Success Story Blickle
The international SAP partner network United VARs has thus far completed some 250 projects worldwide. The German wheels and castors specialist Blickle is an example of how small and medium enterprises from different countries use United VARs to globally deploy and run SAP.
Whether it be on rubbish bins, in kitchens, in the medical sector or in-plant transport in the automobile industry, the list can be expanded at will and in this mobile day and age, Blickle wheels and castors can be found everywhere.
“Provide the perfect solution for every application – and do it on a global international scale.” Such is the ethos of this relatively small, yet highly successful and expansion-driven wheels and castors specialist. This is a classic example of one of those “hidden champions” that are relatively unknown to the general public, but are a global market leader in their industry. A wide range of different wheels and castors, including guide rollers, light-duty castors, synthetic castors and forklift wheels, as well as castors for transport equipment, stainless steel castors, heavy-duty castors and rollers for pallet trucks, are all part of Blickle’s standard programme of more than 30,000 wheels, swivel and fixed castors with a load capacity of from 20 kilos to 50 tonnes. Blickle wheels and castors are shipped to more than 100 countries through 14 corporate offices and subsidiaries, and a number of different partners and trading companies.
For the Blickle Group and its 700 employees, “Information Technology and the effective support it renders to all enterprise processes is a mission-critical factor. Without IT we would be unable to run the business the way we are running it now, namely globally and with a clear focus on the customer, short delivery times, lean processes, great depth of production, a keen sense of innovation, and those traditional Swabian virtues” is how Blickle’s chief executive officer Walter Wager describes the importance of using IT with SAP at its core.
The shift toward SAP was made nearly six years ago with the introduction of the SAP All-in-One solution known as All for Machine from SAP partner All for One Steeb at the company’s home base in Rosenfeld. This software replaced legacy ERP software, whose further development and support was discontinued by the software supplier more or less overnight. Blickle’s main focus at that time was also on utilising the SAP enterprise solution in their foreign branches and subsidiaries in the future, and thus gradually replacing Navision systems (now called Microsoft Dynamics NAV) outside Germany in particular with the All for Machine industry solution.
Needs-driven support or consulting on demand
Because Blickle was already in contact with All for One Steeb, there was no need to spend time and money looking for a suitable implementation and consulting company to run internationally. This relationship also meant having links throughout the United VARs global alliance. The first rollout of All for Machine in England in 2009 was made together with All for One Steeb (as was the later launch in Austria). In all the other rollouts to date (Belgium, Finland, the Czech Republic, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden) Blickle was supported by
local United VARs partners co-ordinated by the United VARs member All for One Steeb. Additional rollouts using United VARs are planned for Italy, Switzerland, France, Norway and Canada.
Over the years, this successful company has acquired considerable SAP expertise of its own. Blickle even has several in-house SAP consultants, who by and large work jointly with key users to implement any needed SAP change or optimisation requirements themselves, or together with All for One Steeb. They also do their own customisations. Naturally, Blickle’s own SAP experts are also fully engaged during international rollouts, where they work hand in hand with the local United VARs partners.
A template developed by Blickle’s IT department and based on All for Machine is used during rollouts and is supplemented by specific local enterprise processes when implemented in the respective country. The branches and subsidiaries are carried as separate legal entities within the central SAP system. The country-specific SAP system on the ground generally covers quotations and sales orders (SD), procurement and materials planning (MM) and assembly processing on a small scale (PP). These are joined by the FI and CO modules. Users abroad make direct access to the central Blickle system (HP server, MaxDB as database) over VPN channels. The number of SAP users at this leading wheels and castors specialist from Rosenfeld has grown from an initial 180 to 360 today.
Our partners for your international rollout
Twenty-one SAP partners are now active within the United VARs global alliance, representing a total of more than 4,500 employed consultants serving 8,000 SAP customers. SAP actively supports and promotes the activities of United VARs in many different ways. In 2012 alone there were more than 60 joint projects on the list of things to do for the United VARs LLP.
Industry: Series production, metal- and plastics processing
Products: Wheels and castors
Subsidiaries: 14 distributors
Solution: SAP Business All-in-One (All for Machine)
Time: 8 months
Opportunities: One central SAP system. Doubling of the documents volume. Increasing the number of direct deliveries
Highlights: Replacement of IT Focus and Navision. Scanner processes. Integrated document management system. SAP Business Warehouse. International rollouts in-house with United VARs support
- Investment protection
- Faster, better data preparation
- More transparency
- Support minimization