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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Today at SAPPHIRENOW I listened to a great overview of the Transportation Management implementation at United Sugar Corporation by Roger Parala, the Director of Business Systems at United Sugar.

United Sugar is a marketing co-operative owned by sugar producers and have Total annual sales of about $1.5 - $2.0 billion, which represents a Market share of 15% of total consumer sugar and Market share of 30% of total industrial sugar. In total The company manages about USD $300M freight spend and mostly ship via rail and truck with a small amount of multi-modal. 


Rodger explained that United sugar faced a number of challenges that drove the need for a new solution:

  • The system being used had been through a series of ownership changes  (McHugh, Red Prairie, JDA).
  • Rail functionality was no longer supported by the vendor
  • The solution had no proper track and trace functionality or freight payment capabilities, and United Sugar track $75M of in-transit inventory
  • System needed "bolt-on” functionality, thereby increasing the solution landscape
  • Human resource challenges (Lean Organization to support and use the system (manage 4000 rail carts with 3 people)

Evaluation process

Several criteria were identified as part of the evaluation of a next generation solution:

  • Ability to work and integrate well with ERP
  • Flexibility to configure high level of automation to be able to run the business
  • Flexible and automated carrier contract management
  • Integrated Track & Trace environment \Carrier communications via edi
  • Portal functionality for smaller partners

Why SAP Transportation Management on HANA?

Roger explained that SAP was selected for numerous reasons:

  • Very flexible integration with SAP ERP
  • Ability to optimize business processes based on operational data
  • Strategic outlook on solution landscape
  • Ability to gain valuable insights based on variety of data sources to "manage by exception"
  • Data warehousing on "Hana was a perfect solution to have analytics on the operational database".
  • Real time Operational intelligence was available by leveraging event management for real time visibility.
  • Decision support and automation is "better than anything out there on the market"

Lessons Learnt

Roger stressed a few key points:

  • Build SAP TM knowledge upfront
  • Identify the right partner for both Training & Implementation in Westernacher. This was a critical success factor in learning how TM works and how to leverage it best.
  • Understand and adjust the implementation steps as necessary to understand the system and deploy correctly for United Sugar.
  • Build the core team and identify the work stream leaders upfront

As Roger concluded "Sap Transportation Management was the best tool on the market. We have not found anything that we can't do.".

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