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Are You on the Road to S/4HANA?

That is the big question for most large SAP enterprises. Unless the strategy for SAP changes, the question then becomes about scope of complexity.

That is the 2025 question on the table for most large SAP enterprises. SAP promises end of support for current ECC systems in place for most customers, enterprise, medium or small. Unless the strategy for SAP changes, the question then becomes about scope of complexity. Will you decide upon brownfield, upgrading the current systems or greenfield which literally entails a brand new installation?


Depending on the business you are in, the complexity of any SAP project can increase exponentially. For example if you are in the manufacturing space, lets say folded carton and flexible packaging and depending on the number of products and the level of customizations available to your customers, you will likely end up with significant complexity.


And if you are like most ERP customers, you have been down this road in the past with your first project and are likely concerned about costs, scope creep, increased complexity, downtime, degraded service to customers and missed project deliverables.

The Challenge

If you are a manufacturing entity that quotes, builds and delivers products to external customers as is often the case with consumer packaging companies, there is going to be significant complexity involved. Imagine you are a folding carton or flexible packaging manufacturer with hundreds of products, each with multiple configurations available. If you add in multiple plants, you now have complexity at scale.

For packaging manufacturers considering the 2025 question, the question of complexity is truly valid as there are large number of inputs required to quote, manufacture and deliver the customized products their customers request. A few of those inputs are:

  1. Pricing Quantities – Pricing can change or be adjusted based on the quantities being ordered.
  2. Materials – The simple corrugated box can be made of multiple materials, and structurally can be different depending on the use case, which can affect pricing. All of these different material types and structural configurations need to be considered.
  3. Tooling – This would include cutting and stamping dies, color plates and other necessary tools needed to create your customized packaging order.
  4. Quote Valid Date – Raw material prices change daily at times. Your price today may be different than was it was previously. The ability to quickly re-quote a customer who is sitting on the fence is critical to your business success, adding yet another layer of complexity.
  5. Lead Time – this is the average amount of time the manufacturer needs in order to fulfill your customized order. This has to consider the available stock, machine availability and other parameters; and you guessed it, more complexity.

We could go on and on here, but the question now becomes this: How can we make it easier for manufactures of complex products to take advantage of the innovation opportunities that S/4HANA will offer them?

Meeting The Challenge

Most packaging manufacturers that have been using SAP for sometime now have been successfully meeting the custom and specific requirements of their customers by using complex customizations and workflow processes, often developed in-house or outsourced. Something as significant as an enterprise wide upgrade of their ERP system can be disruptive to the existing business. Its unfortunate, but some business disruption is unavoidable in order to enable innovation. The key is to minimize this disruption as much as possible.

S/4HANA offers you the opportunity to innovate and elevate at a pace not seen in recent years and we can accelerate your path to S/4HANA with minimal disruptions to your business. Our deep and wide experience in packaging makes us an eligible partner in your journey.

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