To boost operational efficiency, CertainTeed set out to replace a patchwork of disparate business systems—targeting improvements in procurement, shop-floor operations and inventory control.
CertainTeed is on a multi-year journey with IBM to standardize on SAP, obtaining a joined-up view of its business and gaining deep insight to drive improvements in purchasing, manufacturing and more.
Boostsoperational efficiency by enabling optimization of shop-floor operations
Reducesthe need for expensive unplanned downtime and repairs, cutting maintenance costs
Cutscosts by ensuring the use of designated suppliers and negotiated discounts
Business challenge story
Aiming highTo sharpen its competitive edge, building products specialist CertainTeed aimed to boost the efficiency of its operations.
Examining its business, the company identified a key area for improvement. In the past, its five divisions relied on separate enterprise applications. Since information had to be consolidated manually, it was difficult to gain an overview of the entire company. With limited insight, it was hard to see opportunities to achieve economies of scale, and to improve operational practices across procurement, manufacturing and more.
To hike efficiency and cut costs on a large scale, the company needed to standardize on a single technology platform.
Fixing the roof while the sun is shining
Several divisions across CertainTeed already relied on SAP solutions to manage general business, finances and manufacturing. To enable a joined-up view of its sprawling organization, the company engaged IBM® Services to standardize on SAP® ERP as a common business platform across all divisions. Furthermore, the initiative also aimed to enable CertainTeed to align itself more closely with its parent company, Saint-Gobain, which also relies on SAP ERP solutions.
Keith Campbell, SAP Project Manager at CertainTeed, begins: “We partnered with another vendor on the first wave of our SAP ERP rollout. We completed the phase successfully, but in the RFP process for Wave 2, the partner did not meet our needs and expectations. IBM listened to our needs and expectations and developed an appropriate plan to address the challenges of the Wave 2 and future deployments.
“For Wave 2, we switched to IBM, and the implementation has been managed exactly as we requested. The IBM project manager has been exceptionally good—not just in terms of his project management skills, but also because of his broad SAP skill base. He has brought in experts from other parts of IBM to advise on specific areas of the implementation, which has been tremendously helpful. We are extremely happy with the service we have received from IBM on the project, and we are continuing to collaborate with the IBM team as we embark on the remaining stages of the roll-out.”
Laying the foundations of business transformationIn the past, with different CertainTeed businesses relying on disparate technology platforms, it was difficult to obtain a joined-up view of the entire enterprise. If decision-makers needed more detailed information than the high-level reports generated by the finance team could provide, they had to manually collate information from the various business systems—a time-consuming and error-prone process.
The global implementation of SAP ERP will banish those difficulties to the past. First, the company decided to enhance supplier management.
“Saint-Gobain negotiates bulk-buy discounts with approved suppliers for CertainTeed and other Saint-Gobain subsidiaries,” explains Keith Campbell. “In the past, it was difficult to ensure compliance and implementation of these purchasing programs, because we lacked a joined-up view of procurement across all divisions.
“With SAP Materials Management, we are standardizing purchasing processes and the part numbers for spare parts across all business divisions. As a result, we can ensure that any pre-agreed discounts are applied, and also consolidate on the best suppliers, so we achieve economies of scale.
“What’s more, we can optimize our inventory of spare parts, so that we always have the components needed to fix common problems in stock. That will help us reduce the risk of unforeseen problems on the manufacturing line causing delays in production.”
Having a common business platform in place will also provide a foundation for CertainTeed to improve the customer experience—for example, by launching a unified customer portal.
In parallel, CertainTeed worked with IBM on deployments of SAP Warehouse Management, including Radio Frequency scanners using bar codes, at its Siding plants. The implementation of SAP Warehouse Management provides further opportunities to improve the accuracy and efficiency of warehouse operations.
Additionally, IBM helped CertainTeed deploy SAP Plant Maintenance in seven plants across its Siding business. Now, rather than waiting until a piece of equipment breaks down, the company can begin to switch to preventative and predictive maintenance—reducing the need for expensive unplanned repairs. SAP Plant Maintenance will provide a common plant maintenance platform for all of CertainTeed’s manufacturing facilities.
Furthermore, CertainTeed asked IBM to upgrade its Siding shop-floor systems to the latest version of SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence, which provides rapid, actionable insight into the manufacturing line across multiple production plants. The IBM team tightly integrated the updated SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence solution with core SAP ERP applications, connecting shop-floor and manufacturing operations to plant maintenance, logistics and general business management. For example, operating and breakdown information and maintenance requests flow directly from the operator on the line using SAP Manufacturing and Intelligence to the SAP ERP Maintenance Module optimizing manufacturing and maintenance operations. As a result, CertainTeed’s Siding division is improving uptime and reducing repair time, optimizing equipment utilization, and cutting costs.
“Although the SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence upgrade was highly complex, the IBM team pulled it off quickly and seamlessly,” recalls Keith Campbell. “We were very impressed with the quality of service we received from IBM, and their expertise in SAP technology.”
SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence also offers detailed insight into manufacturing operations, enabling CertainTeed to compare performance of different plants, studying costs and output. This will allow the company to identify areas where particular factories excel, pinpoint areas for improvement, and establish best practices.
Keith Campbell concludes: “With help from IBM and SAP, we are transforming our business—bringing operational efficiency to new highs. We are already seeing the returns on our collaboration with IBM and SAP, and we stand to reap the benefits for years to come.”
About CertainTeed Corporation
Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, CertainTeed has grown to become North America’s leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fence, decking, railing, trim, insulation, gypsum and ceilings. A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest and oldest building products companies, CertainTeed and its affiliates employ more than 5,700 people and operate more than 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada.
- IBM Global Business Services
- GBS AD&I - EA - SAP
- IBM-SAP Alliance
- GBS BCS EA - SAP