09.06.2009 | Switzerland

S&T: SAP for the SPAETER Group

Successful alignment of ERP and business processes

The Swiss SPAETER Group, a leading trade and service partner for steel, construction and household technology needs, has introduced a group-wide SAP system with the support of IMG – the Consulting Services of the S&T Group. This has led to the harmonization of a previously heterogeneous system environment in the group and has also resulted in increased process transparency as well as the optimization of inter-company business.
With its headquarters in Basel, the SPAETER Group consists of twelve companies across Switzerland with a total of 30 corporate locations. The company employs 800 people and stocks approximately 115,000 articles. SPAETER is one of the two largest trade groups in Switzerland in the areas of steel, construction and household technology and is also very successful with regard to service and spot-facing processes (blanks, oxyacetylene cutting, refinement and finishing of products). The business has expanded considerably in recent years through numerous corporate acquisitions. In order to be able to handle this rapid growth in the future with the existing personnel, it became necessary to introduce a uniform and coordinated process and ERP environment across the group. The steel specialists selected IMG – the Consulting Services of the S&T Group as implementation partner. “A considerable advantage offered by IMG was their SAP expertise as well as their experience in our industry sector,” comments Stephan Habegger, Head of IT and Quality Management at the SPAETER Group.

Clear project targets

The new system had to be adapted according to the distinctive characteristics of the industry, ensure rapid integration of the newly acquired companies in the group and provide the SPAETER Group with a high degree of investment security. Further aims were increased process transparency, a uniform system allowing clear and straightforward controlling activities and improved planning, and also efficient recording of inter-company business i.e. the flows of goods, finances and information within the group and all its corporate locations. “Simple operation of the system was the main objective throughout the project, in which we made optimal use of our SAP experience as well as our industry expertise,” explains Georg Komornyik, COO BS S&T.

Combination of a standard product and tailored development

Together with the appropriate members of staff at SPAETER, the group’s core business processes were analyzed and described in detail. Based on these results one further defined in which areas the standard functionality of mySAP ERP already catered for the customer’s requirements and where customization and further development were required. For example, special supplementary programs (add-ons) were created for order processing and production planning, thereby simplifying the processes involved considerably. When speaking with customers, the staff can now, via a product configurator, directly enter special requests in the system such as dimensions, cuts with a specific angle or external spot-facing. In the outgoing goods cockpit, which was also developed by IMG, it is possible to plan delivery runs using a drag and drop approach. An additional cockpit allows planned incoming goods to be coordinated and prepared for in advance. With so called inter-company business, the numerous business transactions between the SPAETER group companies can now be handled automatically to a great extent, so that any kind of multiple recording of the same transaction is avoided and the whole process can run almost without the need for paper.

Successful use of S&T PROMET®

During the realization of this complex project, the S&T project methodology known as S&T PROMET® was applied, as complex projects require a systematic approach. PROMET® was developed in close cooperation with the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and has proved itself in practical environments over the last 15 years. Its individual modules are arranged clearly and consistently. All activities progress in accordance with predefined phases, with the results being recorded in specifically structured results documents (templates). This approach supports and facilitates effective and efficient project work and therefore leads to the more rapid development and realization of Business Solutions.
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