I find my job very fascinating as it gives me the chance to constantly learn new things and to travel the world. It offers me the opportunity to meet new people and experience different cultures. My most recent business travel was to North Carolina, USA for our Purolator Client Merge Project.
Purolator began as a joint venture company between MANN+HUMMEL and Bosch. In March 2013 the MANN+HUMMEL Group fully acquired the company from Bosch: MPUS (MANN+HUMMEL Purolator) was born. As a result of this acquisition, there were some operational and reporting changes required. As part of the SAP team, my duties included integrating our MPUS colleagues into the MANN+HUMMEL world and making them a part of the family.
Introducing a new system
SAP is the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution used by MANN+HUMMEL in most countries where the company is currently represented. Purolator had been running on SAP since April 2009, shortly after the joint venture had been established – but due to anti-trust regulations in the USA they were operating in a different client. An SAP client by definition is a “self-contained commercial, organizational and technical unit within an SAP System”. This means that all business data within a client is protected from other clients. The colleagues from Purolator therefore had very limited access to MANN+HUMMEL data and vice versa. With the client merge project these barriers have now been dismantled.
Purolator and MANN+HUMMEL come together
The project itself involved migrating data from the Purolator client to the MANN+HUMMEL client. A lot of preparations had to be done for the final migration to be successful with a limited downtime of our productive system. Five test data migrations were carried out, which included two onsite visits in Fayetteville, North Carolina by the SAP team from Germany and Czech Republic. Together with the MPUS colleagues we had to prepare a checklist for the final migration and perform thorough tests to make sure that there would be a smooth integration of MPUS into the MANN+HUMMEL client at go-live.
I found the visits always interesting as I got to meet and interact with my US colleagues face to face, not the usual emails and telephone calls. It was great to get to know them personally and experience their American culture. Of course I also enjoyed the shopping and eating out, my favourite being Five Guys Hamburger and Krispy Kremes doughnuts. During the time there, we encountered some snowfall which is very rare for the region. As they do not usually have snow, everything was practically closed. Some of us made it to the office and some not, so we had to arrange a WebEx meeting since most of the people could not come to work enabling us to continue with the work that needed to be done. This showed a lot of dedication and commitment by the project team.
Excitement – the go-live
The go-live was during the weekend of 14 to 16 March 2014. At mid-day on Friday the 14th of March the Purolator client was shut down and the data extraction was started. This download lasted until 00:30am and the data was then prepared for the upload into the MANN+HUMMEL client. On Saturday the 15th of March at 06:45am the MANN+HUMMEL productive client was shut down and the MPUS upload was started. This lasted until 8pm, where the rest of the team began to make the consistency checks. 1.2 billion data records were extracted from the Purolator client and migrated into the MANN+HUMMEL client. We had to make sure that everything was mapped 1:1 between the two clients.
This was really a hard time as we worked throughout the night to make sure that the system would be approved by 7am of Sunday the 16th of March. We were all very busy and somehow tired but the working atmosphere was amazing. The team spirit was very encouraging and I can say that kept us awake besides the coffee and the energy drinks. Our hard work paid off as the Purolator take over went smoothly, and by Sunday night we could make the first processes of MPUS in the MANN+HUMMEL client.
Today, the MPUS colleagues are now enjoying the advantages of working with the rest of the family in the MANN+HUMMEL client.