Accenture to oversee SAP roll-out of US chocolatier Hershey's

16 March 2018

Famous US chocolate maker Hershey’s has signed Accenture up to support its SAP Hana S/4 implementation. The firm will work to help Hershey’s roll out the in memory ERP system, as the foods group looks to boost its growth, while reducing operational costs.

According to a recent report by Gartner, as many as 30% of service centric companies will move the majority of their ERP apps to the cloud by 2018. As a result, consulting services aimed at helping professional services providers leverage new ERP solutions from companies such as SAP are in demand.

Another aspect of the growth in SAP consulting is the continuing roll out of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) giant’s S/4Hana system – which is also available on cloud, alongside more traditional on-premises and hybrid deployment models. Billed as SAP’s "most important release in 23 years" when it was announced, S/4Hana was intended to be easier to use and administer while helping to solve more complex problems and handle vastly larger amounts of data than its predecessors.

The Hershey Company

Chocolate manufacturer The Hershey Company has become the latest in a list of global firms looking to leverage S/4Hana to this end. Hershey’s – the company behind such well-known products as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses – is a long-term SAP user, with its first implementation of SAP’s R/3 ERP package, in 1999.

Accenture to oversee SAP roll-out of US chocolatier Hershey's

It retained SAP despite initial troubles, when the £72 million 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 £65 million. 

Three years later and after consolidating the processing of more than 95% of its revenue and business transactions within a single system and increasing consistency, visibility and real-time access to critical business information, it upgraded Now, the company wants to reduce its costs and increase sales via the implementation of the in-memory version of SAP’s Business Suite ERP platform technology.

In order to achieve its goals, the confectionary conglomerate contracted outsourcing giant Accenture. The firm, which was also recently enlisted by the Canadian Government for its technological expertise, will aid the roll out of the ERP system, as part of a programme to make manufacturing and supply more efficient and better understand what customers want.

Speaking on the hiring of Accenture, Terry O’Day, Chief Product Supply and Technology Officer at Hershey’s, said, “This will enable us to increase competitive advantage and support our growth ambition through greater collaboration and innovation, as well as service delivery built around the needs of our customers. We selected Accenture for its understanding of our industry, technology credentials and proven track record in delivering enterprise transformation at scale.”

Related: Accenture helps Bharti Retail with SAP implementation.


How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.