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Rapid development of business in an international environment, cooperation of companies located on different continents in different time and cultural zones require not only consistent business processes and uniform reporting, but also a common language, e.g. for the names of products or raw materials. Such requirements set the bar very high for an IT system that must effectively support the strategy chosen by the company’s management.
At Rawlplug, the response to these requirements was the decision to implement an integrated ERP environment, ultimately consisting of two systems from SAP:
- SAP S/4HANA in the Polish headquarters of Rawlplug to support processes carried out centrally,
- SAP Business One to support local sales and distribution branches.
Upon completion of its implementation, this solution will guarantee the achievement of the company’s objectives – a well-prepared system in foreign companies with supervisory functions remaining in the headquarters (thanks to the integration of both systems).
A staged approach
The implementation of a completely new ERP environment had to be preceded by the appropriate preparation of the infrastructure. So in the first place, Rawlplug carried out the implementation of the new WAN infrastructure. Further actions required a new network environment that would increase the security, reliability and scalability of the whole infrastructure. Experts from SNP Poland provided help in these tasks.
When the new WAN infrastructure was ready, it was time for the proper ERP project. In April 2017, implementation work started and was carried out by SNP Poland (then BCC) in parallel in two streams:
- SAP S/4HANA implementation in the area of CDR (Central Data Repository) – go-live in February 2018
- SAP Business One implementation in Rawlplug Ltd. companies in Glasgow (go-live in January 2018) and in the United Arab Emirates (go-live in February 2018).
The system environment created in the first stage of the project will be extended in accordance with Rawlplug’s plans to include further functionalities and to cover other entities.
At the beginning of 2019, one of the Rawlplug Group companies – Koelner Rawlplug IP – started using financial and controlling functionalities of S/4HANA, including automated banking processes and data consolidation for Łańcucka Fabryka Śrub (Łańcut Screw Factory).
Further project work is currently underway, both on the S/4 and SAP B1 side. In 2019, on the basis of the model developed in the UAE, the SAP B1 implementation project in Thailand is being carried out.
Master data centralization in S/4HANA to start with
The strategy developed jointly by Rawlplug and SNP was to centralize master data in the S/4HANA system and to distribute it to local branches. This approach supports the creation and maintenance of a kind of one business language, common to companies in different countries, regardless of which ERP system they use. For this purpose, CDR (Central Data Repository) was developed on the basis of master data management (MDM) on the SAP S/4 side, interfaces built on the SAP PI (SAP Process Integration) platform as well as B1IF (Business One Integration Framework) and master data management on the SAP Business One side.
The Central Data Repository is the use of SAP S/4HANA standard functions for storing, defining and distributing business partner and material master data.
The basic benefit of this solution for Rawlplug is common, organized data, which is named the same way in the whole structure of the company, i.e. once saved, a contractor will have uniformly entered data in all systems of the company. Similarly with material indexes – they have the same code, the same symbols, the same classification, structure and hierarchy in all systems.
SAP Business One in the UK – a “small” system, a wide range of functionality
The sales branches in Glasgow and the United Arab Emirates were selected to be the first ones for SAP B1 implementation. The implementation in both countries was carried out simultaneously, so it was not possible to use a previously developed model system.
Although the business profiles of the companies in both countries are similar, the differences in organizational and IT advancement were quite large. The company in Glasgow was much more technologically advanced. SAP B1 replaced two other previously operating systems (ERP and WMS). Thanks to the implementation of SAP B1, today all employees of Rawlplug Ltd Skibo Drive work in one system. The previously occurring integration problems, which e.g. caused delays in the goods shipment process, have been eliminated. At present, sales employees have a much more detailed knowledge of stock levels (online update).
The company in Glasgow carries out many processes (sales and warehouse processes) using integration processes (EDI with customers, integration with couriers). Therefore, the existing processes that had been previously supported in the WMS had to be shifted to another application. After several months of analysis, Rawlplug decided to choose SNP Mobile Warehouse, an application integrated with SAP Business One. The WMS processes were modeled in SAP B1, which made the system serve as a system supporting the warehouse operation. The SAP B1 system was integrated with CRD in S/4HANA – both systems use one centrally managed master data fi le, data on business partners (customer and vendor data) and material indices.
What about the Emirates?
