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Leading Sugar Co. in USA

In 2012 one of the world’s leading producers of sugar was facing a Big Data challenge – how to manage and optimize spend on an increasing amount of materials from a large supplier base at the world's most technologically advanced cane sugar plant.

Key facts:

  • 180 000 acres of farmed land
  • 300 000 square foot refinery
  • Own railroad with 1000 railcars
  • Live with Refresh since 2012
  • ERP Systems: SAP ECC6
  • 80 000 SKU's in Scope, Big Data PO lines

Business Challenge

In 2012 one of the world’s leading producers of sugar was facing a challenge – how to manage and optimize spend on an increasing amount of materials from a large amount of suppliers. Additionally their sugar factory is the largest most technologically advanced, fully integrated cane sugar manufacturing facility in the world. This means excellent production figures, but quite a diverse range of  items of supply being bought daily through many purchasers.

In terms of in-house software tools, the organization had been running SAP for many years as well as some best-of-breed reporting tools. However, the current tools were not the main problem – the underlying raw data was the real issue. It was extremely tough to get users to provide trustworthy spend classes / material groups across an extremely varied range of commodities - from stationery and services all the way through to specific bagasse-fired boiler spare parts.

The main problem remained: how best to automatically tag all materials and purchase line items to UNSPSC?

A second, more labor intensive issue was also important to solve: how to get standard Noun:Modifier material descriptions – reducing duplicates & off-contract spend?

After investigating the market for a specialist tool and including in-depth and live demonstrations of own-material cleanse rates & SAP integration tests, Refresh™ Desktop and Server software was both selected to be rolled out across the entire supply chain material base.

Some factors key in the selection of Refresh™ included:

  • Low software license cost and low implementation effort
  • Ease of use allowing the right person to do the job quickly
  • Deep Global International Standards experience & content
  • Pre-Built dictionaries ready to use on day 1
  • No need to touch the SAP system / any SAP resource
  • Fresh’s agility in customer customization of software
  • Coverage of diverse spend categories including special experience with other large agribusiness customers

The Solution

Refresh Desktop was deployed within one week of purchase so the standardization of the purchase lines could commence in record time. The original Refresh dictionary already included an increased number of noun-modifiers especially from the agricultural, services and chemical families, given that Fresh International already had many agribusiness customers. The total number of individual noun-modifiers in the dictionary exceeded 27000.

The purchasing team and especially the lead purchasing analyst was quick to pick up the Refresh tools and actually start the full cleanse during the kick-off workshop itself and this purchasing automation is now also being embedded in the procure to pay transactions themselves within the purchasing process and inside the ERP system.

Key Business Benefits

The company has been using the Refresh software to cleanse and manage materials across all departments - for all products, from all suppliers. For the Operations team the main benefit is simple: finding their materials easily. For Strategic Purchasing the main benefit is a detailed view of each purchase, highlighting common purchasing trends across all divisions, and showing any category areas which require further improvement. The Purchasing department can use this data to develop their purchasing strategies accordingly, ensuring that the company is achieving true value for money from all stakeholders.

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