“Astrapak needed to standardize on one system across its diverse enterprise to pave the way for future expansion, which is planned to take place through continued organic and acquisitive growth as well as through the implementation of new and opportunistic business initiatives. .”
Astrapak manufactures and supplies a wide range of plastic packaging products. Listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Astrapak’s operations are grouped into three divisions: Films (seven business units), Rigids (nine business units) and Flexibles (seven business units). There are manufacturing facilities in all the main centers of South Africa and a joint venture operation in Mauritius. The products are supplied to the food, beverage, confectionary, agricultural, consumer, cosmetic, personal care, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, textile and industrial markets. Future expansion of the company is planned to take place through continued organic and acquisitive growth as well as through the implementation of new and opportunistic business initiatives.
Astrapak recognized that one system across its enterprise was necessary for future success. Of the 23 business units, three were already running SYSPRO. The other various solutions in place mainly focused on finance, sales, purchasing and distribution, with little attention being given to manufacturing.
Together with the aggressive growth being experienced by Astrapak, other challenges included the diverse nature of the three divisions, the geographic spread of the sites and Astrapak’s inexperience in rolling out an ERP solution.
It was decided to standardize on the SYSPRO solution, and to decentralize IT to the business units based on the highly entrepreneurial nature of each unit. The intention was to follow a single overall strategy, using standard SYSPRO functionality and the concept of strategically sourcing the additional suppliers required.
Key strategic suppliers were identified and contracted, including SYSPRO, SYSPRO’s implementation partners, Microsoft, an Internet Service Provider and a hardware supplier.
One of the advantages of adopting this approach was that the Astrapak management team was shielded from day-to-day implementation issues, as these were handled by SYSPRO and the implementation team. The management team was therefore able to concentrate on the core business.
As the various sites were implemented, each business unit acquired the necessary SYSPRO knowledge and took ownership of running the system. After implementation, the reliance on implementation partners gradually fell away.
With SYSPRO, Astrapak was able to fulfill a critical requirement: for each sales person to act as though he was running his own business. The intention was for the sales person to order the raw material, control it in the warehouse, schedule production and see that the product gets made. The finished goods item was then to be kept in the warehouse and distributed to the customer under the salesman’s control. Finally, the salesman was to be responsible for the debtors’ book of his customers and ensure the money was collected.
Using standard SYSPRO functionality and the SYSPRO Report Writer, a small development was undertaken to provide the sales people with the relevant reports.
The initiative described above has delivered tangible business value and made it easier for the divisional managing directors to manage each sales person and their customers.
New barcoding equipment which interfaces directly into SYSPRO has resulted in a more streamlined, robust solution. Management is now able to focus more on the business rather than being concerned with weaknesses in the ERP and shop floor systems.
The three business units which were already running SYSPRO have been upgraded to SYSPRO 6.0 and are able to leverage off the strategic sourcing relationships now in place. Due to the enhanced functionality in SYSPRO 6.0, third-party developments have been discontinued. This makes it easier for each site to manage their software vendors, as SYSPRO provides the bulk of the functionality required.
Thanks to Astrapak’s single overall strategy, standardization on SYSPRO and the concept of strategic sourcing, the company achieved a successful implementation result unique to each business unit.