Nutrition leader Glanbia creates a lean, mean, application machine in weeks

Mobile SAP capabilities in eight weeks transforms enterprise performance within global nutrition leader

CHALLENGE: Complex applications drag on peak performance

Headquartered in Kilkenny, Ireland, global nutrition leader Glanbia’s 6,000 employees are spread throughout 32 countries, supporting the sale and distribution of products throughout 130 countries and representing €3.6 billion in sales annually.

With a culture and mission focused on top performance through innovation and continuous improvement, Glanbia is in the midst of a seven-year run of double digit growth.

Its four business segments – Glanbia Performance Nutrition, Global Ingredients, Dairy Ireland, and Joint Ventures & Associates – are supported by major production facilities in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and China and its products span B2B and B2C customers across the entire nutritional supply chain, from farmers to retailers.

Glanbia’s size, volume, and global reach bring with it unique IT challenges, even as the company has benefitted from a single, standardized, and integrated SAP environment across the enterprise.

Glanbia SAP Utilities apps quote 1

Specifically, business units were demanding more from their enterprise application user experience (UX) as employees increasingly sought to be able to work anytime, anywhere, and on a range of devices – mobile SAP capabilities for everyone. And the complexity of SAP applications, where users often only completed 10-15 percent of the fields, made it increasingly difficult for users to complete tasks quickly.

Gleaning peak performance from its technology and its employees required a UX transformation, one that brought rich and flexible mobile capabilities front and center.

APPROACH: Deliver a rich and cohesive UX using “develop once, deploy to all”

The technology team defined two key elements for success in its mobile SAP strategy:

  • Understanding user needs so they could create a simplified UX that would delight employees and make them more productive
  • Choosing a development platform that could leverage the IT team’s existing skillset, integrate easily with SAP and build on its breadth of capabilities and depth of information, was easy for developers to learn and use, and could deliver quick results and strong ROI for the business.

“We needed a framework that delivered the look, feel and functionality that users required, while also being cost effective,” said Darren Bambrick, senior developer at Glanbia.

Initial attempts to build a number of apps with the free technology available to them did nothing to simplify the development and maintenance process for the team.

As the project evolved, the team also identified a guiding mission statement to “deliver a rich and cohesive user experience, grounded in design, developed once and deployed to all.”

That’s where Neptune Software – and SAP Fiori – came in to provide new mobile SAP capabilities.

To deliver the best possible solution for its customers, the team drew upon Fiori guidelines to help them:

  • Ensure users know what to expect
  • Create apps are intuitive and have consistent look, feel and behavior
  • Deliver apps that only expose functionality that users need to complete their tasks
  • Streamline the number of designers needed

“Neptune Software was a perfect fit to meet all of our requirements,” said Mr. Bambrick. “Built to take full advantage of Fiori, it has a simple-to-use editor and feature-rich application designer and leverages our team’s collective ABAP skills.”

“It also fits within our existing infrastructure without requiring additional hardware or software such as Gateway or SAP HANA. Plus, built-in device encryption protects the enterprise and updates are handled automatically so we don’t have to worry when Jquery standards or HTML libraries change.”

Rollout accomplished in one-third of the time of previous options

An initial proof of concept (PoC) rollout delivered three apps to replace older offerings, including:

  • Employee Lookup
  • Employee leave request
  • My Approvals, featuring workflow to enable managers to approve purchase orders and leave requests

The team put Neptune Software tools to use immediately and with little learning curve to complete the projects in eight short weeks, first adapting Neptune Software application templates and developing the native apps, then installing and deploying them to mobile devices and training the user base.

“With Neptune Software, we can deliver highly productive and back-end intensive apps in a third of the time it took with our previous options,” said Mr. Bambrick. “We’ve been able to shift our focus from great app development to great app design, a transformation that leads to greater application acceptance and adoption by our users.”

RESULTS: Confidence to perform at maximum strength and speed

That initial success of the PoC led to even more projects. Today, with Neptune Software installed for more than two years, Glanbia is confident it’s successfully meeting the sophisticated and diverse needs of its user base and providing mobile SAP capabilities for various SAP modules.

The team has streamlined the user experience while delivering a range of mobile and desktop apps across its SAP infrastructure for HR, CRM, MM, SD, and FI.

Glanbia SAP Utilities apps quote 2

A cross-enterprise business applications portal enables users to leverage user-friendly apps for ERP, HR, and manufacturing as they see fit and based on their roles.

This includes nine mobile offline apps and more than 20 desktop apps such as:

  • A mobile CRM system for account management and sample request
  • A product catalog information app providing material master data as well as product images to an SAP Hybris system for B2B and B2C applications
  • Task-based apps to streamline HR processes for timesheets, payslips, leave requests, workflow approvals, personal development plans, and web forms development

“Feedback from our business users has been really positive, and we’ve recently seen an exponential growth in the requests for Neptune Software applications,” said Mr. Bambrick. “Not only have we moved away from paper-based processes, our apps are widely used and manage a heavy workload – a highly popular Web Forms app processed nearly 13,000 forms last year alone.”

Expansion of its mobile UX strategy continues at Glanbia, with another 10 apps currently underway, and more proposals awaiting approval, including a warehouse implementation and a new change management workflow tool for materials management.

For an expanding company like Glanbia, that’s exactly the results it needs to continue performing at maximum strength and speed.

 “With Neptune Software, we can deliver highly productive and back-end intensive apps in a third of the time it took with our previous options.”

If you want to see how Glanbia PLC handled their SAP Mobility approach, have a look at his video featuring Darren Bambrick, Senior Developer at Glanbia’s IT Department talking about their new mobile SAP capabilities.

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Customer Industry: Nutrition

Geographic Reach: Annual global sales of €3.6 billion across 130 countries.
More than 6,000 employees across 32 countries

Neptune Functionality Scope: Mobile, web, and desktop

Number of Users: 4,000

SAP Version: SAP HR, CRM, MM, SD, and FI

Devices: Desktop, tablets and smartphones

Implementation Timeline: Eight weeks

Want to know more about mobile SAP capabilities? Request a demo.

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