Intelligent Transformation with Cloud ERP for Local Business. Showcasing REHAU Polymers (Suzhou) Co., Ltd: an SAP Innovation Awards 2022 Winner

As the modern world continues to evolve towards Industry 4.0, the need for automation and digitization has never been greater. And yet, many companies still depend on highly repetitive, and labor-intensive activities to accommodate their day-to-day business needs.

The following example showcases how SAP S/4HANA Cloud helped one customer, REHAU Polymers (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., on its digitization journey and made traditionally complicated and costly processes as simple and as streamlined as possible.

REHAU was selected as a winner of the 2022 SAP Innovation Awards, an annual award that celebrates the efforts of forward-looking companies and individuals who have harnessed the power of the latest SAP products.

The Challenges

REHAU Polymers (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., the Chinese affiliate of the global REHAU Group, is the focus of this story. As the Chinese branch of the global REHAU Group, the company depends on in-depth material expertise and extensive experience in technologies and production processes to meet the various needs of its clients from across industries.

REHAU Polymers had a need for a strong digital strategy in 2020 as it looked to expand its business beyond China which involved two constant demands:

1) Complying with the legal regulations of other countries.

2) Protecting its position as an industry leader in polymers against disruptive technological innovations.

However, there were obstacles. REHAU encountered inefficiencies because of manual operations resulting from the lack of standardized sales order format and invoice processing. This increased the risk of human error and lowered customer satisfaction. Synergy among departments was constrained, as was alignment with international management.

REHAU needed to provide smoother customer experiences to sustain its competitive advantage as a polymer leader, so it sought out the right technology and service support from SAP to modernize and automate its workflows.

The Solution

The challenges accentuated the need to create customer-focused processes and saw a potential digital transformation as the only mitigation option to both the old user experience as well as the operational inefficiency. The decision was made to implement an End-to-End (E2E) Optical Character Recognition (OCR) + SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) + Machine Learning (ML) solution in collaboration with SAP teams.

The company deployed an End-to-End automation process across business units of Finance, Manufacturing, and Sales to improve productivities with the SAP S/4HANA Cloud as the core. Furthermore, repetitive processes were automated by leveraging SAP Intelligent RPA and SAP Machine Learning Services that can seamlessly integrate with China and APJ localization solutions. This enabled the automatization of all process steps including sales order creation from Excel, PDF, social media, voice and emails to invoice recognition, data mapping, integrity validation, invoice object prediction, and invoice creation.

This translated into a simplified user experience, real-time data analytics, and an overall more efficient system in addition to meeting legal compliance requirements through the automated processing of financial documents, with minimal implementation effort.

The Result and Outlook for the Future

After the successful implementation of the systems, the benefits were clearly visible. From a business process standpoint, the implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud helped streamline production to enhance operational efficiency by reducing human error and helping employees to work productively.

  • SAP Intelligent RPA reduced human effort in processing 1000 financial accounting documents from 4 days/month to only 10 minutes/month.
  • Order processing was also reduced from taking a full day to just 2 minutes to process 500 orders.
  • By fully integrating the four conventional functions of manufacturing, procurement, finance, and sales, it was possible to effectively establish a transparent platform for the entire supply chain.

From a user experience point of view, the adoption of SAP S/4HANA Cloud contributed to improved customer experiences and process automation. Not only did the smoother customer and employee experience lay a solid basis for the sustainable development of the group, but it also established a new enterprise benchmark, becoming the frontrunner for digital innovation strategy around the world.

REHAU already went live on their next wave of SAP Intelligent RPA adoption, in collaboration with SAP Labs China. The project embarked on an agile delivery strategy based on the SAP S/4HANA platform, SAP Intelligent Technologies, and SAP’s innovation methodology.

With the first two use cases delivered in just 2 weeks and 100% remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, SAP and REHAU developed a joint remote delivery innovation model that has become the success reference case for remote delivery innovation across Greater China.

This case clearly illustrates the benefits of establishing a distinct, competitive digital ecosystem that actively promotes the transition to a refined, intelligent, and modern intelligent manufacturing enterprise. In this story, SAP S/4HANA Cloud & SAP Intelligent RPA work hand in hand together and enable REHAU Polymers to quickly enter the overseas market, save costs, and get twice the result with half the effort. Anyone can achieve this if planned and executed correctly.

For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links:

  • The power of best-in-class and Next Practices business content for a modern ERP blog post
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: The Intelligent ERP blog post
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: New Product Releases here
  • Latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release blog posts here
  • SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Contenthere
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud release info:here
  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here
  • Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community here
  • SAP Activate Community here
  • Best practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here
  • Help Portal Product Page here
  • What’s New here

Follow us via @SAP and #S4HANA, or myself via @SDenecken