GLS Group needed access to data that could fuel real-time decision-making in its manufacturing units, and it achieved that, along with other business benefits, when it mapped out a roadmap improving enterprise resource planning (ERP).
The Indian company has drawn up a rollout plan to consolidate the workflow of its five business units and move them to the same system. Each manufacturing company used its own third-party ERP system, which was used to support each unit’s financial and production processes.
Called Pragathi, the project centered on SAP Hana to power real-time processing across all GLS operations, establishing a standardized way of operating. It was named Manufacturing Project of the Year at the Computer Weekly Innovation Awards APAC 2022.
GLS is a Gurgaon-based manufacturing group that produces industrial films, packaging, chemicals, aluminum and infrastructure. It has more than 1,500 employees, including an IT team of 25, and an annual IT budget of $5 million.
She chose SAP Hana for its ability to run a wide variety of complex queries quickly, and without aggregating data in advance. The relational database management system boasts in-memory technology that makes this possible, analyzing large volumes of data in seconds.
Although many of its business requirements could be supported by standards, some legacy custom processes that were familiar to employees would not be available on the new platform.
This was necessary to improve overall business operations and ensure the new system would be secure. However, this meant that employees had to adapt to a new way of working. Some felt that the new system had resulted in the loss of features they were used to.
The Pragathi deployment team was aware of this and devoted time and attention to addressing these issues throughout the project.
Conversations were held to outline the company’s goals for implementing the new system and explain the business value of adopting the standards. Business users were also encouraged to share their feedback on the project and their readiness for go-live.
This allowed the deployment team to identify pockets of the organization that remained uncertain about the project. Additional time was spent helping these employees see the benefits they would derive from using the new platform. Such efforts eventually won over even the skeptics and the project turned out to be a success.
GLS has reserved a budget of INR 40 million ($529,900) for Pragathi, with a six-month rollout schedule. Executed by its IT team, the project was completed on time and within budget, and involved moving all of the workflow components that were essential for a product manufacturing business, such as product planning, plant management, quality management and HR.
With an established integrated workflow, manual interventions have been minimized. Improved ERP has also reduced the company’s data footprint.
Real-time data is now available, in the required formats, and more reliable. New information includes product cost data, digitized product information, and employee information.
Road to new revenue, business models
The successful deployment of Pragathi has enabled GLS to reinvent its business models and generate new revenue streams.
This has paved the way for the manufacturing group to connect with customers through any channel that brings value. Operations and work processes have also been streamlined.
Pragathi also enables the use of Internet of Things and Big Data technology to provide deeper insights. Additionally, access to real-time data analysis enabled better and instantaneous decision-making.
Offering guidance to others wanting to embark on a similar project, GLS has designated SAP Business BluePrint as an essential development guide. Also, all business workflow processes should be mapped according to the requirements of the organization.
An open and honest communication channel with employees should be established, including early discussions of any potential challenges. Escalated issues can be resolved with the appointment of a case manager, who should be responsible for driving the project across sub-teams and business units.
Expectations must also be managed in all areas, including methodology, work culture, new system functions, and technical aspects of the system. Prototyping services, processes and new ways of working could help bring out issues of early learning and adaptation.