Business and Economy

Swiss Pharma leaps into 4IR capabilities with SAP S/4HANA deployment

With all eyes on the pharmaceutical sector to provide support and drive medicines innovation amidst a global pandemic, one of West Africa’s leading medicines manufacturers chose SAP S/4HANA to transform its operations and establish a robust and integrated system enabling real-time decision-making.   “We embarked on a process of digital transformation of our finance, sourcing and procurement, manufacturing, sales, supply chain and asset management processes,” says Meeta Shah, Finance and Supply Chain Director at Swiss Pharma Nigeria Limited. “Using the SAP Activate methodology and leaning on the expert support of our implementation partner, we were able to successfully transform our business in a mere 26 weeks.”   Swiss Pharma Nigeria Limited (Swipha) is a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer that was established in 1976 to produce and market high-quality medicines supplying Nigeria and West Africa. French pharmaceutical company Servier acquired Swipha in 2017 to extend its wide range of products to Nigerian consumers. The company employs 320 people and is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.    Shah and her team partnered with Serve Consulting to implement a wide-ranging digital transformation project named ‘LEAPSWIPHA’, shorthand for ‘Lead by Improving Efficiency, Accountability and Productivity at Swipha’.    “Our project kicked off in May 2020 and ended with the successful go-live of our first 36 users at the end of October 2020. Core to our objectives was the need to have information in real-time for enhanced decision-making, and to save time by eliminating duplication of efforts and activities across multiple business processes.”   Swipha chose SAP’s flagship S/4HANA platform to automate and integrate all finance, procurement, manufacturing, supply chain and asset management modules and processes, improving accountability and efficiency. “Through proper role definition and restriction, including workflows and approvals, we improved our overall controls, while also building confidence in our data through quality data collection and distribution.”   Digitisation of core business processes is a top priority for organisations wishing to embrace the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In a 2019 survey, 93% of pharmaceutical manufacturers stated digitisation is an important priority.   The implementation team followed strict adherence to SAP S/4HANA best practices during the deployment, and a combined effort involving parallel activities across various aspects of the implementation ensured timely and on-budget delivery, with the invaluable support of quality assurance project manager Chris Orilogbon.   “We enjoyed the active and consistent involvement of the Swipha management team, following a realistic plan and accompanying budget,” explains Shah. “By focusing on our stakeholder engagement throughout the project, we could further ensure a successful rollout.”   Since go-live, Swipha enjoys greater availability of business-critical information in real time, aiding better business decision-making. “We have eliminated duplication of activities by capturing data at the source point, giving us a single version of truth across our operations. Our efficient, integrated system has improved our business operations, with an approximate 84% saving on man hours across our business processes.”   Titilayo Adewumi, Regional Sales Director for West Africa at SAP, says Swipha has taken a bold step toward achieving intelligent enterprise capabilities. “Successful modern enterprises use technology to automate processes and free up valuable internal resources for more high-value work, while also improving visibility across the operations of the business. Following its highly successful business transformation, Swipha is well positioned to build on its reputation as a leading pharmaceutical company in West Africa.”

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