Hershey Seeks IT Sweet Spot

Chocolate king taps SAP solution to streamline business processes, help with brand-building effort

Hershey, PA  September 4, 2002  U.S. chocolate king Hershey Foods has completed an upgrade of its enterprise-wide information platform, moving to a new system based on German provider SAP's mySAP.com software.

The candy producer is counting on the new system to provide the company with the technology foundation to support its corporate business strategy of brand-building and creating a low-cost supply chain.

"By aligning our information technology initiatives with Hershey's overall business strategy, our information systems have become a catalyst for achieving the corporation's strategic objectives," said George Davis, vice president and chief information officer at Hershey Foods. "As Hershey shifts its focus toward core brand growth, its information systems are providing the necessary data to support the transformation of the organization and business processes. The successful upgrade to SAP R/3 4.6 was a critical element of our strategy."

The upgrade to mySAP.com at Hershey began in July 2001 and was completed in 11 months, 20 percent under budget and without disruptions to customers, according to SAP. Hershey managed and implemented the software, with program management assistance from consultancy Accenture.

The upgrade represents an ongoing commitment by Hershey to leverage business value from packaged application software, a strategy that began in 1997. With mySAP.com, Hershey has consolidated the processing of more than 95 percent of its revenue and business transactions within a single system.

Hershey is also using SAP's Business Warehouse (SAP BW) to facilitate its focus on brand-building. Information that previously was organized based on manufacturing data now is available to brand managers in SAP BW according to brand type, which SAP said allows for more effective tracking, reporting, analysis and forecasting.

Business process enhancements put in place following the system's go-live in May have included the automation of materials management invoice verification, military distributor credit processing and pick list processing, all resulting in reduced costs and faster processing times.

"Hershey is an excellent example of how a company can use strong technology and savvy business partners to transform operations and grow the business," said Jeff Hutchinson, an Accenture partner.

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