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What It Takes to Build a Paperless Factory: Lessons From our Smart Enterprise Event

Irina Obushtarova is discussing the road to a paperless factory with the panelists
Image credit: From left to right: Moderator Irina Obushtarova, Zdravko Peshakov, Managing Director of SAP Bulgaria, Jan Skvaril, Partner "Customer Success" at Next Consult, and Nikolay Kirov, General Manager of Centillion
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Yesterday, November 24, Next Consult had the pleasure to host a business discussion at Sofia Tech Park exploring the digital transformation journey of businesses. The event was organized in cooperation with Centillion, SAP and The Recursive, and showcased the digital transformation process of the innovative manufacturing company Centillion. This project was recently awarded for the fastest Rise with SAP implementation.

In a discussion moderated by Irina Obushtarova, CEO of The Recursive, the leading innovation media in Central and Eastern Europe, Toshko Petkov, Partner “Business Consulting” at Next Consult, Nikolay Kirov, General Manager of Centillion, Zdravko Peshakov, Managing Director of SAP Bulgaria, and Jan Skvaril, Partner “Customer Success” at Next Consult, shared practical tips on how manufacturing companies can accelerate growth through digitalization and what are the usual mistakes that should be avoided. 

What does it really mean to be an intelligent enterprise?

All panelists agreed that this is an organization that’s able to adapt to an uncertain future and the changes demanded by the market.

Centillion is currently on the road to becoming one of the very few truly paperless manufacturers in Bulgaria. The motivation behind this decision stems from the fact that the company is a leader in the production of medical equipment and cochlear implants – a highly-regulated industry that requires compliance with thousands of frequently-changing standards and instructions. “From the very beginning I knew that we needed to optimize our administrative burden as much as possible,” shared Nikolay Kirov.

The digitalization strategy of Centillion stands on three main pillars – management of electronic documents, Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). The end goal – better business agility, lower costs and greater speed in reacting to client requirements. 

While this digital transformation journey is still ongoing, Nikolay stated that he already sees the first results – Centillion being able to make smart decisions faster, based on complete and accurate information. 

Read more:  Tired of Living Alone? Bulgaria Is Building a Safe Haven for Digital Nomads

In the next few paragraphs, we are exploring some key lessons from the event. 

Key insights from the event

As Toshko Petkov highlighted in the beginning of the event, currently 51% of the projects for business software implementation in Bulgaria fail. He elaborated that this often happens because of the lack of clear long-term vision and properly-defined project requirements – both extremely important steps before the actual implementation.

Toshko Petkov explains the usual mistakes in the intregration of ERP and business software
Toshko Petkov, Partner “Business Consulting” at Next Consult, explains the usual mistakes in the intregration of business software systems

Realizing the risks of implementing ERP without proper preparation, Centillion decided to seek external counsel and analyze its current business processes. In this initial stage, the biggest challenge was getting everyone in the company on the same page about how these processes could look like in the future.

Ultimately, under the guidance of Next Consult, the project got to have a clear shape and was divided into 3 separate phases. Because of the commitment from all participating teams (Centillion, Next Consult, and SAP), the integration was completed in a record-breaking time and within the initial budget. 

Nikolay shared that one of the main reasons he chose working with Next Consult is because he saw a true partner in Next Consult and highlighted the strengths and expertise of  Jan Skravil.

“One of Jan’s main qualities is that he listens carefully, he is very adaptive and doesn’t try to impose his opinion. That’s exactly what I needed – someone with whom I can have an open discussion about various business challenges, so that later we can find the best possible solution together.”

Conclusion

All participants agreed that there are a few prerequisites for successful selection and implementation of business software solutions: 

  1. Clear strategy and goals for the project,
  2. Proper definition of requirements, 
  3. Choosing a system and a partner that can help you easily scale and expand the system’s functionality,
  4. Excellent project management and commitment from all teams during the implementation and go-live phases. 
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As for Centillion, in 2023, the company plans to re-invest a big part of its profits for further digitalization and optimization of processes.

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Next Consult is an experienced business and digital transformation consultancy, as well as a reputable partner of Salesforce, SAP, Tableau, UiPath, FinancialForce ERP.
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