Complex release jump during operation

With a system update from SAP R/3 4.6C to SAP ERP 6.0, the SAP operating software at uhlsport was updated with a single blow. At the same time, Clientis also optimized the material master creation process. Due to Clientis’ comprehensive SAP expertise and distinctive experience in release changes, the complex hot swap was successful without any complications.

Overdue update of SAP

uhlsport wanted to update its operating software. The medium-sized manufacturer of sports items, which is based in Balingen in Baden Württemberg, had been using SAP 4.6C and AFS 3.0 since 2006. With a change to the current ERP 6.0 EHP6 release with AFS 6.06, the company now wanted to take on the necessary modernization measures. In early 2012, the upcoming release change was already in consideration but had initially failed due to internal resources and lack on an appropriate service that could be trusted with the great complexity of the project. As a result, two more years went by before uhlsport could finally turn to Clientis as the right partner for the long overdue transition.

 

Complex challenges

In an initial workshop in September 2014, uhlsport and Clientis analyzed the task at hand. The challenges were diverse. For the initial release at uhlsport (R/3 4.6C with AFS 3.0), there was no one-step upgrade to the desired ERP 6.0 EHP6 release with AFS 6.06 that was officially supported by SAP. Extensive preparatory work was therefore necessary in order to ensure a smooth transition. In addition, the partners also identified the optimization possibilities in the material master creation. uhlsport opted to use the Clientis material master wizard that enabled an effective way to the guided material master creation. In order to avoid unnecessary transitory adjustments, appropriate customizations were adjusted to the uhlsport material and simultaneously integrated within the course of the release change project.

 

Extensive preparatory work needed

After the first analysis of the main challenges, the project plan was drawn up in October 2014 and the primary go-live date set for May 3rd, 2015. In cooperation with uhlsport, Clientis, as the project manager, took over the harmonization and coordination of various solutions, the management of the associated service providers, and developed an integrative overall project plan to which all participants could orient themselves.

In the first step, the team analyzed all the relevant technical objects. Together with uhlsport’s IT department, Clientis checked the objects that were still needed and compiled a list of proposals in order to streamline the dataset. This enabled the team to significantly reduce the time required from the transition to the go-live.

Parallel to the technical preparations, comprehensive process analyses had to be carried out and a process outline created. Based on the Clientis methodology, the team comprising of key users and IT staff from uhlsport developed the necessary process and function lists where the integrative processes were first recorded and documented formally. These process descriptions were then used by the team as a basis to deduce the overviews of the relevant test scenarios. The basic preparation and the systematically conducted tests were a crucial requirement for the qualitative validation of the system change. In addition, uhlsport can also use the descriptions for future system expansions.

A third essential component of the project eventually involved the training of the departments and employees affected by the release. The changes that took the leap to the latest release were somewhat massive due to the extended period since the last upgrade. Clientis was also of valuable assistance to uhlsport during the training.

Successful release change without any complications

The release change was a complete success. On the weekend of the transition, product bookings could successfully be carried out in all the relevant process areas and up to the commissioning and dispatch preparation in the warehouse. uhlsport was thus able to continue its operations on the new SAP platform the following Monday without any delays.

Since May 4th, 2015, uhlsport productively works with SAP ERP 6.0 EHP6 and with AFS V606. The uhlsport B2B online shop was also updated to the new release and the material master wizard of Clientis was implemented. “The cooperation with Clientis was consistently professional, effective, and humane. For uhlsport, the overall result is far greater than the sum of services provided by Clientis,” Chris Remspecher, Project Manager of uhlsport GmbH, concludes.

"Finally! Consultants who do not just presume to comprehensively understand AFS but who have even exceeded our expectations. Our release change profited a lot from the project planning and consultation throughout the entire implementation process. The cooperation with our internal team and other teams also functioned so well that we are ready to jointly tackle other projects. In general, the entire project was productively implemented in time and in budget within just five months. And with a real added value for the whole IT and key users. Where else can one get that?"
Peter Kuhl Managing Director, uhlsport GmbH

uhlsport GmbH

The uhlsport GmbH is a medium-sized manufacturer of sport items and is based in Balingen, Baden-Württemberg. Since 2002, the company pursues a multi-brand strategy. The eponymous uhlsport brand focuses on soccer, on goalkeeper equipment in particular. Handball products have also been manufactured and sold through the in-house brand, Kempa, since 2002. uhlsport also holds the European distribution rights of Spalding, the American basketball brand.

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