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Engineering firm Briggs of Burton maps global expansion with SAP’s Rise service

Briggs of Burton, an engineering firm that makes hygienic equipment for drinks, food and pharmaceutical companies, has chosen SAP’s Rise service to guide its global expansion, initially in China

Briggs of Burton, a process engineering company based in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, has become the first firm in the UK to sign up for SAP’s Rise service, which offers business transformation as a service, based on the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system S/4 Hana.

Rise is a subscription service, announced earlier this year. It bundles S/4 Hana and managed cloud infrastructure and services in one contract.

Nathan Beddoe, finance director at Briggs of Burton, said in a statement put out by the engineering firm’s SAP support partner, Sapphire Systems: “A true consulting partner and trusted adviser, Sapphire Systems helped us to review all of SAP’s platforms in granular detail, drawing upon the team’s extensive experience of SAP deployments, to ensure we opted for the best fit for our future business requirements.

“They paid close attention to understand all our specific needs and nuances, both those specific to our business and those of our parent company in China and worked closely with us to scope out the best, most efficient platform for digital transformation, and indeed the best methodology to support our journey.”

The company has a long history in the brewing and distilling industries, going back to 1732. Since 2016, it has been owned by CIMC-Enric, a company listed in Hong Kong. Beddoe said in an interview with Computer Weekly that the firm plans to open an office in Shanghai, and that its parent company is an SAP customer.

In the UK, it employs about 190 people, in Prestonpans, Scotland – through the acquisition of McMillan – as well as Derbyshire.

Briggs of Burton has an ambitious, mostly international, growth strategy, aimed at increasing its revenue to £100m by 2024, from about £16m in 2016.

“We are moving from being a UK-centric business to being global, especially in parts of Asia and South America, where the market is growing,” said Beddoe. “And that is a significant change, so this is a backbone to being able to do that.”

“We are moving from being a UK-centric business to being global”

Nathan Beddoe, Briggs of Burton

The company is the first in the UK to sign up for “Rise with SAP”, which is focused on the design, engineering and build of what it describes as “hygiene-led facilities for brewers, distilleries, pharma and biotech companies, and specialist food sectors”.

Customers include Diageo, AB InBev, GlaxoSmithKline, Princes Group and Glenfiddich.

Its previous system, MTMS, was installed in the early 1980s, and is a batch processing iteration of it. As a product, it is now owned by Infor, and many of the IT professionals who would have known it well are of retirement age. “We were told there are three people who understand its architecture globally,” said Beddoe.

“It’s no longer fit for purpose, and it is coming to end of life. That was the last nail in the coffin.

“We were also not looking to make a huge investment in hardware, so we were looking for a cloud-based system.

“For me, the critical thing was the implementation. We couldn’t have a 12, 16-month implementation. We needed a prescribed, prescriptive implementation. And the Ariba platform is useful for our business as we grow, in terms of access to a wider market for procurement.”

Briggs of Burton anticipates that the Rise service will deliver improved accuracy, visibility, insight and decision-making, as well as comprehensive reporting from which to shape planning.

Read more about ERP in manufacturing

The inclusion of access to SAP’s business-to-business marketplace Ariba Network in the project was attractive too, said Beddoe. “That opens up opportunities for us for procurement. It is a platform that we can see ourselves growing into.

“A lot of the things that we need to eke out the best margins for our business, in terms of how we bid for work, how we approach suppliers, and so on, is not available in our current system.”

Ian Caswell, CEO at Sapphire Systems, said in the press statement: “Briggs of Burton is a great example of a company embracing a true cloud mindset to future-proof its ERP and scale to support long-term growth.

“Having worked closely with Briggs’ team to review and analyse the respective capabilities of each SAP solution with Sapphire, the team opted for S/4 Hana Cloud on the basis of its breadth, depth and scale, and because it incorporates AI and machine learning.

“As a result of selecting Rise with SAP, and adopting S/4 Hana on a cloud model, we anticipate that Briggs will be live within just six months, allowing them to progress their transformational journey quickly, and pursue their growth plans underpinned by the very best platform for their business.” 

Michiel Verhoeven, managing director for UK and Ireland at SAP, said: “Rise with SAP is designed to help organisations that face challenges in migrating from on-premise legacy ERP through simplifying, focusing and supporting transformation to a truly intelligent enterprise.”

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