Bidco Africa Streamlines SAP® Business Processes with OpenText

Bidco Africa Ltd is the largest and fastest growing manufacturer and marketer of consumer products in the Eastern, Central, and Southern regions of Africa. Headquartered in Kenya, the company produces, markets, and distributes a broad range of products, including edible oils, cooking fats, margarine, baking products, hygiene products, detergents, laundry bars, and animal feeds.

From its roots in garment manufacturing in the 1970s, the company has continually innovated and moved with the times. In 2015, Bidco celebrated 30 years of owning and operating its own oil refineries to support its growing manufacturing base. Today, Bidco reaches 350 million consumers across Africa, supported by its factories in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda, and by distribution operations in 12 more countries. With such extensive and distributed operations, Bidco has been building a Shared Service Center to handle common business processes such as Accounts Receivable, Payment Approval, and Master Data Management. However, it faced many challenges due to the high degree of manual processing, physical document handling, and the time delays caused when needing to quickly locate documentation, all of which incurred high costs. Alkane Patel, Head of IT at Bidco Africa, explains, “We required a solution that would provide 360-degree visibility of all content associated to transactions in SAP, quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively.” Bidco’s vision is to provide a single source of documentation, efficiently accessible in context within SAP, which would support its governance and compliance needs, and reduce its exposure to risk. To achieve this goal, the company selected OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions.

Fast Deployment Provides Quick Wins

Working with OpenText partner, Avaali Solutions, key stakeholders from the Bidco team embarked upon a series of workshops to capture business requirements, to understand how existing processes worked, and to identify the pain points that needed attention. The workshops covered all aspects of the proposed solution in detail, which helped Bidco appreciate how best to leverage the capabilities of OpenText Extended ECM to meet its document management needs. The Avaali team created a detailed blueprint document covering various business scenarios, building confidence from Bidco in the solution. With the solution design accepted, implementation began, and Avaali took the lead with education of both end-users and IT administrators, helping ease the burden of change management on Bidco. Implementation was broken down into five phases to provide clearer visibility of the change management required. The first phase, the core of OpenText Extended ECM, was completed in just four-and-a-half months. “We quickly began to see the benefits that we were expecting to achieve. All our content is now securely stored in a single platform, eliminating silos, and giving us the flexibility to access our content from various sources via our preferred user interfaces,” says Patel. With customization, master data management, and migration of existing legacy content, all phases were completed in just eightand-a-half months.

Automation, Transparency, and Control Provide Efficiency and Cost Savings

Bidco uses SAP extensively across procurement, financial accounting, and HR, each having numerous processes that are reliant on fast, efficient access to supporting documentation to be effective. By using OpenText, Bidco has been able to significantly reduce the time it takes for processing in these areas and therefore, the associated costs. “With OpenText Extended ECM, we’ve reduced our process times by 50 percent for payment approvals, 40 percent for reconciliations, 50 percent for accounts receivable, and by 70 percent for master data creation. This is due to the seamless integration of OpenText with SAP, with our users able to access the documents they need from within SAP, quickly, easily, and accurately,” says Patel. With content now under control in a single place, Bidco is benefitting from a best of breed approach to managing both its structured and unstructured content. This has enabled process automation that spans both types, and for the first time, effective record management too. Bidco is now able to fulfill audit requirements more readily, reducing the time and cost of such activities. With virtually all paper documents now being captured into the solution using OpenText™ Imaging Enterprise Scan, documents are available more quickly and being digitized means multiple users can access the same document to carry out their tasks in parallel.

Faster, More Accurate Master Data Creation and Management

Creating and maintaining SAP master data had been a significant challenge for Bidco, with no tools to support this important process area. Content used to be distributed throughout the business, at multiple locations, making maintenance an arduous task. OpenText Extended ECM provides a seamless way to ensure that high quality master data is maintained at all times in SAP. The OpenText solution drives a multi-level approval process and supporting documents are always attached to the relevant SAP transaction, helping make audit processes simpler and more efficient. Using OpenText, Bidco can now rest assured that master data for vendors, customers, materials, assets, and employees is up to date, consistent, and has been fully approved. Bidco is also using Extended ECM to store vendor invoices inside SAP once they have been captured using OpenText™ Invoice Capture Center. Invoice processing is completed with OpenText™ Vendor Invoice Management for SAP® Solutions, another OpenText solution that seamlessly integrates to SAP. Record retention rules can therefore be applied to invoices too, as with other content types, and invoices can quickly be viewed, in the context of a supplier account or an order. “We set out to gain a 360-degree view of our content, in context, from within SAP,” says Patel. “We now have that and our business and management has far better control over our whole content enabled processes, enabling us to be able to make faster, more informed decisions.”