Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can be a daunting task, especially when it involves multiple locations and business units. Yet, one consulting company recently accomplished the impressive feat of rolling out an SAP ERP implementation to 60 locations in just 60 months. This is a remarkable achievement, considering the complexity of such an undertaking and the potential for disruptions to business operations. In this week’s conversation, we talk with D4M COO Jean-Yves Durocher to delve into the details of this impressive implementation and explore the key factors that contributed to its success.
Gene: So today we’re talking about 60 and 60. And before we begin let’s just ask a couple of
questions about this automotive manufacturer that you worked with this project. What can you tell us about and your relationship with them?
JY: So, we have been working with a tier 1 automotive manufacturers for over a decade pro assisting them in a global transition from being from using several different ERP.
JY: The company grew extremely. It’s a very successful company based in Europe. And they have been
growing like it’s the case most of the time with a lot of acquisition and generic growth. And that put them in a situation where they ended up with several running several ERP around the globe.
JY: Whether you’re talking about SAP, QAD, or JD Edwards, they had plants that used them. Over the
years, they ended up with a multitude of ERP. So we have been helping them not only with this project that was the main undertaking, but we have been assisting them globally with their SAP needs.
JY: In some cases it has been support maintenance rollout. It took a various farm over time.
Gene: Okay. And are they tier one automotive or tier two?
JY: They are one of the largest top five worldwide part makers for automotive. It’s a corporation
with operation almost every, I wouldn’t say in every country, but in many
countries around the world.
JY: They are a global player and they are in the top five or six in their industry worldwide.
Gene: So, let’s get into the brass tacks of what exactly 60 and 60 is. I hear this term a lot at
D4M, so can you just give me an overview of what 60 and 60 is?
JY: When we refer to the 60-over-60, it refers to the largest project we have been doing over the years and the most ambitious project we for said client. Long and short of it, we ended up helping them rolling a new ERP in 60 different location plants specifically over a period of six months.
JY: That was a major undertaking that took place over a period of five years. Basically, we were
able to transition/migrate to an SAP ERP across 60 plants. These are location that had various ERP that were non-SAP. The 60 over 60, it’s pretty much 60 migration for 60 location on an SAP platform, which was quite an ambitious and large notetaking.
JY: This is what we refer to as the 60 over 60.
Gene: Just to be clear here, the name “60-in-60” is referring to the amount of time and the amount of rollouts that the process takes, I’m assuming?
JY: That’s exactly correct. So we’re talking about 60 rollout over 60 months. That’s where it’s
Gene: And I know you’ve done this approach with some really large companies, but just out of
curiosity, so let’s just say you wanted to take the implementation of 60-in-60 per smaller companies, it is said process limited to the size of the company and how many plants they have, or can anyone attempt this?
JY: I think that this approach that we use which is a systematic rollout planning and execution, it’s
applicable to any size corporation – but obviously it’s more specifically applicable to company running several plants. Not necessarily in several countries, you could be a large mid size corporation in the US with 5/10 plants.
JY: I think basically if you’re in a corporation of any size situation, if you are currently running
several ERP in in multiple location, and it doesn’t have to be a large number, you could do this multiple rollout project. It could be 4 or 5 locations that you acquired over the years and for whatever reason, you’re still running different ERPs and the whole concept of streamlining is still applicable the
Gene: And thus far obviously since we used Faurecia as an example, you’ve attempted this in a high
end automotive industry, but out of curiosity, have you attempted in the past to do it for any other industries other than automotive?
JY: Yes, absolutely. The same approach can be applied to other industries.
JY: In the end, multiple rollout projects are based on solid foundation of planning and
execution. We have done these style rollouts in other industries; in fact, we’ve done them in several industries. It’s fully applicable. The idea and the objective for the corporation to streamline or standardize operation under one single ERP.
JY: It could be a different level of complexity – different depending on the industry – but it is clearly fully applicable to any industry.
Gene: Okay. And as far as 60 and 60 is concerned, what makes this so special as an SAP rollout? Is
it just more rollouts than is, than the industry is used to? What exactly are the, how exactly is it like the next step in SAP rollouts?
JY: I think what is unique is the pace of the work and the time it takes to execute.
JY: A typical SAP rollout in the industry for manufacturer would take much longer. People would
take an approach that, I would say, takes more time; or, in Faurcia’s case specifically, if you run an operation with a hundred plants, And you make a decision to migrate on the same platform, you could often rollout only 10 plants per year.
JY: So, if the average mid-size company could rollout 10 plants per year, if you have a hundred location worldwide, it would take you 10 years, which -from a business standpoint – is totally not imaginable or acceptable because. The unique selling point for 60-in-60, I would say, is the pace of the work the AND the
speed at which we execute.
JY: It requires a phenomenal and outstanding type of execution to make this happen. The timeframe
is short and the execution is highly efficient; Not to say that it’s not efficient otherwise, but it does requires a level of discipline and execution that’s extremely precise.
Gene: I know you answered this question in your answer just now, but just out of curiosity, let’s just
say that a company that specializes in SAP rollouts were to try to attempt to do the 60-in-60 thing themselves and try to roll out multiple plants at the same time.
Gene: What are some words of advice that, that you would give said company if they were to try to
attempt this or recreate it in some capacity?
JY: I think there’s probably two key advice I would say. The first one would be planning. I think
it requires an excellent planning upfront. So, before you jump into execution, you need a step back, take a few months to plan the process out.
JY: I think it requires a very good planning upfront to say the least. You need to take some
time for your plan. Not too much, but I think it has to be extremely well planned as far as the sequence that you’re going to do the task and which country you start first and how do you do your blueprint and all that.
JY: So, it needs to be well planned.
JY: And the second one, I would say, is a strong commitment from your company executive. You need to have a strong commitment because there will be a hundred reasons why things could delayed. And I think in order to tackle potential issues and roadblock, you need to have very good I would say a very good support from higher management.
JY: Now, if I could add a third aspect to the list would be, I think it’s not necessarily a style of project that your regular team day in, day out team has done before. This is quite a unique journey. So, you may not have internally the SAP expert whose done this style of project.
JY: Because it’s quite unusual for a company to do this such projects, you may need to ask for outside help, at least at the beginning. Don’t try to do all by yourself, because – typically – you may not have the obviously the skills or the bandwidth internally to tackle something like that.
JY: So, I would say to ask some help outside help. Especially for the planning phase, I think would be wise to do so before you get started.
Gene: Just in closing for 60 and 60. So what are some closing observations that you can impart about rolling multiple plants at once or perhaps some insights that you learned when you rolled out this tier one automotive company?
JY: I would say the process is not necessarily for tier one or automotive, but, generally speaking, when you try to do this kind of a project, you may hear from the street or from the market in general that it’s not doable or it would cost millions or it would be you’re going to hear many reason.
JY: To all the people trying to tell you its not doable, my advice to this is it is absolutely doable. It has been done before and it is doable. Do not get overly influenced by all kinds of feedback that it’s not doable or it would take years and cost hundreds of millions. It could be done in an extremely efficient way and at a reasonable cost.
JY: 60-in-60 can be completed based on good planning and good execution. These style rollouts are not done in the traditional “one at a time” method, but rather by tackling several plants in parallel. In our approach, a company could to tackle six to 10 plants cement at the same time. At the end of the day, you will save money.
D4M is a privately owned company specializing in leveraging digital technologies to accelerate manufacturing clients to their transition to Industry 4.0. With long tenure and hundreds or successful projects, we are confident that our approach and experience provides the roadmap to help bring clarity and efficiency to your manufacturing operation.
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