Deploying deep SAP skills to overcome potential showstoppers for an APO upgrade and migration project for a leading biscuit manufacturer



The client is one of the UK’s leading biscuit manufacturers, with several manufacturing sites across England, Scotland and Wales.

They had relied on standard SAP SCM 5.1 for their APO system for several years. However, once SAP withdrew their support for this older version of SCM, it was time to invest in an upgrade.

The brief was to upgrade the Development System of SCM 5.1, followed by the Quality and then Production systems. As part of the upgrade, the client wanted SCM to be migrated to Windows 2012, from 2008.

The client chose Pivot to do the work. Pivot had delivered a number of successful projects for them previously, and so they knew they would be in good hands.

The Solution

The first challenge was to overcome the problem that the client’s old version of SCM wouldn’t run correctly on Windows 2012. The conventional solution would have been to apply several years’ worth of support packages before migrating. This would have added to the amount of work on the project, as well as leaving the client without a fall-back system in the event that something went wrong with the new system – an unconscionable risk.

The Pivot consultant decided on an alternative solution that came from many years of experience and knowledge of SAP systems. He carried out the plan successfully, which saved both a significant amount of extra work and ensured the client would have their original APO system to fall back on, just in case, thereby reducing the risk of the project.

With the migration of SCM 5.1 to Windows 2012 successfully completed, a new problem presented itself. In order to carry out the upgrade, SCM 5.1 needed to connect to LiveCache. However, because LiveCache was running on Windows 2008, it was unable to connect properly. Again, it took the consultant’s expertise and past experience to effectively solve this problem and a difficult issue was overcome.

Immediately prior to go-live, during the latter stage of testing, an issue emerged which threatened to derail the whole project. Using data copied from the production system, the SNP optimiser was seriously underestimating demand compared with the existing system. This was referred to the Pivot supply chain team, who quickly identified a problem with the settings and applied the requisite patch. With the fixes applied and the issue resolved, the client decided to go ahead with the upgrade.

The system upgrade and migration were successful. Not only did the project come in on time, but it was also well under budget, in spite of the challenges encountered on the way. Once again the client has a system that is fully compliant with all SAP recommendations, and as such, is fully supported.

“The Pivot consultant was proactive in opening up our application support relationship with Pivot. We have placed two further pieces of work in consequence [of this project]… On time, on budget.”

Systems Development Manager

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