Sumi Agro Europe
Sumi Agro Europe currently operates a network of sales and distribution companies and branch offices established at a national level across Europe. These companies specialise in the development and distribution of technically advanced products, including plant protection products, speciality fertilisers and seeds.
Sumi Agro had already initiated a programme to consolidate the various Management Information Systems (MIS) currently operating across the organisation. Having not previously embarked on a project of this scale, Sumi Agro looked to engage with an external organisation to assist with the process.
Sumi Agro desired to transform the organisation and create a singular look and feel for the business; enabling the group’s finances to be reported to management ‘at the push of a button’. This required significant change across each country office and for the business to take into account local tax and regulatory rules together with fluctuating currencies. Sumitomo Group corporate requirements dictated a 12-month timeframe for all necessary changes to be completed; this coupled with the technical difficulties of implementing a single system added further significant challenges to an already a complex project.
Sumi Agro engaged with PTS to provide Business Transformation and ERP Consultancy on a pan-European level, with the appropriate consistency and engagement that would satisfy the key stakeholders. The approach and model proposed by PTS were successful over some of the big consultancies as PTS emphasised the more receptive and open engagement method of the Consulting team, as well as the flexibility of the tactical approach.
The PTS discovery process looked to clarify and detail the business requirements, working practices and functions in order to understand the material factors across the project. In discussions with the Sumi Agro management team, it became clear that the deliverables would be best accomplished by PTS meeting with the offices around Europe and gathering not only the business requirements but also the current issues, lessons and expectations. The focus was as much on gaining buy-in with the staff and building the organisation as on the ERP technology itself.
The discovery phase leveraged a blend of subjective and objective approaches, including interviews, workshops and presentations during the execution of the RFI.
The project objective was to carefully manage all changes to the current environment and the way that the business interacts with itself, its clients and its suppliers. It was important to overcome the usual issues associated with change:
- Lack of take-up and ownership
- Minimal understanding of the collective business case
- Cultural complexities
PTS supported Sumi Agro in establishing mechanisms, routines and tools that could engage the business and enable the transformation, before the ERP supplier process started, during the project and after it had concluded. The objective was to leave the organisation well-placed to absorb change and, equally as importantly, to drive further change.
PTS drew from the RFI and the business engagement processes to produce a suitable RFP to select a preferred supplier. PTS structured the approach to project progress reporting and management tools; this included workshops and meeting regimes to gather data, augmented by supplier-led workshops with the various international offices, staff surveys, and general feedback sessions.
The RFP process resulted in a consensus-driven evaluation and selection activity for Sumi Agro; this guaranteed staff involvement in the transformation and increased the overall understanding of the benefits realised by implementing an ERP.
PTS already had well-defined and structured procurement services and was therefore engaged to undertake the contract negotiation. This provided Sumi Agro with the necessary support to achieve the best value from the marketplace whilst protecting scope, quality and contractual clauses.
Project Closure and Handover
The final outcome was the successful closure of the PTS engagement, transferring knowledge to the management team, and providing a roadmap for Sumi Agro to take the project through to completion.
The biggest concern with most organisations around ERP programmes is the fear that the business, as a whole or individual departments, will reject or disrupt the process. In the case of this ERP project, the business is now fully engaged and supportive of both the business case and the product and supplier chosen. Sumi Agro has recognised the value that PTS has brought to the project, in terms of structure and direction, and the high degree of certainty around cost, quality, and project timing.
Steve Parrianen, General Manager at Sumi Agro Europe, commented: “We appointed PTS because their approach was open and consultative; they didn’t bring the answer and impose it upon us, they worked with us to find the answer personal to us. They provided a single, solid and continuous team from the beginning of the project through to the closure. We frequently used their offices for meeting with the suppliers; this placed us in a more powerful position in regards to the negotiations. Alone, the cost savings achieved during contract negotiations fully paid for the PTS fees in taking us through this process.”
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