KARACHI, 1 SEPTEMBER 2008 - Anyone who thinks that the processes involved in the purchasing, production and distribution of products within just one company in the food sector are not complex enough, needs to look again.
As the local palette migrated overseas in search of faster, better and more, the opportunity for the export of products also grew exponentially. The logistical challenges involved in managing the production and distribution for both the local as well as the export market, make this a story ripe for the kind of challenge technology platforms have the potential and ability to address.
Most companies in the industry still depend on manual processes or isolated applications for managing each department within their company. This really isn't a shocking revelation considering that most companies are also run as seth-oriented businesses that are in some cases, still lean on investment and mean on the bottom line. "In 2001), National Foods implemented iScala, an ERP solution that offered us a way to keep track of some of our processes. Obviously back in 2001, the technology was still evolving and it was a learning processes for the company to have an ERP to help manage the way the business was run back then" comments Muhammad Danish Nafay, assistant manager SBS (Systems and Business Support)
As a company grows, explains Danish, the needs change, the variables involved such as the number of users and the number of sites, also grow. "Software then becomes limiting in its operations and there is only so much that we can tweak it to suit our needs. There comes a time in a company's lifecycle, where you simply have to make the decision to move onto a larger platform completely afresh." However, National Foods used iScala for their reporting needs. They built their own reporting applications, the data was input through iScala and custom-built reports would get generated using their own application)
With the growth of a company, its requirement also grow, which results in evident limitations of a software such as frequent tax implementation, changes in prices and environment, policies. "We needed to make the technology shift and began looking at SAP through our consultants." The company followed the methodology of ASAP or Accelerated SAP, which makes the 6 months implementation an impressive record for the company, in addition to making them the first in the food sector to deploy SAP.
"This is a medium-sized implementation for SAP in terms of our size however a relatively large deployment in the context of Pakistan." But the more obvious question to ask the company is why they opted for an ERP solution back in 2001. The implementation of technology is always executed with a keen eye on increasing profits, which usually means that there is a lot of competition in the sector. What was the situation like that early on?
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.