Start(up) with the pedal to the metal: In the Cloud, all systems are go


– written by Oliver Hüsen, OPW Ingredients GmbH

SAP promises that its Cloud solution “Business ByDesign” will operate at maximum efficiency from the very start. After a successfully managed go-live, we can confirm that statement without reservation. Nine days after the productive startup in the Cloud, our first annual financial statement was due. One does not have to be a finance expert to realize: that was a real challenge…

In a decision for software from the Cloud, fear of losing control is sometimes a factor one cannot overlook. Of course this does not apply to a startup, and our team is in a position to particularly appreciate the advantages of an OnDemand-solution. Our mutual experiences involved exclusively On-Premise Islands and the associated isolated business processes, the cumbersome software updates and patches, and the recurring issue of whether new hardware was necessary. All of these problems, as well as back-ups and inconvenient upgrades, are a thing of the past with SAP Business ByDesign, and we do not even need a large IT staff. Our company processes run via On-Demand software in the Cloud, and that means they run in the high-availability SAP data centers – a service which includes data security, support and updating. Since our team broke off from an existing company structure, an initial month-long reorganization and then a new start into daily business at full power was on the agenda – thus SAP Business ByDesign and our implementation partner, itelligence, had to get in position quickly.

Our partner’s knowledge of the industry was strongly in evidence during that process – although with our natural raw materials, particularly oils, we address a highly specialized market. We do a great deal of business in foreign countries, with partners in India and China among others. Many processes in SAP Business ByDesign are simpler than those we used previously, and offer a good solution in, among others, the area of ship purchase agreements, which involves back-to-back hedging: the sales process with the customer brings an immediate hedge on the part of the supplier, until the tonnage is finally complete. Many individual processes must dovetail precisely in order for the complete shipload to be simultaneously ready on the ship in the harbor, and parallel to that, in order for the money to be available in the form of letters of credit. This is a procedure which, in the food industry – in which itelligence has extensive experience – requires creative and shrewd process consulting. After all, a ship with an average of 1,000 tons of freight has a value of between 1.5 and 1.7 million US dollars: a mistake can quickly cost us a lot of money. In no way were the SAP claims overstated. Even our strict timetable was held to. The smooth and stable implementation and the simple operation, which are arguments with which SAP promotes its OnDemand solutions, have been confirmed. Following the scoping and the determination of the key figures, we were able to run our processes very well and very quickly, even in the test phase. The system always runs in a stable manner, and by simply logging in in another language, foreign partners can understand it as well.

The cooperative relationship with itelligence has proven its worth: our colleagues stood immediately, as they continue to stand, at our side through the entire implementation project. Questions which arose were answered promptly, even in phases which felt like incipient crises.

Nine days after our productive startup with SAP Business ByDesign, our first annual financial report was due. It does not take a finance expert to realize that this was a real challenge. It was mastered, though, because all project participants share a common approach to partnership, teamwork and dependability. I was able to reach our colleagues in distant countries even at the most “untimely” times of day (or night). This was a major effort to satisfy the customer. It was great.

We at OPW Ingredients have a straightforward, modest slogan: “Simple Things – Made Well”. If one applies that slogan to our SAP project, the “Made Well” part can certainly be used in respect to the SAP software. We can also say “well done” about the fact that, with our ERP system, we have a solid basis for the seamless tracking of the commodity flow – the gathering of the data regarding the materials, the shelf life dates or the batch-specific stocks. “Simple Things” also applies to our core business: We deal in oils. Oils are simple, beautiful products which must be handled with great care, and sometimes they must be certified. Particularly in the case of organic products, the traceability and thus the issue of documentation play an immensely important role, and here too, SAP Business ByDesign is well up to the job. We are satisfied – in fact, more than satisfied. In the Cloud, all systems are go.

OPW Ingredients does not want to re-invent the wheel, but rather to improve commodity flows. The quality of products and processes is priority number one, and support comes from the Cloud. Company founder Onno Rudolf Jongkind and his team are specialists in the marketing of fine natural raw materials – from almond oil for the connoisseur’s palate, to plant oils for the production of cosmetics and medicines, dairy products and proteins. This business requires fast and dependable performance in worldwide markets. With the help of itelligence, SAP Business ByDesign was implemented within the short period of four months – including the modules CRM, SCM (for trade logistics) and FIN for financial accounting and Controlling. Self-Services and mobile use in Smartphones and Tablets are to follow, and the needed hardware is already in use: iPhones by the staff, and iPads in the logistics area.

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