There are resource constraints in the market, as we've heard. As we get closer to the 2027 deadline for S4 movement. But you also don't want to rush into them, I think, Anju and Michael and Rusty and Barry all talked about the appropriate planning that needs to get done up front to set your organization up for success in these kinds of programs. Getting executive alignment, having the communications that this is a business-driven transformation that's IT Enabled, getting the right resources in place, the right partners in place, thinking about your longer-term IT operating model and the kind of organizational capability that you do or don't want to build up as part of this and really planning the program to ensure that you have a well-paced timeline with quick wins where you need them. Appropriate points for broader business engagement and really a timeline and a roadmap that everyone's bought into so that you can achieve success throughout the program and drive the value that you want post-program. So, I think those are all really good lessons. Look out for an email from us in a few days that's got a recording or a link to the recording and the contact information of everybody that's on this panel. So, you can reach out to us with any questions or any more advice that you may need from these top experts. And we thank you all again for attending and for your time today. All the best.

    Everyone: [01:03:17] Thank you.


  • Stephanie Porter, SAP National Practice Leader, EY Canada


  • Anju Bissessur, Chief Information Officer, IPEX
  • Michael Gliedman, Chief Technology Officer, Ranpak
  • Rusty Baldwin, Senior Global Solution Manager, SAP
  • Barry Au, SAP Program Manager, EY Canada


Time your local time