TM International Logistics knew enhanced analytics from SAP S/4HANA and the agility of the cloud would be key to real-time services, and decided to take the first step on its transformation journey.
TM International Logistics worked with experts from IBM Services (Global Business Services®) to move from SAP ERP on-premises to SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure.
Fasterfinancial reporting improves employee productivity
AcceleratedSAP S/4HANA deployment cuts time-to-value
24/7 uptimefor SAP S/4HANA solutions thanks to a high-availability cloud configuration
Business challenge story
Ready to innovate
TM International Logistics Limited offers a comprehensive range of logistics solutions to clients around the world. As supply chain management methods such as drop shipments increase in popularity, appetites for insight are also rising sharply.
Abhishek Verma, Chief of IT at TM International Logistics, explains: “In recent years, we’ve seen significant growth in demand for logistics solutions that show where consignments are in our global network in real time. Equally, clients don’t want to hunt around or call us to get this information: they want the ability to access it online, 24/7.”
Identifying the requirements
Like many leaders in the logistics industry, TM International Logistics relies on SAP solutions to drive its business processes, including financial accounting and consolidation, sales and procurement. Over the years, the company developed several home-grown applications to address other process requirements, such as warehouse management, cargo-loading and customs clearance.
“We were facing some tough technical challenges in our transformation journey,” recalls Abhishek Verma. “Our in-house applications were developed at different times, to support different tactical requirements, and only a handful were interconnected. As a result, we lacked a single, integrated view of our business data.
“At the same time, we knew that our on-premises SAP ERP applications would be unable to deliver supply chain insights at the increased speed and scale we were looking for. We were confident that SAP S/4HANA hosted in the cloud would offer us the performance we were targeting, and we could integrate data from our in-house applications to create a single, accurate and timely source of business data.”
Moving forward together
TM International Logistics selected IBM Services to deploy a full-suite SAP S/4HANA solution, including human resource management capabilities.
“IBM came to us with a solid record of successful SAP implementations,” comments Abhishek Verma. “As well as possessing expert knowledge and a global presence, IBM Services made a compelling presentation by running a HANA Impact Assessment during the vendor evaluation phase.
“Thanks to the IBM HANA Impact Assessment, we saw immediately which parts of our SAP ERP environment could be moved to the new platform as-is, which had to be modified, and which could be removed. The IBM approach was highly accurate, very detailed, and gave us actionable insights around sizing, budget and resourcing requirements for our project—all before we’d even signed the contract.”
Embracing the Azure cloud
TM International Logistics decided that the Microsoft Azure cloud would be the optimal platform for its real-time analytics environment.
Abhishek Verma adds: “We were already using Microsoft Office 365™ as our business productivity suite, which made Azure cloud a natural choice for our new platform. Using SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure would also make it easier to deliver single-sign-on capabilities for business users of our Microsoft and SAP solutions—helping us to enhance information security while improving employee productivity.”
IBM Services deployed best-practice accelerators as part of the IBM SAP HANA Impact Assessment, including SAP S/4HANA Conversion Best Practice, SAP S/4HANA Conversion Lessons Learned and S/4HANA Conversion Process Flow. By exploring issues first in a sandbox environment and then moving through successive stages of remediation and testing, IBM was able to deliver a smooth, low-risk path to real-time analytics when the time came to deploy development and production environments in the cloud.
“Thanks to the IBM SAP HANA Impact Assessment, we could ensure that we moved forward with the correct scope of work, and refine our approach to design and testing,” comments Abhishek Verma. “IBM Services was crystal clear about the structure of our SAP S/4HANA project from the outset. Practically every one of the timeline estimates that IBM set out in their implementation plan turned out to be spot on—and we went live on time.
“Throughout the project, IBM engaged with multiple stakeholders, including Microsoft and SAP, and our Microsoft business partner MSRCosmos, who were responsible for the cloud configuration. IBM’s approach to change management was especially valuable, and the team helped us to communicate the benefits of the new SAP Fiori user experience to the business and accelerate adoption.”
Integrating the business in the cloud
Today, all members of the TM International Logistics finance, sales and procurement teams use SAP S/4HANA to drive their day-to-day work—including the company’s most senior decision-makers.
“With IBM Services, we have taken our first step toward a real-time view of our logistics network,” explains Abhishek Verma. “With SAP S/4HANA at the heart of our business, we have a high-performance, real-time engine capable of supporting the most demanding analytics use cases.
“We have already accelerated some of our key financial reports significantly, which helps our accounting team work more productively. And thanks to the Azure cloud, we can accelerate our data backups while delivering 24/7 availability for the SAP S/4HANA solution.
“Continuing our partnership with IBM Services, we are working on the next phase of our transformation initiative. By building real-time integrations between our own applications and SAP S/4HANA, we will gain a single source of truth for timely supply chain reporting. The end goal is to develop new data-driven products and services based on these insights, enabling us to meet client expectations and drive long-term business growth.”
Building next-generation services
Thanks to its work with IBM Services, TM International Logistics has gained the future-facing capabilities of SAP S/4HANA on time and within budget.
“With SAP S/4HANA, we have laid a solid foundation that will allow us to embed real-time analytics into our business processes in the future,” says Abhishek Verma. “Similarly, Microsoft Azure cloud gives us the agility to increase compute, storage and networking resources rapidly to support new business and technology initiatives.”
Abhishek Verma concludes: “Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things will have a decisive role to play in the logistics industry in the years ahead. SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure allows us to build real-time logistics services, enabling us to increase operational efficiency based on data-driven insights, and offer global delivery tracking to consumers and businesses, worldwide.”
About TM International Logistics Limited
Formed in 2002 and based in Kolkata, India, TM International Logistics Limited was created through a joint venture with Tata Steel Limited, one of the world’s leading steel-making companies. With offices across India, the UAE, Germany and China, TM International Logistics Limited offers a comprehensive range of logistics solutions, including dry bulk, containerized shipping, break bulk and project cargo.
Take the next step
To learn more about the IBM SAP Alliance, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit: ibm.com/sap
Headquartered in Stockton, CA, MSRCosmos LLC provides software solutions, products, and services to some of the world’s leading brands. Specializing in SAP solutions, big data analytics, cloud and mobility platforms, MSRCosmos helps its clients transform their IT to transform their business.