From major corporations to SMEs, companies looking to remain competitive need to advance their own internationalization. Standardized company processes across borders are essential. To get there, businesses need to standardize their processes in a system and manage all aspects of its roll-out.
Increasingly, globalization is forcing major corporations as well as German small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to expand abroad by setting up sales offices and production sites in foreign countries. Entering into new markets and regions allows them to explore new fields of business, thereby safeguarding their competitiveness.
Many SMEs have already come to this realization. By 2020, the number of companies active only in their domestic market will be half of what it is today, according to Oxford Economics. The number of companies active in at least six countries will more than double over the same period of time. To make expansion a success, the use of technologies such as ERP software is a priority for more than one out of every two companies.
Harmonizing processes across borders
Internationally operating companies – from pharmaceutical giants to SMEs in the manufacturing sector – face the challenge of harmonizing processes across borders, which allows them to cut costs while also making it easier to maintain systems. The first step is always to analyze the location-specific needs and the various international markets, regardless of whether companies are looking to standardize processes in sales, purchasing or enterprise resource planning. Despite all efforts to standardize processes, taking into account the legal differences between the countries in question is also of the essence when implementing new ERP software, such as SAP.
Taking different needs into account during international roll-outs
The requirements determined by analysis can be used in a second step to develop an SAP-based template that creates a foundation for the roll-out of a largely standardized SAP system for all sites, is valid for all countries and acts as a global template.
The third step – the international roll-out of the new systems at the various sites – is the most significant milestone. Depending on the size and complexity of the company, this step can take many years, during which the SAP system is subject to constant improvement. During the roll-out, it is particularly important to take the various time zones and cultural differences in working methods into account. Particular tax regulations and country-specific product fields are integrated into the template as part of this step.
Lufthansa Industry Solutions supports all industries in managing each aspect of the roll-out and provides everything from a single source, from analysis of the company-specific requirements to the creation of templates and support during the international roll-out. Our IT consultants and developers also support companies during the subsequent system stabilization phase and make adjustments to the new solution that may result from changes in legal guidelines.