Our client, a new-age FMCG company involved in manufacturing, trading, and marketing healthy, organic food products, faced a series of problems during their expansion. Since the business was a heavily digitized FMCG play, it grew at a breakneck pace, and requirements kept changing frequently. Standard SAP maps needed to be more comprehensive to capture the complexity of their business scenarios, and a distributed business and project team only made coordination much more difficult.
The team at Birlasoft decided to administer an iteration of SAP S/4 HANA that had evolved for the Indian market and was christened 'India best practices driven solution’. Despite the precise nature of the problem, our client achieved holistic process harmonization along with minimal disruption to their existing tech stack.

How a modern Indian FMCG company partnered with Birlasoft for SAP S/4HANA implementation to standardize its operations, streamline the information flow mechanisms, and expedite decision-making to move towards a new and improved business system with industry-specific process harmonization and near zero customization.

The Challenge
Convoluted Security Matrix
The client's existing security matrix needed to account for the company's growing scale. Incremental changes to the security matrix were made as knee-jerk reactions to evolving changes. Over time, this resulted in a highly complex security matrix that made it incredibly difficult for teams to organize themselves around emerging focus areas. A highly complex security matrix also meant that the lines between duties became increasingly blurred.
Limited Transaction Monitoring
The client's business was a sufficiently large national operation that saw frequent transaction volumes with high ticket sizes. However, since the business was new (~ six years old), and the growth was high in proportion to its age, the business was running lean. This meant a lower headcount and a relatively less mature business process that was optimized for speed and agility. While the business was not in dire need of a robust and transparent transaction monitoring process, the lack of it was a concern as the business was well on its way to expanding in the near future.
Inefficient Data Management
The client's ERP stack did not have a master data management system, let alone a data governance framework. In our current climate of rampant data breaches and cybercrimes, this was a gaping vulnerability that the client had to address. Because of their rigidity, Yesteryear systems couldn't accommodate the latest security protocols, thereby risking the company's operations and reputation.
Incoherent Solution Design
The client, while being an Indian Private limited company, was operating in conjunction with an American food company that specialized in natural foodstuffs and plant-based personal care products. To ensure that the company's operations in India were in sync with the American partner's global operational paradigm, the solution needed to conform to global standards while ensuring smooth operations within the highly disparate geographies of India.
The Solution
Process Harmonization
Since the company was running a modern FMCG operation (dubbed FMCG 2.0), the company needed to have standard business processes across different units and regions to reap the benefits of standardization. Birlasoft's decision to implement the India best practices-driven SAP S/4 Hana solution helped our client achieve a level of standardization and went further to drive a harmonious acceptance of all new processes among many different stakeholders. Our team managed to implement this despite the peculiar nature of these requirements, and the implementation went smoothly to the point of requiring minimal attention after going live.
Minimal Customization
The client's position in the market necessitated business systems and highly unique process flows, especially with the incumbents in the market. Running a highly digitized FMCG company that was made to be future-ready from day one meant that the company was expecting to implement many custom software requirements to stick to its original goal of being an FMCG 2.0 firm. Our team at Birlasoft managed to address these requirements by tweaking their business processes to fit their custom requirements while ensuring they were aligned with our SAP S/4 HANA India best practices solution suite. This alignment meant that it needed less overall maintenance and monitoring effort.
  • Standardize and efficient business operations across all functions
  • Better decision making and information flow
Business Challenges
  • New & Growing business with frequent changes in requirement
  • Complex business scenarios mapped in standard SAP without any enhancement
  • Business & project team located at two different locations in India
  • Complex Security Matrix with challenging SOD (Segregation of Duty)
  • Global solution design as per Hain Global standards
  • Limited CTM availability due to new business and less headcount
The Impact
Birlasoft's engagement with the client was a resounding success, as the transition process was quick and smooth and had no collateral damage upon its deployment. In the period that followed deployment, the 'hyper care' phase saw practically no issues from the customer's side, a testament to how effective the solution had turned out to be. The new and improved business system now enabled CTM (continuous transaction monitoring), which gave greater visibility of information and translated to better reporting to senior management.
Our team managed to untangle the complexities inherent in the company's security matrix, which allowed the team to have greater visibility into process priorities. This translated to more effective use of people's time and resolved the challenges that prevented the company from segregating duties with greater alacrity.
We discovered that the problems extended beyond a complex security matrix and were ultimately a matter of clunky UI that prevented smooth information flows. We solved this by making all the standard SAP Fiori apps available to users and architected a suite of business apps that were as easy to use as they were effective. This resulted in an immediate improvement in the speed with which decisions were taken and approvals were given.
Minimal Maintenance
Our solution was 'first time right' because it went live without causing any adjacent systems to collapse, nor did it require any significant maintenance work since it was deployed. Even during the much-vaunted 'hyper care' phase, there were no critical issues from the client's side. The smooth deployment was a testament to the robustness of the SAP S/4 HANA framework. Following SAP's best practices provided stability to the company because future updates would not interfere with core functionalities, thus mitigating the risk of jeopardizing the business's operational resilience.
Faster Decision Making
The client's earlier setup precluded a continuous transaction monitoring (CTM) system that was critical to protecting financial integrity. It also needed a proper reporting system that made it difficult for senior management to gauge the status quo at any point in time. Our implementation of the standard SAP Fiori apps proved to be instrumental in enabling faster decisions and approvals while also providing the organization with the framework needed to implement better visibility into transaction flows.
Role-based Control Mechanisms
Complex security matrices and challenges in duty delegation were wholly ironed out as the client now had complete visibility into the workings of the company and how teams were positioned with changing requirements. Our solution cleared all ambiguities relating to the company's operational needs, and the client could now implement role-based authorization and control, both of which were critical to allow the client to keep up with the pace of expansion.
  • Smooth Go-Live with zero business impact
  • No major issues in Hypercare
  • Greater visibility of the information for creating better reporting
  • Role-based authorization and control
  • Standard FIORI apps to help faster decision-making and approvals
  • Minimal maintenance activities post go-live
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