Roth Industries: Rapid and secure migration to SAP S/4HANA through lean conversion
Sectors: Manufacturing industry, Steel / Steel Service Center / Metal industry
Processes: Project Management, IT
References: Roth Industries
Roth Industries is setting the course for further standardization and digitalization of its business processes with a system conversion from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA. Supported by IT and consulting partner ORBIS and thanks to a lean conversion approach, the switch to the new ERP suite was completed on time and even under budget.
Sustainability and climate neutrality are effective levers for reducing CO2 emissions and counteracting climatechange. Innovative systems for regenerative energy generation, efficient energy storage and energy use play an important role in this context. These include, for example, high-performance, state-of-the-art heat pumps and heat storage systems, surface, heating and cooling systems that make optimum use of energy and operate highly economically, and solar thermal systems for heating water. A modern, optimally adjusted heat pump can drastically reduce heating costs and sustainably reduce CO2 emissions.
Business success rests on many pillars
One of the leading manufacturers of such energy and environmental systems is the family-run Roth Industries GmbH & Co. KG from Dautphetal in Hesse. The group of companies employs around 1,400 people at its 24 locations worldwide. In addition to energy and environmental systems, the company also develops, produces and sells sanitary systems such as shower enclosures and walls as well as shower trays and bathtubs. A second business unit, Industrial Solutions, manufactures machines for the production of plastic site products, hydraulic power units for machine and plant construction, and injection-molded plastic components.
The business success of the company, which has developed over time from a craftsman‘s business into an internationally active group, among other things through acquisitions, rests on several pillars. These include innovative strength, high-quality products, the competence and commitment of the employees, proven service.
SAP S/4HANA creates investment security
Efficient and transparent processes from sales and distribution to purchasing, intralogistics, production, finance and controlling are just as important for economic success. Roth Industries has been mapping these processes in ERP software from SAP for decades. Regular releases keep the central ERP system up to date at all times. In the meantime, the company has completed the switch to SAP S/4HANA through a technical system conversion (brownfield approach).
There were strong arguments in favor of tackling the conversion to the current ERP suite from SAP as early as possible: It provides investment security, as mainstream maintenance for SAP ERP, as of today, expires in 2027. Above all, the switch to SAP S/4HANA is an important prerequisite for further standardization and digitalization of business processes. At the same time, innovation projects can now be realized with the latest SAP technologies.
The conversion also offered the advantage of being able to convert all Roth companies, 18 company codes in nine countries, to SAP S/4HANA in one big bang and with only one downtime. At the same time, add-ons and individual adjustments and enhancements from SAP ERP could also be transferred.
Roth heat pumps, Source Photo: © Roth Industries GmbH & Co. KG
Focus on lean conversion of innovation projects
However, the focus was not on innovation projects, but on the rapid and secure changeover to the new ERP suite – keyword „lean conversion“. Roth Industries essentially tied the system conversion to three criteria. The first was to avoid the use of new SAP S/4HANA-functions, if possible. On the other hand, end users should continue to work in the SAP GUI instead of with the SAP Fiori apps for the time being, unless their use is absolutely necessary. This is the case, for example, with the assignment of statistical material numbers to materials, which is now done solely via SAP Fiori instead of via SAP GUI transaction. Another important criterion was to implement the SAP S/4HANA version 1909 with FPS02, which was current at the time, and also to put it into operation.
Thanks to the wide-ranging expertise of its internal IT staff in relation to the SAP modules, Roth Industries was able to implement many aspects of the system conversion on its own. In certain areas, however, the company needed the support and expertise of an external IT partner. Those responsible found this at ORBIS SE. The decisive factor in selecting the Saarbrücken-based IT service provider was the good experience gained from previous projects in the SAP environment. The ORBIS consultants also impressed with their experience and expertise when it came to system conversion to SAP S/4HANA.
Changeover on schedule and under budget
The first task was to choose the appropriate method for the changeover to the new ERP suite from SAP, greenfield (new implementation) or brownfield (system conversion). The decision was made in favor of a system conversion. Roth Industries had already carried out the necessary migration from an Oracle to the SAP HANA database in 2017 in preparation for the switch to SAP S/4HANA.
A major advantage of switching to the new ERP suite from SAP was the clearly structured and step-by-step approach. The roadmap for this had been drawn up by the project teams from Roth Industries and ORBIS on the basis of the findings from a joint preliminary analysis. This and the partnership-based cooperation between the internal IT department and the ORBIS consultants contributed significantly to the fact that the estimated time schedule for the system conversion was met and the agreed budget was even exceeded.
Step by step to SAP S/4HANA
During the migration to SAP S/4HANA, the test system was first migrated to the new ERP suite in a sandbox. As part of the migration of the test system, ORBIS and Roth Industries jointly carried out the comparison of individual adjustments against the „SAP S/4HANA Simplification List“ in this sandbox.
The complete work in the area of SAP basis was the responsibility of internal IT. In the three further phases of the conversion, from the creation of a second sandbox for functional testing to the conversion of the development and production system, the IT team at Roth Industries took over all the work and the entire project control. The ORBIS consultants were exclusively responsible for the conversion to SAP S/4HANA Finance during these phases.
Michael Benner, Head of IT at Roth Services GmbH, is satisfied with what has been achieved so far:
„As part of our digitalization strategy, we completed the switch to SAP S/4HANA quickly, securely and under budget with energetic support and advice from ORBIS and the Lean Conversion-approach.“
Michael Benner, Head of IT, Roth Services GmbH
But this is just the beginning. In the future, the company wants to tackle more innovation projects with the new ERP suite.