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SNCB moves up a gear with SAP 4/HANA - Trends Information Services

SNCB moves up a gear with SAP 4/HANA – Trends Information Services

Things are moving at Ypto, the IT company that is helping SNCB achieve its digital transformation: SNCB’s new CIO, Pierre-André Rulmont, has just taken up his post and the company is at the dawn of one of the largest ERP transformations in Belgium.

What is an ERP system?

ERP (enterprise resource planning) is in a way the computer heart of the management of a company. An ERP system supports all the key processes needed to run the business: finance, human resources, purchases and sales, supply chain and, especially for SNCB, all processes related to train maintenance. The finance department, for example, needs an ERP system to carry out a correct and efficient financial closing. Human resources need it in particular to manage the recording of the time of the 17,000 employees of SNCB. The processes for purchasing materials and services from SCNB’s external suppliers pass through the ERP and the supply chain uses it to track the movement of goods between the different workshops of the SNCB. A quality ERP system is therefore essential for SNCB.

SAP S/4HANA for SNCB: essential and desirable

The ERP suite currently used by SNCB comes from SAP. The current version (ECC 6.0) deployed within SNCB is in its final hours: by the end of 2027, the supplier will no longer offer support for this version. This is why a renewal of the SNCB’s ERP system is essential. After conducting extensive market research, in which other ERP solutions were also examined and compared, SNCB and Ypto decided to continue to use SAP and implement its new ERP product S/4HANA . The transformation from SAP ECC to SAP/4HANA will have far deeper implications than a simple IT upgrade. This transformation program will also be an opportunity to migrate from on-premises hosting to hosting in a private cloud and to carry out an implementation that comes as close as possible to the standard functionality of the new software (approach fit-to-standard).

SNCB, a future-proof company: focused on the cloud and fit-to-standard

An ERP system in the cloud offers some significant advantages to SNCB: greater flexibility in terms of scalability, simplification of integration possibilities, improved security and reduction of hardware costs. The new process implementation standard will allow for maximum process alignment with the system’s standard, out-of-the-box functionality. The current SAP system used by SNCB has seen its complexity increase considerably over the years due to the high level of customisation. A major business transformation journey awaits SNCB, given that we are going to start from a blank slate and call on a greenfield involving a redesign of processes based on SAP best practices. The aim is to achieve an improvement in the mode of operation, and therefore an increase in productivity through rationalization, accompanied as far as possible by the automation of SNCB’s management processes. This overhaul of management processes will lead to a very concrete result, namely the reduction of train immobilization thanks to the introduction of a preventive maintenance policy. Artificial intelligence will be used to plan repairs made necessary by the condition of the cars and their components.

This project offers SNCB, a major player in the public transport market in Europe, a unique opportunity to consolidate its position and find tomorrow’s technology and solutions beyond national borders.

Want to make your contribution?

To put this major transformation program on track, Ypto’s ECS (ERP & Corporate Services) department is looking for new talent. A Junior Graduate Program has recently been established within the company, where freshly graduated academics are prepared for SAP through a combination of on-the-job learning and classroom training paths on SAP/4HANA . Young graduates, but also experienced IT and SAP professionals passionate about sustainable mobility, are welcome.

ERP (enterprise resource planning) is in a way the IT heart of a company’s management. An ERP system supports all the key processes needed to run the business: finance, human resources, purchases and sales, supply chain and, especially for SNCB, all processes related to train maintenance. The finance department, for example, needs an ERP system to carry out a correct and efficient financial closing. Human resources need it in particular to manage the recording of the time of the 17,000 employees of SNCB. The processes for purchasing materials and services from SCNB’s external suppliers pass through the ERP and the supply chain uses it to track the movement of goods between the different workshops of the SNCB. A quality ERP system is therefore essential for SNCB. The ERP suite currently used by SNCB comes from SAP. The current version (ECC 6.0) deployed within SNCB is in its final hours: by the end of 2027, the supplier will no longer offer support for this version. This is why a renewal of the SNCB’s ERP system is essential. After conducting extensive market research, in which other ERP solutions were also examined and compared, SNCB and Ypto decided to continue to use SAP and implement its new ERP product S/4HANA . The transformation from SAP ECC to SAP/4HANA will have far deeper implications than a simple IT upgrade. This transformation program will also be an opportunity to migrate from on-premises hosting to hosting in a private cloud and to proceed with an implementation that comes as close as possible to the standard functionality of the new software (fit-to-standard approach). ).An ERP system in the cloud offers some significant advantages to SNCB: greater flexibility in terms of scalability, simplification of integration possibilities, improved security and reduction of hardware costs. The new process implementation standard will allow for maximum process alignment with the system’s standard, out-of-the-box functionality. The current SAP system used by SNCB has seen its complexity increase considerably over the years due to the high level of customisation. A major business transformation journey awaits SNCB, as we will start from a blank slate and employ a greenfield approach involving process redesign based on SAP best practices. The aim is to achieve an improvement in the mode of operation, and therefore an increase in productivity through rationalization, accompanied as far as possible by the automation of SNCB’s management processes. This overhaul of management processes will lead to a very concrete result, namely the reduction of train immobilization thanks to the introduction of a preventive maintenance policy. Artificial intelligence will be used to plan repairs made necessary by the condition of the cars and their components. This project offers SNCB, a major player in the public transport market in Europe, a unique opportunity to consolidate its position and to find tomorrow’s technology and solutions beyond national borders. To put this major transformation program on track, Ypto’s ECS (ERP & Corporate Services) department is looking for new talent. A Junior Graduate Program has recently been established within the company, where freshly graduated academics are prepared for SAP through a combination of on-the-job learning and classroom training paths on SAP/4HANA . Young graduates, but also experienced IT and SAP professionals passionate about sustainable mobility, are welcome.

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