We have opened our doors to SAP, so that we are flexible to new demands, can adapt to market trends in the future, and increase our competitiveness in global business.
Matthias Niehues, Project Manager, Aug. Winkhaus GmbH & Co. KG
Owner-operated Aug. Winkhaus GmbH & Co. KG currently employs a total of 2,300 staff members at six German sites and in eleven international subsidiaries and generates annual revenues of around EUR 300 million. With its international partners, the family firm – established in 1854 – provides products and services for windows and doors on a global basis. This includes window hardware technology, surveillance systems for windows, locking systems, access control and time registration systems as well as multiple-door locking systems. More than 65% of sales are in the export business.
Benefits and Challenges
- SAP ERP, the systems, master data and information structures throughout the entire value chain within the Winkhaus Group were to be merged, consolidated and homogenised with its companies in eleven countries, all in a uniform database
- Tighter supply chain, particularly in terms of logistic processes
- Transparency, integration and standardization on an international level
- Group-wide inventory optimization up to the product level
- Group-wide customer credit check and group-wide comparison of conditions
- Group-wide reports on products most successful at the customer level
- Product success report overall for the entire value-added chain
- Integration of Winkhaus intra-group processes into one system
- Integration of sales and production planning
- Elimination of interfaces to third-party systems
- Elimination of unstructured data management (excel files)
- Investment protection through implementation of SAP ERP as the market-leading solution
- SAP ERP with the following modules:
- Payroll Accounting and Time Management (HR)
- Financial Accounting and Asset Management (FI, AM)
- Group Consolidation and Controlling (CO)
- Intercompany Processing
- Sales and Distribution (SD)
- Warehouse Management (WM)
- Materials Management and Procurement (MM)
- Production Planning and Control (PP)
- Sales Planning (APO/DP)
- Variant Configuration (VAR-CONF)
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
- Quality Management (QM)
- SAP Solution Manager
About the Project
The family firm eventually chose the operational ERP solution from SAP, “as this solution met our requirements in the best way possible,” stated project manager Matthias Niehues. Now it was time to find the ideal implementation partner. Following the invitation to tender towards the end of 2004, Winkhaus notified the full-service SAP provider itelligence at the end of March 2005 that it had been awarded the project contract.
At the start of 2006, the partners at the German, Polish and British sites converted the financial accounting and asset management divisions as well as overhead controlling to SAP ERP. Parallel to this, the payroll accounting and time management SAP modules were being installed at the German locations. Throughout 2006, additional locations in Holland, Spain and the Czech Republic were converted to SAP ERP in the financial and overhead controlling divisions.
At the same time, an SAP-based corporate template was implemented, in which all logistics processes from sales and distribution, warehouse management, materials management, procurement, production planning and control to variant configuration are specified. In doing so, the project team took into account the particular characteristics of the different local markets. In October 2006, the first distributorship in Birmingham, UK, including warehouse management, was converted to SAP ERP. At the beginning of 2007, logistics and production in Telgte, Germany, went live. In June 2007, the production site in Rydzyna, Poland, followed and in January 2008, all processes at the further German locations in Münster and Meining, as well as in Austria, went completely live.
A particular challenge was the implementation of the SAP system in Poland due to the fact that some processes here differed greatly from those at the German headquarters. In particular, the customer approach is different in Poland: where Winkhaus in Germany primarily contacts wholesalers, the Polish branch concentrates on window manufacturers. And due to the fact that Winkhaus Poland has put itself a head above the competition thanks to its outstanding customer service, interruption of the delivery flow during the system conversion was not an option. With the new solution, the level of service will increase even further – an obvious competitive bonus.
In addition, the WH-Windows system WH-Okna, was installed in Poland and connected to the SAP system via an interface. This enables customer requests to be transferred directly into the SAP system for further processing. The transfer of expertise to the company is also part of the itelligence success concept. In training, the Polish IT specialists acquired such a high level of knowledge that the summer 2007 production start at the site in Poland was only shadowed by itelligence to a very low degree.
Whilst the international system implementation was being carried out, Winkhaus were mapping all contents, tools and procedures for implementation and operations in SAP Solution Manager 3.1. This enables the company to not only improve efficiency during implementation but also to avoid redundancies, minimise risk and ultimately reduce costs. Following the roll-out in Poland, the positive collaboration between itelligence and Winkhaus continues: the SAP implementation at the Ukraine site is the next joint project!