Unable to extract the full potential from SAP ERP

Since its establishment in 1934, FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation (hereinafter “FUJIFILM Holdings”) has contributed to society in the fields of images and information. As part of what the company itself referred to as its “second establishment,” the entire FUJIFILM Group made the shift from a company whose core business was photographic films to a company that would continue to grow in multiple new businesses. At present, the company operates in three key areas: Imaging Solutions, Information Solutions, and Document Solutions. FUJIFILM Holdings has actively engaged in exports since 1938, before the start of World War II, primarily to South East Asia. In 1956, at the same time as establishing its exports division, the company expanded its overseas bases and grew its exports business. In the 1990s, it established production plants across China.
In order to claim the leading share of the Chinese market—a market that has grown rapidly—FUJIFILM (China) Investment Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “FUJIFILM (China)”) has been tasked with investing, selling, and integrating the Chinese operations of the FUJIFILM Group since 2001.

As of 2016, FUJIFILM (China) is focusing on its medical and imaging businesses. In particular, its Instax Mini10 instant camera has proved a huge hit with the younger generations in China. In June 2015, the company opened a “Wonder Photo Shop” selling Instax Mini10 cameras and digital cameras near People’s Square in Shanghai. Kenji Tsuji, manager of FUJIFILM (China)’s China IT Center, commented: “We basically sell the same products on the Chinese market as we do in Japan. However, there is a difference in the use of X-rays, which in Japan are now almost entirely digital but are still largely film in China.”

The FUJIFILM Group operates using defined standard business processes in its supply chain, such as sales, stock management and purchasing management, and these are implemented in all of the Group’s bases across the world. However, due to China-specific problems faced by a majority of Japanese companies, these standard business processes have not been comprehensively implemented at FUJIFILM (China). These problems are twofold: the high extent of job mobility, and the fact that duties are not effectively transferred to replacement employees. When a member of staff is replaced, the new employee works hard to increase his or her own efficiency and to improve his or her own productivity. However, this means that business processes become increasingly more individualized, and these individualized business processes conspire to decrease the efficiency of the company as a whole. In addition, since these employees input data according to their own individual standards—which differ from the predefined standards of the Group—the decision-making of the management is delayed. The business processes which these employees had individually adjusted heightened barriers to personnel change.
According to Tsuji: “In Japan, I thought I could manage supply and demand by retrieving SAP ERP data from bases all over the world. However, this presupposes that data can be accurately extracted, but this was not the case in China. Ever since I transferred to China four and a half years ago, I have thought that, at some point, I would like to resolve all of these types of problem in one fell swoop.”

Major Issues

  • Optimizing business processes:Internal communications were carried out using paper media, meaning that each business division suffered from work duplication and the need for manual labor
  • Accelerating decision-making:Business processes were not immediately reflected in the system, delaying data analysis
  • Facilitating personnel changes:Each business division was dominated by individualized business processes, making it difficult for the company to carry out personnel rotation (individualization)

FUJIFILM (China) valued ABeam’s outstanding knowledge of SAP ERP, and its driving force for improving the business processes of Japanese companies based in China

In order to achieve its three targets of optimizing business processes, accelerating decision-making, and facilitating personnel changes, FUJIFILM (China) began considering strategies at the start of 2014. The company requested cooperation and received proposals from three companies. After comparing the contents of these proposals, FUJIFILM (China) decided to go with ABeam Consulting (hereinafter “ABeam”).

As to why FUJIFILM (China) chose ABeam, Guo Bin, manager of the FUJIFILM (China) Business Process Reform Promotion Division and manager of the China IT Center, explained: “ABeam had a deep knowledge of SAP ERP and, by utilizing an industry framework, we could expect our business processes to improve in a short timeframe, even in China. In addition, they had an established methodology for reaching Operational Excellence by reforming our business processes while optimizing our use of the system—we felt that this was an extremely feasible approach, and this was the primary reason we opted for ABeam.”
“The project leader was Japanese but fluent in Chinese as well,” added Tsuji. “Consequently, we thought that he would be able to communicate smoothly with our staff—this was of great importance to us. In addition, we were also extremely impressed by the fact that ABeam made proposals not only for improving our business processes, but also for continuing to firmly establish the use of new standardized business processes.”

User Profile

Client Outline
  • Company name:
    FUJIFILM (China) Investment Co., Ltd.
  • Location:
    28F, ONE LUJIAZUI, No.68 YinCheng Zhong Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 200120, P.R.China
  • Established:
    April 12, 2001
  • Services:
    Sales and services related to imaging solutions—including color film, digital cameras, optical devices, photo finishing equipment, color photo paper, medicines, and services—and information solutions—including medical system equipment, life science products, graphic system equipment, flat panel display materials, and storage media.
Project Outline
  • Outline:
    Standardization of business processes, the establishment of a centralized internal sales division, improvements to SAP ERP, optimization of business processes, the design of timely and appropriate data update processes, and the realization of Operational Excellence at the Chinese subsidiary.
  • Software:
    SAP ERP