CNME Editor Mark Forker managed to secure an exclusive interview with Syed Ehtisham, IT Director at Falcon Pack, to find out more about ‘Falcon Wings’, which is the name of its digital transformation project that the company embarked upon using SAP technologies with its implementation partner Seidor MENA.
Falcon Pack has been in the manufacturing industry in the region for the last 30 years, and despite starting out on a small scale, the company has grown exponentially.
However, as Ehtisham points out the nature of the fast-moving digital economy has forced industries to change, and the manufacturing sector was not immune to transformation and had to integrate new technologies to maintain operational efficiency.
“There has been a rapid change in the global dynamics within the manufacturing sector, so it was critical that we embraced new technologies to adapt and respond to these changes. We had initially been using Sage ERP, but due to the speed at which technologies have advanced the application was no longer fulfilling our market and operational requirements. Our expectation was to have an integrated supply chain solution that provides us with robust reporting when it came to our financials and good customer experience which is so important in the new experience economy that we now find ourselves in”, said Ehtisham.
Ehtisham is an experienced IT professional that has enjoyed a stellar and successful career, but he revealed in a candid discussion that he was cautious about going with a third-party application due to the sheer size and scale of the transformation project at hand.
“I was looking for a product that could cater to all our requirements, but I was cautious against going with a third-party application, because sometimes there can be issues with third-party applications that can be difficult to resolve, so essentially, I was looking for a one-stop destination that could meet our needs. SAP were my ideal choice initially, but we still invited other companies to pitch to us and that allowed us to do a product comparison”, said Ehtisham.
Ehtisham disclosed that Falcon Pack were not going to rush into the digital transformation project without having all their bases covered and this was evidenced by their decision to hire a consultant to work with them for 1 year. The consultant then compiled a comprehensive business case document, and once this was established then they reached out to software vendors.
“Once the business document was formulated, we proceeded to engage with the software vendors, and we selected SAP. However, traditionally what happens is SAP will come and sell the product and leave, but we wanted to avoid this, so what we did was choose Seidor MENA to work with us. We met with them, and we discussed the project in forensic detail with the process leads and that how the project was initiated”, said Ehtisham.
Ehtisham also highlighted how the consultants, and the experts from SAP and Seidor all advocated for Falcon Pack to retain their foundation system when embarking upon their digital transformation journey.
“We were looking for manufacturing interface intelligence and manufacturing execution services, which is essentially a one-stop destination for automation. Interestingly, when we had the initial discussion with SAP and Seidor MENA, and prior to that with our consultants, they all advised us to stay with our foundation system, which is SAP S/4HANA. We took their advice because quite simply it made sense to us. Following these meetings and consultations, we submitted all our requirements and put them into two categories, which were ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’,” said Ehtisham.
One of the primary goals of Falcon Wings implementation according to Ehtisham was to make the business processes more efficient and integrated.
“The existing processes were mapped, and business process models were finalised to aid in finalising the requirements. Individual use cases were identified by the process owners after the business process mapping to avoid recreating the same issues in the new system. The process models also helped in ensuring that all the necessary requirements for each department were covered with the proposed solutions. The business process mapping also helped in identifying the processes that needed to be modified to align with SAP best practices”, said Ehtisham.
The dynamic IT Director at Falcon Pack also explained how from the initial stages of the project, that stakeholder buy in was considered essential to the timely completion and success of the project.
“To achieve the goals of the project, it was essential for the project members and all stakeholders to understand it scope and their role in the project. To achieve this, project charter was prepared and shared with all stakeholders at the beginning of the project. The project charter detailed the entire scope of the implementation project and detailed the responsibilities of resources who will pay a key role in the success of the project including FP Project Manager, Steering Committee, Seidor Project Manager, and Technical and Functional Consultants. This helped aligning the resources towards a common objective, provided clarity on the roles and responsibilities, and facilitated onboarding the resources for the project”, said Ehtisham.
In terms of the roadmap, Ehtisham explained that they are on stage 2 of the project, and it is expected to be completed in 2025.
“The plan is to complete phase 2 in Q1 of 2022, but we have plans for subsequent phases for the digital transformation until 2025, as in, there is a well defined roadmap and a strategy for the digital transformation until 2025,” said Ehtisham.