Describe your baseline at the verge of system renewal. Why did you go in for the renewal?
The decision to implement Nordic countries to SAP was done at corporation level to consolidate operations. All Nordic countries, Danish, Sweden and Finland were implemented to SAP simultaneously during 2018. SAP warehouse management, purchasing, sales and financial management were implemented. At global level we were already using SAP and now Nordic countries wanted to be merged into the same system.
What kind of new demands or challenges arose along the system renewal? What were you surprised at?
The lack of resources was challenging. Germany’s IT team didn’t have time to think Finnish processes, make detailed definitions nor help to execute all Finnish demands. The time and support had to be prioritized also amongst other Nordic countries. For example, in Denmark a manufacturing plant was needed to get running and Danish operations also went ahead of other countries.
We needed to get things going rapidly. Time consuming new processes, implementation, old procedures, learning as well as how to operate in a new system compared to the old one. It took a lot of time to get everything to function and do technical definitions.
The changes brought by this project burdened our finance team. Minor SAP know-how complicated and slowed down issue solving. Invoicing got jammed and customer satisfaction was in danger. Deliveries were normalized quite rapidly but pricing definitions were missing what caused problems for information validity in invoicing. There were also challenges in credit notes and fixing customer invoices up-to-date was hard and troublesome. Furthermore, communication between Finland and Germany was already challenging due to SAP terminology.
Our organization didn’t have enough SAP know-how even though we started recruiting new talents already one year before the implementation. There was no time to create new ideas or solutions. Learning processes took time and the utilization of features was threatened to remain partial. Core business was in danger, so this situation needed to be solved rapidly.
How did you begin to get help with new needs?
Our baseline was to recruit more SAP know-how. We started finding a new person via recruit advertisement. Soon we noticed it was very challenging to find suitable talent this way. Islet contacted us at that time and let us know about other option for our needs. At first, we thought permanent recruiting was the only option for us. After the need mapping discussion and going through the Islet insourcing service model we changed our minds and decided to try this option Islet offered. It turned out to be a successful choice.
How this new situation was solved?
We chose a competent partner to accelerate our team to adopt the new system and maximize its utilization. The outside viewpoint was beneficial because we wanted to get excellent outcomes right from the start. As a result, we got better service, know-how to our organization and cost-efficiency.
SAP know-how and personal chemistries were essential. It was also crucial that we needed a member to our financial team who had time to look up and investigate error situations occurring after the implementation; why they happened and define them to be fixed by Germany’s IT team. It was also important to have savvy SAP Specialist as a local support in our office showing how the system works and educating us for the most efficient ways to use the new system.
How Islet managed to help you with these needs?
For two weeks’ notice we managed to get a competent SAP Specialist to be our team member for four and a half months. This person orientated rapidly, was productive and liked colleague. When learning and adapting to new procedures, the outside viewpoint brought new kind of thoughts and experience.
What kind of changes the system renewal brought?
Transparency to functions in the corporate level and consolidation to reporting. The renewal brought steadiness to our processes, motivated our team to learn and adopt new procedures more efficiently and unified procedures both locally and at corporate level.
What kind of concrete benefits were achieved?
With the help of Islet our jammed situation in financial management got normalized. It was also important and beneficial that Islet’s competent SAP Specialist documented in comprehensive and precise way as well as composed good end-user instructions so everyone in our organization can use them and proceed with their work.
Previously instructions were at general corporation level that was not detailed enough for everyone to understand them. When we took this new procedure to use, Islet professional educated us, and it worked well. Due to SAP implementation our procedures were optimized, and we can now perform tasks in the system what we used to perform in paper of Excel.
Released time from routine tasks can be used now to enhance business and support management decision making, planning and tracking business operations’ profitability. I see also as a positive thing that our financial team’s know-how increased and working methods unified between Nordic countries’ teams.
What are Islet’s strengths to undertake and complete change?
On short notice Islet managed to give our team SAP Specialist who fulfilled our competence requirements and fitted to our team. SAP professionals are had to find, and our need was clearly temporary in retrospect, so this served our situation perfectly. Islet’s SAP Specialist knew financial management work in practice, understood our post-project environment and what are the procedures in Finland. Germany’s IT team supported dozens of countries with different needs and local requirements for procedures. Islet’s SAP Specialist knew how to communicate these needs also at system level within our organization.
“I can warmly recommend our partner Islet if you need person who is seasoned by experience to your team. We were highly satisfied with the help from Islet.”
Pekka Sintonen, CEO, Ardex
For over 60 years Ardex has been one of the leading solution providers of high-performance specialty building materials. Nowadays Ardex has manufacturing plants and sales offices in over 50 countries. In Finland Ardex products have been used by professionals since 1981. We emphasize the significance of education and that is the reason ARDEX Academy was established in 1999. It has become one of the most notable education centers amongst the professionals in the field.