Abaco Consulting & Raporal Case Study, Published in Business IT [Portuguese Magazine], January 2021, pages 28 and 29.
The company in the agribusiness sector has several business units, ranging from agriculture to the sale of meat. To be in all these areas, export its products and remain competitive, Raporal needed an integrated management system. The choice was the ERP SAP S/4 HANA.
Founded in 1971, Raporal S.A. was born because eighteen pig farmers believed they could do more and better for the sector, especially in terms of the production of feed for their animals. Over the years, the company has “diversified its business areas, from agriculture, animal production, slaughter and meat processing”, to the opening of several Loja da Carne, which allow the company “to have real contact with the consumer ”, explains Cristina de Sousa, chairman of the board of directors of Raporal. The official explains that the company is, today, “global” and that “investment in exports has been the main objective of the last years, achieved through investments in infrastructures, improvements in operational processes and management systems”. Regarding the digital transformation process, the official points out that «Raporal has always been concerned with following technological developments» and that the international presence «obliges to create competitive factors that imply the use of an information system that is transversal to the entire company». This “need to have an integrated system that increases the quality of data and processes, to improve operational efficiency and the rigor of management control, in accordance with the requirements of traceability and food safety” were the requirements that led Raporal to choose an ERP, says the chairman of the board of directors. The option fell on SAP S/4 HANA, which was implemented with the help of Abaco Consulting. João Moreira, CEO of the consulting firm specialized in SAP, reveals that the ERP «encompasses the aspects of logistics (in all components from purchase to sale, through production and quality), accounting, financial and human resources». The official also says that, in this project, «fruit of the sector in which it is inserted, there was a need to activate an Industry Specific SAP solution, Catch Wheight Management (CWM), which allows the management of materials at variable weight, maintaining two independent units throughout the supply chain ‘.
Complexity of Requirements
According to João Moreira, the requirements intended by Raporal made «the SAP implementation very demanding, since it is broadly comprehensive, since under the same TIN, there are different business areas, such as a feed factory, about four dozen agricultural holdings and also a unit with slaughter, cutting and transformation ». On the other hand, it was necessary «to implement the best practices, guaranteeing the necessary flexibility for a continuous improvement of the processes and constant adaptation to the needs of the market, without ever compromising the primary objective that is, to guarantee total traceability throughout the various units and operations carried out », he says. The «experience and knowledge of the sector», were «decisive when interpreting the requirements» to «speak the same language as Raporal» and present the most appropriate solution », reveals the CEO of Ábaco Consulting. Cristina de Sousa stresses that all the conditions imposed are related to “the requirement of international markets”, which is based “on the efficiency of processes, making focused management and immediate action fundamental”.
Implementation and challenges experienced
The Raporal official explains that the project took place over the “four years”, part of which was developed in the middle of a pandemic, adds João Moreira, with the Ábaco team in a “100% remote” regime. This demonstrated that “with the involvement and resilience of the stakeholders, objectives can be achieved”, he adds. At the top of the concerns was “the need to mobilize and make the availability of the Raporal team compatible with the project activities” in conjunction with the “day to day activities”. The implementation relied on a phased approach that started in the area of «human and financial resources», followed by the «business areas, feed, livestock and STEC unit», the business unit responsible for the slaughter and transformation of products. “At the moment, all processes are in place, but there is still a consolidation phase”, says the CEO. On the part of the company in the agribusiness sector, «about a hundred professionals» from various areas were involved to ensure that everything was working correctly; Ábaco Consulting dedicated a team of six to eight consultants to the project.
Benefits of the new ERP
Regarding the adoption of the new SAP S 4HANA, Cristina de Sousa explains how the company is different: “With the SAP system we changed the management paradigm and reached a new level of control and analysis of our processes. This implementation represents a technological evolution that allows us to apply the best marketing, management, control and security practices for the future ». According to Abaco, “management optimization, standardization and control of the company’s industrial processes, as well as the simplification and efficiency of the entire traceability process” were other benefits. On the other hand, there is also a “greater capacity to carry out management control in a consolidated manner”. In addition, Raporal «is now able to respond effectively to the demands imposed by the certifying entities, achieving efficiency gains and preparing for growth in new markets, namely, in the international market», concluded the head of the agrifood company.