When StepLock needed a new, robust, and future-proof business system, they chose S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition. With Implema’s help, the new business system was up and running in a record 12 weeks.

StepLock moves to the cloud in just 12 weeks with S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition

Philip Wahlberg, System and Sustainability Manager at StepLock (left), and Fredrik Stendal, CEO of StepLock.

When StepLock needed a new, robust, and future-proof business system, they chose S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition. With Implema’s help, the new business system was up and running in a record 12 weeks.

StepLock is the market leader in electromechanical locking and access control systems. The Swedish family-owned company has its headquarters and production facility in Västerås and employs approximately 100 people. In recent years, the company has seen significant growth and is expanding internationally. The ambition is to continue on this path.

Wanted: A new cloud-based, future-proof business system

In the summer of 2022, StepLock found itself in a position that isn’t uncommon for growing businesses. It had outgrown its current business system, and the situation was starting to impact expansion plans. The management team realised it was time for a more robust, sustainable, and flexible solution.

The company culture at StepLock is decentralised, and employees are often involved in decision-making. This time was no different and management and employees worked together to determine what the company and each of the departments needed to ”future-proof” their work and their business.

They concluded that the company needed a scalable and globally accessible business system. Improved efficiency and better business process support were key priorities. This included

the ability to quickly set up processes when launching new companies outside Sweden, as well as the ability to scale up and quickly respond to increases in demand.

After the procurement process, StepLock selected SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition. SAP’s robust best practice processes and support for country-specific legal requirements were critical to the decision. Also, as StepLock offers access control systems built on cloud-based technology, they already understood the advantages of a cloud-based solution.

Implema was chosen as the implementation partner.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition in just 12 weeks with Implema Way

As always when Implema is involved, the work was carried out the “Implema Way”. This involves a rapid, safe, and efficient implementation of a stable best practice platform, followed by gradual solution refinements. This approach has several benefits. Crucially, companies can make investment decisions as and when they know what capabilities they genuinely need.

StepLock initially decided to implement solutions for Finance, Manufacturing, Sales, Sourcing & Procurement, Supply Chain, and Warehouse Management. They would also set up several system integrations, including support for automated invoice handling through EDI and Peppol, scanning and interpreting supplier invoices, and bank interfaces.

The implementation took place in two countries, Sweden and Norway, with work commencing during the autumn of 2023. After just 12 weeks, StepLock went live with an entirely new cloud-based business system—an astonishing achievement!

Significant gains soon become apparent

Today, StepLock has a flexible and scalable business system that is easily updated with the latest versions and features. The system also offers a wide range of functions that take advantage of the latest technologies, allowing the company to embrace new, intelligent work processes.

The system provides better support in every area, and StepLock can already see significant benefits.

”For me, the reporting is a key improvement. Previously, I had to rely on Excel or request reports from individuals in the warehouse or production. Now I can access all information in real-time and get a complete overview,” says Fredrik Stendal, CEO of StepLock.

”The new business system is incredibly valuable as it provides solutions that we can use to add value and develop our business,” says Philip Wahlberg, System and Sustainability Manager at StepLock and project lead.

The key success factors

Preparation and Readiness

The project’s rapid and successful execution was largely due to thorough preparatory work. Experience shows that the work done before an implementation begins is every bit as important as the implementation itself. Indeed, one of the major reasons why IT projects fail is because the organization is not adequately prepared for the upcoming changes and lacks a clear understanding of the necessary preparations.

”By involving the organisation early in the process and collectively defining the business requirements, the StepLock team had already secured stakeholder buy-in and engagement. This was incredibly beneficial for the implementation project, as it strengthened motivation and reduced the fear of change,” explains Anders Odhnoff, project manager and Consulting Manager at Implema, adding:

”Before the implementation started, we also conducted a Readiness phase with StepLock to ensure everyone was well-prepared. On the whole, StepLock embraced the project with a ’cloud mindset.'”

Methodology and Implema Way

Throughout the preparations and for the entirety of the project, the team followed the principles of Implema Way – leveraging Implema’s proven methodology and the mindset necessary for successful projects. The team also largely adhered to SAP’s Activate methodology, laying the groundwork for a smooth and well-thought-out project process.

StepLock’s Mindset

Another critical factor contributing to the success was the mindset at StepLock. By appointing dedicated resources, management signalled that this was a high-priority project.

They also entrusted the project team to drive the project forward. By allowing the team to lead and make decisions, rather than the conventional top-down approach, StepLock’s management facilitated swift decision-making. The team responded by taking personal ownership and responsibility for their tasks.

Effective Teamwork

Another factor contributing to the project’s success was the collaborative approach across the wider project team. Everyone pulled together towards a common goal with high levels of engagement, commitment, and diligence.

”The partnership between StepLock and Implema worked really well. We all worked hard as a team, always with a shared goal and a ’success mindset’,” says Anders.

Next Steps

The next step is already underway, involving the implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition for another of StepLock’s subsidiaries. The plan is to go live in March of this year.

StepLock also anticipates benefiting from many more features going forward. This will prove a real strength as the company continues its international expansion.

”SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition allows us to scale up as we move into new countries. Knowing that we can receive support and assistance no matter which region we expand into is reassuring,” concludes CEO Fredrik Stendal.

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