The situation in the United Arab Emirates was slightly different. The local trading companies (Rawlplug Middle East FZE and Rawlplug Building & Construction Material Trading LCC) also carry out production activities of some scale: picking processes – assembling and disassembling. Previously, there was no comprehensive warehouse management, most of the work was done using lists and printouts from the system. Currently, both the production and the warehouse are supported by SAP Business One. Companies in the UAE are related entities with intercompany processes, therefore standard Intercompany mechanisms were applied – standard SAP B1 scenarios for sales processes between SAP B1 databases. This solution saves time for employees, since after creating a purchase order, the system automatically creates a sales order in another company. Additional solutions prepared by SNP largely automate also the processes of acceptance of these documents.
Everything in the SNP cloud
The entire landscape of Rawlplug’s S/4 and SAP B1 solutions functions in the SNP Cloud Platform, a private cloud at SNP Data Centers. As part of the SAP Managed Cloud service, SNP Poland is fully responsible for maintaining the availability, performance and security of SAP systems. SNP provides the Rawlplug Group with the computing power necessary to maintain its systems together with a backup system that supports systems based on SAP HANA databases. The availability of systems and the security of the environment are the responsibility of a team of SNP administrators, providing support for the systems, also on a 24/7 basis.
Rawlplug takes full advantage of the benefits offered by the private cloud. At a predetermined fee, it is provided with access to an environment adapted to the current number of users, as well as the ability of quick and flexible development if it is required by business circumstances. At the same time, it does not have to bear the costs of maintaining a team of IT administrators taking care of an extensive SAP environment.
S/4HANA and SAP B1 in line with our needs
I have been with the company for over 20 years. Over these years, a small Polish company with big dreams turned into an international player in the field of fixing systems, fasteners and tools. This was followed by major changes in management processes as well as in production and logistics. We reached a situation in which the software chosen a few years earlier was not able to meet the expectations and needs of the company. It was not easy to choose a new ERP platform. The needs of the headquarters are different than those of the production facilities and the sales branches located all over the world. We had to take into account many variables as well as forecasts of the future development. After a thorough analysis, the decision was made to choose SAP systems, which proved to be a beneficial solution for us – S/4HANA, a fast and efficient system of the latest generation in the headquarters, and SAP B1 systems integrated with it for sales branches all over the world.
Piotr Kopydłowski, CFO, RAWLPLUG
A challenge for IT
The implementation of a completely new ERP platform in a corporate group operating in different countries, carried out in a constantly changing business environment, is a really big challenge also for the IT department. We hired SNP to implement the project because of their experience and unique combination of S/4HANA, SAP Business One and system integration competencies. The multi-stage approach developed together with SNP, assuming a gradual expansion of the new IT environment into new business areas, enables the implementation of SAP S/4HANA in the Group’s production, sales and logistics areas. As a result, we can use the functions already launched and develop the system at the same time. SAP S/4HANA, the central element of this environment, creates a solid foundation for the currently implemented and future solutions.
Andrzej Balsamski, IT DIRECTOR, RAWLPLUG
Rawlplug has been an expert in fixing systems, fasteners and tools for over 100 years. The brand’s portfolio includes 30,000 products in 10 categories. Each product comes in several or even several dozen variants designed for a specific type of surface, application requirements or installation conditions. Each of them is offered with specialized accessories, creating a complete system. Rawlplug products are manufactured in one of the most modern and automated production facilities in Europe, with specialized and continuously developing research and development centers.
Thanks to their comprehensive specialization, Rawlplug products are, on the one hand, universal and, on the other hand, tailored to the requirements of the most specialized construction works, have a modern design and exceptional technical parameters, are simple to install and very durable in operation.
Products for professionals are one of the 3 pillars of the Rawlplug product range. The brand also offers its customers specialist services and innovative training. An extensive portfolio of services for engineers, designers and constructors is the result of Rawlplug’s comprehensive approach to the fixing design process. An interesting portfolio of tools specially designed for them, and technical support in the broad sense of the term on the one hand give Rawlplug users the comfort of working in the conditions that improve their efficiency and allow them to make time savings, and on the other hand – provide them with safety, which is so important in their work results. The brand’s training offer is integrated into the Rawlplug Academy development project, which is based on the comprehensive development of the knowledge and skills of our customers. The combination of the four pillars of the Rawlplug Academy: the e-learning platform, the Training Center in London and the RawlTruck mobile education and development center, traditional workshops and the knowledge base make it the only solution in the fastener and fixing industry of such high quality and usability.