T.CON and Perlen Packaging achieve a successful global SAP S/4HANA conversion

May 17, 2018 ECD Staff

SAP Gold Partner T.CON successfully carried out the system conversion from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA version 1709 in only one step at Perlen Packaging, a subsidiary of Chemie + Papier Holding AG (CPH). This single-step approach was carried out at all global locations with only one production downtime, resulting in a significant reduction of lost time and costs. Thanks to this approach as well as T.CON's expertise and structured approach, the project was completed within just seven months. "Implementing a project of this complexity so quickly and smoothly deserves profound respect," says René Kuhn, Head of IT at Perlen Packaging, commenting on the successful system conversion.

The commissioning of SAP S/4HANA in April 2018 was a crucial step on Perlen Packaging’s digital journey, a global manufacturer of pharmaceutical blister packaging. The ERP suite offers today’s data-driven organizations the ability to increase forward-looking visibility to improve operations, increase profitability, and reduce cost. It provides the opportunity to tackle Big Data approaches by allowing the integration, processing and analysis of large data sets as well as enabling forecasting and simulation.

With SAP S/4HANA, the ‘principle of one’ applies, which means that exactly one solution is available for any given business requirement within SAP S/4HANA’s ERP system or the entire SAP system landscape. This lean data model retrieved features, such as the SAP industry solution for Discrete Industries & Mill Products (DIMP), back into the ERP core, which significantly simplifies processes.

Intuitive SAP Fiori interfaces offer a modern use experience and enable real-time access to data, key figures and processes on PCs, tablets, or smartphones.

Perlen Packaging already benefits from the advantages of SAP S/4HANA in the financial sector. The ERP Suite removes the separation between controlling and accounting, since all financial data is stored centrally in a repository and processed on a line item level. The interaction of SAP S/4HANA with the Manufacturing Execution System MES CAT SUITE from T.CON also works smoothly. The full-service provider for efficient solutions in the SAP surrounding had previously implemented MES at Perlen Packaging. The system is installed on-premise on its own servers.

For the system conversion, the experts from T.CON first performed a system separation. This was necessary, because Perlen Packaging and Perlen Papier AG, another CPH subsidiary, shared the existing SAP ERP system. At the same time, they set up a secure sandbox environment with a system copy of the previously used SAP system. In this sandbox environment, the necessary preparatory work could be carried out separately from ongoing operations: the comparison of system settings against the ‘SAP S/4HANA Simplification List’, the custom code analysis for the adjustment requirements of customer-specific ABAP developments, the design of SAP S/4HANA Finance as well as the migration of customers and vendors to the business partner. Thanks to the Software Update Manager (SUM), the software upgrade to SAP S/4HANA 1709 and the switch to the SAP-HANA database took place all in one go. After completion of the sandbox phase, the T.CON consultants carried out the system conversion for the development, quality assurance, and production systems step-by-step. After the go-live, users could continue working directly on SAP S/4HANA at the locations in Switzerland, Germany, China and the USA. Thanks to the offline capability of the MES CAT SUITE, there was no downtime in production and logistics.

René Kuhn draws a consistently positive conclusion: "With the system conversion to SAP S/4HANA we are prepared for further growth as well as the digital transformation with all its challenges. The application suite is an important building block for a smart factory based on the concept of Industry 4.0 and for innovation projects relating to digital business processes and models".

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