Integrata plays an important role in EPOS at ElectronicPartner
Two green letters followed by a colon – this well-known EP: logo stands for ElectronicPartner. One of the largest European commercial enterprises for consumer electronics, information technology and telecommunication lies behind the logo. The ElectronicPartner buying group consists of over 5,000 small and medium-sized companies throughout Europe which are active in the strategic business segments EP: specialist retail, the specialist stores MEDIMAX and the comTeam value-added resellers. In 2010, the central turnover, the purchasing volume of the members including warehousing and agency business, amounted to roughly €2.3 billion of which the German market accounted for €1.65 billion.
The buying group with headquarters in Düsseldorf offers 200,000 customers “custom-tailored service, competent advice and high-quality products “every day, according to its own statement. In order to meet these requirements and thus to bolster and extend the position among the top commercial enterprises in Europe in the field of consumer electronics through further growth, ElectronicPartner focuses on excellent internal processes and qualification.
Implementation and qualification
One of the successful examples for this strategy is the project “EPOS” for the optimisation of the enterprise resource planning processes. Selected locations in Germany (Düsseldorf, Genshagen, Augsburg), Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and in Switzerland were to be equipped with the new ERP software SAP ERP (ECC 6.0) Retail. It was very important for those responsible at ElectronicPartner to professionally plan the entire project with the necessary lead time and to implement the rollout at its best. Apart from the technical implementation which was supported by the consulting company Comsol, the focus was placed on qualifying the employees for preparation and application for the introduction of SAP ERP (ECC 6.0) Retail. In order to prepare all future users perfectly for the new tasks, it was very important to the project managers to generate and impart training content which is placed on methodical and didactical aspects. Integrata AG was commissioned with this demanding task. The full service provider for training services convinced at the tender stage, not least, due to its problem-solving skills and many years of expertise with SAP training projects. ElectronicPartner had already defined various roles which became active in the course of the project: head coach, authors, coaches and translators. Resources of EletronicPartner as well as Comsol and an experienced team of coaches of Integrata were deployed in which Prof. Dr. Knut Hildebrand took charge of the project leadership and the responsibility as head coach.
The project EPOS
The overall project was launched about two years before the actual go-live of SAP ERP (ECC 6.0) Retail at ElectronicPartner. Seven months before the planned rollout, Integrata AG took over all necessary tasks within the sub-project qualification. It included concept and planning, preparation of the seminar guideline and the initial training of the coaches into the processes and into the customer’s system. However, there were also peculiarities which the Integrata team had to face. Before the project was launched, ElectronicPartner had already decided in favour of datango’s solutions to record documents and to document the project. So the authors and coaches first had to familiarise themselves with the documentation tool. In addition, due to the international dimension of the project, all training material, presentations, exercises and solutions had to be translated into Italian and Dutch. Furthermore, there were a large number of self-developments within the integration of the SAP ERP (ECC 6.0) Retail solution. The components which were especially developed for the purposes of ElectronicPartner meant a significant deviation of the standard. The fact that Prof. Hildebrand and his colleagues were involved in all activities and planning processes at an early stage proved to be one of the success factors for the project. That is how they were able to take into consideration and smoothly implement the customer-specific conditions for the conceptual design of the training content, for the development of material in datango and for the actual seminars.
Prof. Hildebrand states another success factor: “ElectronicPartner provided the team of coaches with their own rooms in the proximity of the business unit. This spatial proximity significantly facilitated the communication between all participants and within the team. It speaks for itself that the well-structured overall project management and the good planning on the part of the customer made this possible. Regular meetings for the exchange of information and also agreements at short notice were facilitated and proved to be very helpful for such an ambitious international project.”
The target group consisted of altogether 600 employees, 450 of them in Germany and 150 in the other five countries in which the implementation of the new SAP software (modules SD, MM and WM) was intended for. Differences were made between various fields and specific range of topics which were defined for the training project as follows:
• Competence centre: customising in the modules SD, MM, WM
• Test team and developers: diverse SAP ABAP topics
• Business units, key users: reporting in SAP BW and SAP ERP
• End users: training in the modules SD, MM and WM
A pilot project was launched in Austria in May to conduct a reliable test for the rollout planned in August. The training courses for the local employees already started in the second week of April. On the basis of the results of this practical test, it was obvious that the schedule for EPOS could be met. In June and July, the training courses for the entire target group were conducted by the Integrata team which by then consisted of 13 coaches. Emphasis was placed on a combination of face-to-face seminars with web-based training courses to impart the necessary know-how to all 600 employees till the go-live in August.
Life after EPOS
Due to the very positive evaluation, both on the part of the participants and the project managers at ElectronicPartner, Integrata received a follow-up order. After the rollout, a team of three coaches was available for a so-called “after go-live support” till the end of the year. Thus, the users in the various business units always had a contact person on-site if they had questions to the new SAP system. This way the transfer of knowledge from the training courses through to the use in the field was sustainably ensured. The emphasis of the rollout in August was put on the modules SD, MM and WM. A different product was deployed for the modules FI and CO for the time being. However, at ElectronicPartner it was obvious that the rollout of these two modules were to follow. Integrata was commissioned with the training courses in order to optimally prepare the competence centre team for this. These 41-day courses to SAP FI and CO comprised altogether 11 topics and were conducted in Integrata’s training centre in Düsseldorf.
ElectronicPartner can look back on a project which became a success owing to all participants. Thanks to excellent preparation and project structuring as well as the early integration of external resources, EPOS was implemented in time. With the new enterprise resource planning system, ElectronicPartner has set an important internal stage for asserting itself against European competition and for strengthening its position under the industry’s top five commercial companies. Once more it became apparent to Integrata AG how important the full service portfolio all about training is. As a result, all the customer’s requirements were able to be implemented from a single source. In addition, all roles were able to be assigned to experienced and qualified coaches and various forms of communication could be provided in order to optimally prepare ElecronicPartner’s employees for the new application, who were affected by the system changeover.
Facts & figures to the project:
Training of employees for preparation and application for the introduction of SAP ERP (ECC 6.0) Retail
- Competence centre: customising in den modules SD, MM, WM, FI and CO
- Test team and developers: diverse SAP ABAP topics
- Business units, key users: reporting in SAP BW and SAP ERP
- End users: training in the modules SD, MM and WM
- Competence centre: 41-day training courses to the topic FI and CO
- User training courses in den modules SD, MM and WM
Design and development of training courses, preparation of training documents, conduct of training courses, support of the business units
Competence centre, test team, developers, key users and end users
(approx. 600 employees from 6 countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland)
Size of the project:
600 employees, 10 months, 13 coaches