Success Story

Weber: SAP Rollout in China in five months

Products SAP: SAP S/4HANA & ERP
Sectors: Construction supplier industry, Automotive supplier industry
Processes: Rollout
References: Weber

Following the SAP rollout in the Chinese production company, the companies of the Weber Gruppe can now exchange business data across locations and IT-supported. Inter-company processes run quicker and safer, financial statements can be generated promptly. Regional regulations for reporting and billing using the “Golden Tax System” are complied with through the implementation of ORBIS solutions.

Ralf Brändlin, Deputy Head of the IT and Organization Department and responsible for SAP at the Weber Gruppe, is satisfied. Weber, a manufacturer of plastic components, modules and systems has recently successfully implemented the SAP ERP business software in its Chinese subsidiary. Including all process adaptations, the SAP rollout in China only took five months.

All subsidiaries under one ERP umbrella

With this step, the owner-managed family business, headquartered in Dillenburg, Hesse, has consolidated its data and information flows and combined all companies under the SAP ERP umbrella as a central IT platform. The Polish subsidiary wezitec was already linked to the ERP application in 2004. This allows the Weber Gruppe to exchange data company-wide via IT, and to uniformly perform business processes across locations “Due to our international presence, consistent, transparent and harmonized business processes are strategically important for our long-term economic success,” explains Ralf Brändlin.

Weber GmbH & Co. KG

Weber GmbH & Co. KG specializes on the development, manufacturing and processing of plastic products for the automotive industry, home and heating technology and medical technology. In the automotive field, the company supplies renowned car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche or Volkswagen. The product portfolio for premium cars ranges from kinematics solutions, cup holders, trays and ash tray inserts, door sills, engine covers to entire modules for infotainment systems. As a full-service-supplier, Weber guides its customers from the design to development, from own mold construction right to a product that is ready to go into production. In the field of home technology, the company manufactures, among other, noise insulating side panels for coffee machines. For heating technology, control housing for electronic boilers are produced. In the medical segment, wezimed manufacturers kinematic minimally invasive plastic instruments, which are use in soft tissue surgery.

Customer proximity as a competitive factor

As especially the automotive market is growing rapidly in China and many car brands manufacture here, “customer proximity is a competitive factor,” emphasizes Ralf Brändlin. This is why, in 2012, the plastic specialist Weber founded WEBER Plastics Technology & Mould Making Co. Ltd. headquartered in Suzhou and built a new, ultra-modern plant. Since the beginning of 2013, the first injection molded plastic parts are being produced, assembled and delivered at the Suzhou location. Furthermore, Weber uses the location as a purchasing center in Asia for injection mold tools and bought-in parts.

Source Photo: © Weber GmbH & Co. KG

Product Weber GmbH & Co. KG

Supporting growth in China with SAP

The Chinese subsidiary has ambitious goals: The aim is a revenue of EUR 15 million in the next five years. “In order to meet this target, we require efficient and transparent business procedures in China, in all areas and right from the start,” says Ralf Brändlin. This is why Weber performed the SAP rollout in conjunction with setting up the new production plant. The IT service provider ORBIS Consulting Shanghai significantly supported the project on site with its Chinese consultants. SAP functions were installed for materials management, production planning and controlling, for sales & marketing and dispatch as well as for financial accounting and controlling. The management in both China and Germany were kept up-to-date on the status of the implementation with regular project reporting.

Efficient cross-company processes

The positive impact of the integrated business processes already became clear shortly after the production startup at the beginning of August 2013. Inter- company processing and accounting runs smoothly and efficiently, as the order, purchasing, material and inventory information between China and Germany is exchanged safely and IT-supported in the SAP system. Because the SAP introduction in China was performed via a template, Weber also benefits from Best Practices, e.g. EDI supported order and shipping processes with OEM based on SAP delivery schedules. Also, in future, new processes are planned to be displayed in the SAP system for the Chinese company, for example the sales of injection molding tools for customers in the automotive industry.

KPI reporting automated for China

Financial and key figures for the Chinese subsidiary are also exclusively processed in SAP ERP, which has several benefits. The management on site can access this data at any time and thus targetedly steer the business development. The central Controlling in Dillenburg also has direct access to the financial figures of the subsidiary in China and is therefore able to generate consolidated monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements very quickly.

This is possible because the cost accounting in the SAP Controlling module (SAP CO) is performed in a controlling area to which China - as was previously Poland - has been allocated as a separate accounting area. Furthermore, the key figure reporting for the Chinese subsidiary can be automatically generated to a large extent by Controlling, and up-to-date figures on the economic situation in Sizhou can be promptly delivered to Management in Germany. The KPIs required for the reporting are extracted from SAP with the SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) from Microsoft and processed; the charts or monthly re- ports generated with these figures are made available to Management in a timely manner.

Source Photo: © Weber GmbH & Co. KG

Tachometer Weber GmbH & Co. KG

Conveniently generate accurate financial statem

In China, regional characteristics need to be taken into special account for financial statements. For this, Weber in Suzhou uses ORBIS FI Reporting Package. The SAP-based Add-On provides pre-configured reports for balance sheets, income and loss statements or cash flow as required by the financial authorities. “The Add-On allows us to conveniently generate the relevant reports with the required content in the correct format and to submit these to the responsible financial authorities,” says Ralf Brändlin.

China also has special regulations for the data exchange with financial authorities: The state-controlled “Golden-Tax-System” needs to be processed. Weber uses the ORBIS Golden Tax Interface (GTI) for this. The bi-directional interface simplifies the generation of Golden Tax compliant invoices, which is processed in the fiscal solution. The data sets from SAP ERP are converted into the data format required by the authorities and transferred to the fiscal system; in turn, data from the fiscal software are converted into an SAP compatible format and imported into the ERP software.

„This means that the consistency and standardization of operating procedures and the smooth exchange of information and data between all Weber companies are strategic factors for our long-term economic success. Thanks to the SAP rollout and the use of ORBIS solutions in China, we are able to steer our expansion extremely efficiently and targeted.“

Ralf Brändlin, Deputy Head of the IT and Organization and responsible for SAP at the Weber Gruppe

The chemistry is also right

The harmonious and target-oriented cooperation between the internal IT team and the ORBIS consultants played a crucial role for the quick installation and commissioning of the SAP template at the Chinese subsidiary. “From the beginning, the chemistry was just right” summarizes Ralf Brändlin. Although the SAP rollout was largely executed under the initiative of Weber, however the group was competently supported in all project phases and during Customizing and the adaptation of forms by ORBIS.

Additionally, the consultants at ORBIS Consulting in Shanghai provided SAP training to Weber’s seven key-users in China in the national language and even the training material was handed over in Chinese. This paid off: “Following the successful operational start of the SAP solution in Shanghai, we commissioned ORBIS with the ongoing support of the ERP application,” reports Ralf Brändlin.

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