Upfield - Optimal Data Management on a Global Stage - Bluestonex

Upfield - Optimal Data Management on a Global Stage

Jaroslaw Chrupek - Global Director Master Data

“Bluestonex team has been incredibly supportive and agile in getting us over the line in around 6 months time for three major data objects – Product, Customer and Vendor. Their passion, knowledge and experience has been immensely appreciated by our Associates involved in the project, who have learnt a lot and gained new skills and capabilities. We are now building on this good foundation to deliver further process and UX improvements for our business.”

Introduction to the Client

Upfield is the largest plant-based product company in the world, previously part of the Unilever group being relaunched as Upfield in December 2017 upon the sale of the business. Their vision for a “Better Plant-based Future” drives positive change in people’s health, their daily lives and our planet’s sustainability. A global company, operating in 95 countries running SAP S4/HANA as the backbone of it’s business operations.

The Challenges

Complexity and Variety of Processes and Business Scenarios

Upfield’s standard process of master data governance was clear yet missing good supporting tools. Everything from request through to approvals, communications and processing was manual and relied on extensive e-mail flows, which made it very laborious and time consuming. Lack of automation, exposed Upfield to human error and required many master data adjustments, decreasing overall data quality. Upfield decided to look for a tool that would cover the full range of MDM processes.

Upfield also wanted to cover all accompanying objects required for purchasing, costing, manufacturing, distribution and sales at least to a level where they could track if essential tasks were completed or not.

Material Master

Upfield needed to ensure that all production items (raw, packaging, semi-finished and finished goods) were under control and delivered on time and in full.

Vendors

Upfield needed to streamline the overall onboarding process of Vendors, creating a workflow eliminating the need to use multiple systems. They wanted to make sure that business and data quality rules are system driven and not manual to ensure that data is of high quality on entry.

Customers

Upfield needed to improve new customer creation and master data management. The process of approval requests required changes to ensure that the business could actively participate in the process. Upfield needed the business to be aware that it was the owner of the data.

Lack of Process Harmonisation between Regions

Upfield runs businesses on six continents, using separate SAP systems, running a slightly different data model and requiring a specific set of rules. Each region tends to still have a slightly different organisational structure which impacts ownership of both process steps and data.

Definition of Roles and Responsibilities

Upfield discovered many gaps in roles and responsibilities in the MDM process. Finding an owner for each data object and each master data view or field became a challenge that needed to be resolved for the process to work.

The Solution

Upfield looked at numerous MDM and governance solutions. They eventually selected Maextro after a successful pilot project. The initial Maextro objects delivered to Upfield were Material , Customer and Vendor (Business Partner). The project was managed and delivered by the Upfield Master Data Team with support from Bluestonex.

Material Master

Encompassing the creation, extend and change functionality of four material types across all Upfield plants and sales orgs. There was extensive use of the Maextro rule functionality and high governance of process.

Business Partner

Maextro’s Business Partner object was deployed for the maintenance of both Vendor and Customer Business Partners in Upfield’s S/4 HANA environment. The workflow capabilities of Maextro were used extensively to direct tasks to different users based on geography, departmental functions and vendor types. Additionally, multiple linked customers could be processed together, within a single Maextro request. From the end user perspective, the look and feel of the Maextro Business Partner screens is consistent with screens for other Maextro objects (such as Material Master), thus insulating the user from the complexity of the SAP standard BP transaction.

User Experience

The user experience was further simplified using SAP Screen Personas Slipstream UI5 engine apps covering create request, approve request, task list, data log/audit.

Maextro’s core UI apps meant zero development was required and worked ‘out of the box’, using data and screens defined in the back-end ABAP system.

The Results

First impressions of Maextro are very positive, especially from staff used to working with SAP. Transparency and ease of use were flagged as obvious benefits. Additionally, the fact that users now need provide only the data they actually own rather than having to query multiple teams to collect all of the data required.

The significant decrease in offline communication is a big advantage: Maextro provides an opportunity to add comments and attachments directly in the workflow, so it doesn’t require a lot of e-mail traffic.

The business rules adopted by Maextro not only improve the quality and consistency of the data, but also to reduce manual effort. In many tasks, users simply review pre-populated data and only occasionally adjust where required.

Business Partner Master Data

From the beginning of the implementation of Maextro, the program aroused interest and ignited business expectations for improvements in the efficiency and ease of work. Over 300 potential users of the system participated in the training provided.

The number of e-mail communications between users of the system has decreased significantly. Data quality has improved due to the way Maextro enforces Upfield’s business rules. The time needed to create a customer account has also been shortened and the requestor now has full visibility of progress.

The success of Maextro means that Upfield expects to transfer other remaining processes to Maextro.

Skills & Knowledge Transfer

Upfield benefitted from the quality of knowledge transfer and support received from the Bluestonex team, which greatly helped in understanding how Maextro works and how it can be shaped to requirements. The tool is very flexible and opens up vast opportunities for process simplification and improvements in the future.