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An aging on-premises ERP system and changing business conditions motivated packaging firm Quadpack to embark on a digital modernization project.
The project, Quadpack Connect, is centered around moving from SAP Business One ERP to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and implementing an advanced data analytics system on SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse.
Quadpack is an international packaging manufacturer primarily used for cosmetics and skin care products. The company has headquarters in Barcelona and production facilities in Spain, Germany, Texas and China.
One way Quadpack is keeping pace with changing regulations and customer specifications is by investing in the development of sustainable packaging options, said Jordi Ambros, Quadpack's head of business intelligence.
Quadpack's IT systems are a key element to managing the changing business requirements. For years, the company has relied on SAP Business One for ERP. As business requirements and customer specifications evolved, so did Quadpack's IT landscape spurred by the acquisition of two packaging firms in the past year -- Louvrette in Germany and East Hill Industries in Dallas. Both companies company came with their own ERP systems and sets of processes, Ambros said.
The rate of growth in company size and in ERP landscape made unification imperative.
"Right now, we are growing very fast and we need to harmonize not only the digital platform but also the processes," he said. "We also need to standardize our manufacturing facilities on the way we produce materials."
Harmonizing data and managing growth
Quadpack initiated Quadpack Connect in early 2019 with the goal of harmonizing the various systems and data, where data types and structures are brought together and transformed into a universal data set. The company selected SAP S/4HANA Cloud as the core ERP system, Ambros explained, as it would provide the foundation and agility to manage accelerated growth and rapidly changing business conditions.
Quadpack's Business One system was on-premises and due for an upgrade. The company believed the move to S/4HANA Cloud would help it keep up with changing conditions, and the cost of migrating to the cloud was a wash when compared to upgrading Business One, according to Ambros.
"The market changes very fast, and we need to change too," he said. "We are in a very old version [of SAP Business One], and to move to a current version of that system, the investment in terms of money and time would be the same as moving to a cloud system."
Managing data and enabling better data analytics also became a key focus of the project, Ambros said. Quadpack Connect needed an analytics system that could migrate historical data and manage clean data from each acquired company's data management system. Quadpack's analytics system was built on SQL Server, Microsoft's SQL Server Integration Services for data warehousing and Microsoft Power BI for data analytics.
"We needed a new analytics platform in order to combine the historical data with the new data, and also the companies that are in the new system with a new data model," he said. "So we studied this and decided to go with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud for data management and SAP Analytics Cloud on the reporting side."
Getting processes on the same page
The analytics data is coming mainly from Quadpack's ERP and CRM systems, and the main objective was to consolidate the data from different facilities and companies into SAP Data Warehouse, Ambros explained.
"We want to harmonize the metadata and our KPIs," he said. "Because it's very important for us that, for example, sales processes will have to be the same sales processes for every company. If a manufacturing facility is specialized in wood and another in plastic, it has to be the same process."
One expected benefit of the Quadpack Connect system is that employees and customers will get the same data at the same time. This was extremely difficult to do in the old system because of silos, Ambros said.
"When different departments updated data, it was not easy to get the data because they had to contact different departments in order to collect the different information," he said. "For example, if a cap is made in one factory and the jar is made in another factory, the customer has to consult different production orders, which takes a lot of time. With this new system, the data is replicated automatically with customer service."
The project began in February 2020 and has progressed in stages. The SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud systems are scheduled to go live this summer. The consolidated S/4HANA system will be rolled out to Quadpack's various locations by the end of 2022.
Jim O'Donnell is a TechTarget news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for SearchSAP and SearchERP.