- Success Story
Success Story fischer
Realize a highly integrated Sales and Operations planning process
Whether it is in mega construction projects such as the Gotthard Base Tunnel or the world’s largest Ferris wheel in Dubai, tower buildings and bridges or trades projects for the wall mounting of sanitation fixtures and wall furniture – stable, long-lasting and enduring fastening systems such as dowels, metal anchors, bolts and chemical fasteners are required in nearly all areas of life. There is one name that stands for over six decades of high quality and safety in this field: fischer fixing systems. The largest business area within the globally-active fischer Group produces and sells 15 million items worldwide – per day. With the goal of being internationally present and close to customers, over the years fischer has built up a production, logistics and sales network that uses 50 national subsidiaries to cover all continents, serving customers in 120 countries.
One essential success factor for fischer is consistently high supply capability – whether it is standard products or tailor-made special systems. For construction and key customers in particular, the success of complex projects depends on the timely delivery of all components - each day of delay incurs immense costs.
Supply chain competition
One of the areas dealing with this challenge at fischer fixing systems is Sales & Operations Planning. In 2019 the company launched an innovation project aimed at enabling fischer to react even more quickly, flexibly, consistently and resiliently to the future requirements of its customers. Similarly, the planning and simulation of future requirements together with the flow of information were also to be elevated to a higher level. On the one hand, to enable the departments to make better joint decisions in the interest of the customers and the company. On the other, to ensure greater stability in the realization of forward-looking planning.
Because: It is not just individual companies or sites that are in competition with one another on the market, but also entire supply chains. This means that the processes at procurement, production and logistics level need to be planned and synchronized end-to-end in an appropriate fashion.
How we supported fischer
MHP collaborated closely with fischer to jointly develop a process for next level sales, inventory and operations planning, also undertaking the technological implementation of this. The new system is based on the proven Integrated Business Planning solution from SAP, SAP IBP for short. We have already been working with the system for over six years, implementing it with our customers in customized form. SAP IBP offers the necessary flexibility and future capability to meet the requirements of fischer.
At the start of the project, we supported fischer in the design of the new S&OP architecture – including the drafting of key strategic process requirements and an IT big picture. Following this, in multiple agile sub-projects we also realized the modules for sales, capacity and inventory planning. This served to establish a strong basis for statistical forecasts, collaborative sales planning, inventory optimization, demand and capacity balancing and determination of net requirements, thereby generating enduring added value for customers.
Challenges of the project
A number of challenges needed to be overcome to ensure the successful implementation of the project. Alongside the large volumes of material and customers, smooth end-to-end planning along the supply chain – and inventory planning and net requirements calculations in particular - required that the master data display high quality and consistency. In addition, data also needed to be integrated from various systems. For example, numerous data were extracted from the extended sales history of the existing SAP BW system and the assessment of procurement alternatives undertaken with the aid of the order book from the ERP system. This was a decisive factor in the success of the new S&OP system. Beyond this, we also had to take various company-specific aspects into consideration in the data integration.
A further important point was the connection of worldwide non-SAP units to the IBP system – enabling the integration of inventory, sales and additional master data in particular into the new sales and operations planning process. Supplementary to the SAP standard, we also implemented further necessary add-on solutions – including for tool and personnel planning as well as subcontracting. Finally, the realization of the correct requirements solution for the vital net requirements calculation was a challenge that we at MHP were able to tackle in collaboration with fischer.
With the next level sales and operations planning the S&OP team at fischer will receive digital, tailored support across all levels in the future. For example, it will now also be possible to draft sales planning with improved, high-quality forecasts, optimize monthly rolling inventories and use the net requirements calculations to plan customer requirements right down to the machine. The new cloud-based system has since become the central database that maintains all employees involved at the same level of knowledge, thus creating significantly greater efficiency and transparency. This also generates a high level of acceptance amongst the departments and units concerned, with new responsibilities and organizational adaptations also realized within the scope of the new S&OP processes.
fischer is on the right path – and this is not only evident from the improved internal processes and key data. The company also recently won two acclaimed industry prizes: The Digital Champions Award and the German Sustainability Prize 2020 in the large companies category. We are delighted to have been able to support fischer with our IT and process expertise in this key step towards digital transformation.