As a global player in hygiene and water management solutions for the food and drink industry, Sopura is automating and harmonising its front and back-end processes on the basis of standard SAP. The company started with its CRM. ‘A deliberate choice,’ says Wim Wouters, Global Director of Engineering & IT at Sopura. ‘The knowledge and experience we are acquiring from this worldwide cloud project will yield important benefits when we later begin with ERP.’
Sopura is one of the world´s leading experts in the production of cleaning, disinfection and water treatment agents for the food and drink industry. To improve its overview and insights while harmonising processes and making them more efficient, the company wanted to make the change to cloud technology for ERP, sales, and marketing automation, and introduce new technologies such as IoT.
The company weighed best-of-breed solutions against integrated enterprise-wide software platforms such as Microsoft and SAP. The choice ultimately fell on SAP because it integrates all of the elements demanded by Sopura, ranging from CRM, ERP and IoT-related digital innovations to machine learning, blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data.
Sopura decided to implement CRM as a first overarching solution for the entire group. The CRM software stands alone and is not yet integrated with ERP. ‘An ERP implementation is on a whole different level,’ says Wim Wouters of Sopura. ‘It has an even greater impact on the organisation and requires more of a support base. This CRM project paves the way in terms of cloud approach and project methodology.’ Since the beginning of 2020, the new CRM software has been rolled out worldwide, including in Europe, Australia and Vietnam.
Thinking inside the box
Sopura very deliberately opted for standard SAP and best practices. ‘Our philosophy was to start small and think big,’ says Wouters. ‘We prefer to be creative within the existing framework rather than doing customised developments. Think inside the box, you might say. SAP is a box brimming with possibilities that you discover during the course of the project. That presumes a high level of trust in your SAP partner in order to brainstorm with you and neatly match up functionality and processes.’
‘TheValueChain lived up to this trust. They proved to be an agile, flexible and dynamic partner with competent people. We clicked right away. Shoulder to shoulder we activated the functionality one step at a time, at our own pace.’
Harmonisation across the several languages and cultures was a challenge. The processes differed from site to site. ‘A project of this scope injects a different dynamic into a company,’ explains Wouters. ‘It succeeds only if everybody is on board, so we invested heavily in creating a solid support base. A few enthusiasts took the lead for the group, with our Italian sales manager Gianni meriting special recognition.’
Training the trainer
TheValueChain gave key users thorough training so they knew the system inside and out and could in turn give the internal training courses. ‘The train-the-trainer principle worked perfectly,’ continues Wouters. ‘It saved us time and expanded the project´s internal support. We trained our employees in their native language, which proved to be a crucial element for clearly transmitting the message.’
According to Wouters, a good basis has been created in order to proceed in the future with marketing automation, ticketing and the ERP platform. ‘The story isn´t finished, but the foundation is there – a solid foundation on which we can continue to build.’
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