Brands, Retailers and Manufacturers implementing SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical Business recognize that a new Digital Core is an opportunity to unify systems and processes across their global operations, drive efficiencies (IT and business), improve visibility and introduce standards across geographies.
While the benefits are compelling, a global S/4HANA Fashion rollout is a massive and complex undertaking. It involves a spectrum of "moving parts"—before, during and after go-live. And it's crucial that a company stages and executes the implementation in a manner that provides the right balance between cost and time; to ensure the effectiveness of the system. Following are a few steps that we recommend based on recent S/4HANA global rollout projects:
01. Identify and document
A global template drives the foundation for the building of your global ERP solution. A crucial part of building a global template is defining the scope of the project. On S/4HANA, this means identifying and then documenting all the key processes across the different channels - wholesale, retail, e-commerce as well as manufacturing if applicable. This helps determine which aspects of the solution should be standard for all across the globe, contributing greatly to the efficacy of the system.
Organizations need to have a clear breakdown of the below:
- Which geographic areas, business units and legal entities will be part of the deployment
- Which processes and sub processes, as well as specific ERP modules, will be involved
- What data will be involved in conversion, where that data resides, and how that data will be harmonized, cleansed and migrated to the new solution
02. Harmonize key processes
Harmonize key processes across all sales subsidiaries - across all regions. This will help create a template that is truly global. For instance, the order creation process across German and Italian subsidiaries would generally be common. If there are any deviations, identify the reasons; i.e. – is it a legal requirement, if not, is it necessary and can it be harmonized?
03. Localize where needed.
When harmonizing, it may not be possible to know the exact processes followed by each subsidiary. Hence, following the principle of making sure that the template solution covers 80% of the requirements would be helpful. The remaining 20% can be taken as localization and should be taken in to consideration as a part of the rollout plan.
Example: In most instances the outbound logistics process for Wholesale, Retail and ECOM, across all subsidiaries, would be common. Hence, the potential exists to review the process followed when shipping the goods out from the warehouse and harmonize the steps in order to define a common solution in SAP as a part of the template.
Case Study: Successful S/4HANA Fashion Rollout Leveraging a Global Template
To fully capitalize on the promise of today's global market, companies need a scalable technical infrastructure foundation — something that goes beyond the capabilities of the existing patchwork collection of regional or local systems companies typically use today to manage their operations. We recently helped a large sportswear brand accelerate business transformation by leveraging a global SAP S/4HANA Fashion template. Few highlights of the project:
- A global template of standardized processes, which can be rolled out to any country with minimum adjustments
- Integration with e-commerce systems across retail and wholesale operations to enable fulfillment and shipments to 26 countries
- A modern digital core, where all transactions are captured in one SAP system - enabling efficiencies on a global scale
To learn more about the company's S/4HANA Fashion journey, download the case study here.