Fully integrated product lifecycle management

BDF EXPERTS realises complete implementation of SAP S/4HANA in mechanical and plant engineering

Holistic and fully integrated product lifecycle management in SAP S/4HANA - BDF EXPERTS is realising this vision in a mammoth project at a major machinery and plant manufacturer in East Westphalia. In detail, this means fully automated logistics processes, real-time reporting of product and project costs and harmonised business processes across all locations.

The first talks between BDF EXPERTS and the machine and plant manufacturer took place back in 2016. The reality at the time: system discontinuities, different working methods and redundantly stored data. In a preliminary study, BDF EXPERTS came up with an innovative concept for the introduction of integrated product lifecycle management, including detailed cost tracking. To avoid legacy burdens and enable real-time capable processes, the customer opted for a true greenfield implementation of SAP S/4HANA. This also involved integrating and reorganising the finance and controlling processes.

The customer's financial processes were already mapped in an SAP system before the start of the project. However, this was not integrated, as all logistics processes were mapped using external software. The manual collation of data from different sources was particularly time-consuming and resource-intensive when creating reports. This additional effort can be eliminated in future by introducing integrated financial and logistics processes. For comprehensive project and product cost controlling, BDF is implementing the Simultaneous Costing Cockpit, which provides a real-time overview of all costs at all times. BDF EXPERTS has already implemented a business partner concept for working in the new S/4HANA system in another sub-project in the Finance division to ensure the smooth handling of financial and purchasing processes. The machinery and plant manufacturer can now find all its business partners in one system.

In the logistics area, a completely new data concept was developed for data management. The aim is to supply the entire supply chain with data from the SAP system. The SAP Product and Process Governance developed by BDF for this purpose forms the centrepiece for dovetailing the cost and logistics processes. As early as the product development (engineering) stage, it is determined which part is to be produced or procured and how. This makes it possible to differentiate between the make-to-order, configure-to-order and engineer-to-order processes right at the start of the value chain. This differentiation means that the data required and the costs that can be recognised are determined at a very early stage. Thanks to the sophisticated data model and a set of rules created together with the customer, many of these processes will later run automatically and without any effort on the part of the customer. Once the implementation is complete in 2021, the machine and plant manufacturer will be able to fulfil individual customer orders efficiently and in a resource-saving manner. Duplicate data storage, complex reports and non-transparent project costs will then be a thing of the past.