Hershey stays the course with mySap.com upgrade

US food giant Hershey Foods has installed mySap.com in spite of experiencing major problems in 1999 during an ill-fated...

US food giant Hershey Foods has installed mySap.com in spite of experiencing major problems in 1999 during an ill-fated deployment of SAP's R/3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) package.

Hershey said mySap.com has allowed it to consolidate the processing of more than 95% of its revenue and business transactions within a single system. It said the new system is providing the company with greater consistency, visibility and real-time access to critical business information.

Hershey said the new ERP system offers real-time impact analysis for sales and marketing activities, allowing it to monitor stock levels more closely and so prevent stock levels falling to a critical level. The inability to shift stock though its distribution channel caused major problems in the company's problematic rollout of SAP in 1999.

Hershey said the upgrade has added several enhancements to core business processes. These include providing automatic materials management invoice verification, military distributor credit processing and pick-list processing.

In addition, it has installed SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) data warehouse tool to provide brand managers within the company with access to manufacturing data. Hershey hopes this will improve tracking, reporting, analysis and forecasting.

It also plans to install other SAP modules including mySap Human Resources at a future date.

Joe Zakutney, director of SAP Upgrade Program at Hershey Foods, said: "Our keys to success were strong Hershey programme management and executive leadership, diligent planning, and near-flawless execution."

Interestingly, Hershey stayed with SAP after the earlier troubles in 1999, when a $112m (£72m) ERP project caused order processing problems that hampered the company's ability to ship products to retailers at one of the busiest times in its business cycle. The problems caused the company to fall short of its third-quarter sales target by $100m (£65m).

When the company went live with the original SAP system in July 1999, Hershey faced major problems with transportation scheduling as demand for its products increased, forcing it to use third-party distributors running IT systems that could not be linked into the SAP system.

The company claimed the mySap implementation has acheieved a "near zero-defect production environment".

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