The Organization: There's no doubt that Crompton Greaves is one of the most respected companies in the power sector, but not many know that it's one of the top ten electrical transformer manufacturers in the world. It got there by piggybacking on the success of a Belgium power transformer company--Pauwels Group--that it acquired in 2005.
Acquisitions are a vehicle for the company--which is headquartered in Mumbai and is a part of the Avantha Group--to gain a foothold in foreign shores. Which is why, its recent history is peppered with a series of global acquisitions including Ganz in Hungary, Microsol in Ireland, MSE Power Systems in the US, and ZIV in Spain, to name a few.
And thanks to this global spread, the company recently won a Rs 239 crore contract for the construction of a high voltage offshore substation in The Netherlands.
The Business Case: While its global reach was great news for business, the company's IT systems weren't too kicked.
With so many different acquisitions running different flavors of ERP, supply chain systems, CRM, and PLM, it was difficult for Crompton Greaves to manage disparate systems and operations. Especially in ERP. For instance, its Belgium firm had a process for cost reporting that was different from the one in India. "Because of this decentralized system, it took a lot of time for us to collect information," says J. Ramesh, global CIO, Crompton Greaves.
Another problem was the fact that it was getting increasingly difficult to give a single and complete picture of the company's performance to the board. This information had to be collated from different sources and if someone was not present at a particular site, the data couldn't be collected, resulting in the board not getting a full picture of the company's performance.
So the same work had to be done at various locations, thereby increasing the overall workload. "As we are a big company that makes the same type of products, it makes sense for us to put in a single system that will help us move to implementing a single process," says Ramesh. It would also help the company save precious costs.
The First Steps: Till 2010, there were two instances of SAP running in the company, one in India and one from the company's acquisition of Pauwels--which has offices in Belgium, the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and Indonesia. Additionally, there were other non-SAP ERP instances running in some of the other acquired companies. Ramesh had to move units from the non-SAP ERP systems to SAP, and upgrade the existing SAP instances across geographies.
Then Ramesh decided to first upgrade and migrate both the hardware and software. This included new server hardware, databases, and upgrading SAP itself.
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