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Tolaram Moves to the Cloud with SAP on Microsoft Azure

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To achieve its cloud goals and undergo a comprehensive digital transformation of its information technology systems, consumer goods business Tolaram opted for an SAP on Microsoft Azure implementation.

Tolaram is a conglomerate that has operations in Asia, Africa, and Europe, working in three main industry sectors: consumer goods, financial technology, and infrastructure and industrials. The holding company has its roots in the private sector, dating back to 1948 in Singapore. Tolaram now operates as a joint venture partner with Indonesian major food processing company Indofood and US multinational food manufacturing business Kellogg Company (Kellogg’s).

In order to further their breakfast, snack, and developing market strategies and to capitalize on the expanding African market, Kellogg Company signed a long-term agreement with Tolaram Africa this year. The objective was to form a partnership between Kellogg and Tolaram Africa to make breakfast and snack foods for the West African market. This required purchasing Tolaram Africa Foods’ (which owns 49% of Dufil Prima) future share, as well as acquiring 50% of Multipro — a sales and distribution firm in Nigeria and Ghana.

Additionally, Tolaram also maintains several strategic partnerships, including one with Danish dairy producer Arla Foods, as well as Colgate Palmolive Tolaram with Colgate Palmolive. In Nigeria, Tolaram and Kimberly-Clark, an American multinational personal care corporation, are also known partners in the industry.

Tolaram’s success in these sectors has allowed the company to expand across the whole continent of Africa.  The global family business that has thrived for three generations has just begun a digital transformation journey to allow the next stage of its expansion and innovation. In order to modernize its information technology infrastructure, the African leading consumer products and industrial company recently made the move to the cloud with SAP on Microsoft Azure.

Noting that the company always believed that developing new capabilities is integral to its success, Sandeep Parasramka, Chief Financial Officer of Consumer Goods at Tolaram Africa, shared:

“As we eye a period of expansion and growth in our key markets, we wanted to ensure we had the technology and systems in place that would enable us to scale while also bringing our business processes to global best practice standards.”

Deploying SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure

Parasramka stated that after relying on an on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for 15 years, Tolaram realized that the system was inadequate for the company’s needs going forward. He elaborated that the business had been looking for a way to improve its analytics skills, get insights across its various processes, and scale in line with its future expansion plans.

Sharing why the company decided to implement SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure, Parasramka explained:

“We chose SAP S/4HANA as the leading cloud ERP solution on the market, and opted for an Azure deployment to meet our cloud ambitions. We believe this is the first SAP S/4HANA go-live on Azure in Ghana.”

Tolaram intends to gradually migrate all of its business lines to the new SAP system. But it decided to test out the migration in Ghana first before rolling it out to its more major operations in Nigeria and other regions. Beginning in December 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first stage of the implementation addressed the Dufil and Multipro market segments in Ghana. Financial planning and analysis, purchasing, human resources, payroll, production, and enterprise asset management (EAM) are just some of the SAP S/4HANA modules that were implemented as part of the rollout.

“The lockdown restrictions created challenges, but we were ably supported by expert SAP implementation partners Infocus Technologies as well as a pool of in-house resources that we have built over a period of time and continue to focus on,” Parasramka revealed.

By deploying SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure, Tolaram was able to:

  • Apply uniform standards to its various markets and divisions.
  • Find out how the company is doing overall with more precision and detail.
  • Improve the quality of its business decision-making.
  • Better capture and analyze data by relying less on Excel and other standalone programs.

The first phase of the SAP implementation project is scheduled to include two additional deployments in 2023: Dufil and Multipro in Nigeria. According to Parasramka, Tolaram plans to go live in 2024 with its implementations for other Nigeria-based market segments, and then in 2025, it will turn its attention to the business units in other areas, especially Egypt and South Africa.

“With a successful first phase now well underway and a comprehensive implementation plan for the next few years, Tolaram is perfectly positioned to build intelligent enterprise capabilities that will enhance its competitiveness, enable its growth and support its success for years to come,” SAP West Africa Regional Sales Director Titilayo Adewumi commented.

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