From Chocolates to ERP: Hershey’s Transformation Tale

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  • Nov 23, 2021

From Chocolates to ERP: Hershey’s Transformation Tale

In the late 90s, the world of technology and the delightful realm of chocolates converged in a gripping narrative. This is the tale of Hershey’s ambitious ERP Implementation. Let’s embark on this sweet yet tumultuous journey.


Historical Context

Founded in 1894 by Milton S. Hershey, Hershey’s has etched its name as one of the world’s premier chocolate manufacturers. From its modest inception in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the company has expanded its global footprint, offering an array of delectable products. Over the decades, Hershey’s has been emblematic of not just chocolates, but also innovation and adaptability in the confectionery realm. This rich history underscores the significance of the transformative journey Hershey’s undertook with their ERP implementation.

Why ERP?

As the 20th century drew to a close, businesses worldwide were in a race to evolve and adapt. The quest for integrated operations, enhanced efficiency, and a competitive edge was paramount. Hershey’s, with its illustrious legacy, was no different. Their motivation for an ERP system was multi-faceted:

  1.  Competition: Rivals were harnessing technology to carve out a competitive advantage.
  2.  Modernization: The legacy systems at Hershey’s were becoming obsolete.
  3.  Streamlining Operations: An integrated system like ERP promised cohesion and agility across their vast global operations.
The Sweet Ambitions of Hershey’s

In the enchanting universe of chocolates and candies, Hershey’s harbored a dream: to revolutionize their operations, spanning from order-taking to delivery. Their chosen tool for this massive overhaul? An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. With a substantial budget in hand and aspirations reaching the skies, they embarked on a mission to integrate and upgrade their existing systems.

The Chocolaty Blend of Systems

For the tech enthusiasts: Hershey’s cherry-picked three pivotal solutions – SAP’s R/3 ERP software, Siebel’s CRM system, and Manugistics’ supply chain solutions. It’s akin to blending dark, milk, and white chocolate into a harmonious concoction.

Time Crunch & The Great Easter Mishap

Hershey’s audacious move to roll out all these systems simultaneously was commendable. However, aiming to achieve this in a mere 15-month window was perhaps a tad overambitious. The fallout? They couldn’t make deliveries for the crucial Easter season, a blunder equivalent to Santa skipping Christmas!

The Aftermath

As Halloween dawned, Hershey’s witnessed a staggering 12% drop in sales. Their stock value plummeted by 30%. To put it in perspective, imagine a significant shortage of candy bars during the festive season!

What Melted Away?

So, where did things go awry? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. Simultaneous Implementation: Launching multiple systems at once can be as chaotic as trying every chocolate flavor simultaneously.
  2. Limited Testing: The stringent timeline resulted in inadequate testing. Just as chocolates need their setting time, systems need their testing time.
  3. Training Challenges: A system, no matter how advanced, is only as effective as its users. Insufficient training meant that while the technology was ready, the users lagged behind.
Lessons to Lick From the Bowl

This story, while cautionary, is filled with valuable insights for businesses venturing into ERP:

  1. Phase it Out: Take it slow. Implement in stages to ensure seamless integration and adequate testing.
  2. Emphasize Training: The success of a system largely depends on its users’ proficiency.
  3. Prioritize Testing: Always test your systems rigorously, just as you’d taste-test a dish before serving.
The Sweet Comeback

Fast-forward a bit, and Hershey’s made a commendable comeback. They recognized that while technology holds transformative power, its successful implementation demands patience, meticulous planning, and thorough preparation.


The Fizzy Lifting Drinks of Testing

Picture this: You’re in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and there’s a room filled with fizzy lifting drinks. You know they’re tempting, but you’ve also heard the cautionary tale of Charlie and Grandpa Joe floating dangerously close to the ceiling. ERP testing is a bit like those fizzy lifting drinks. In the world of ERP, thorough testing is your secret sauce for success. Skipping it is like sipping on a fizzy lifting drink without considering the consequences. You might find yourself floating in a predicament, wondering how you got there. So, before you hit that launch button, remember to test rigorously. It’s your chance to ensure everything runs as smoothly as a river of chocolate in Wonka’s factory. Test, refine, and test some more to guarantee a delightful ERP experience.

The Invisibility Cloak of Data Security

In the enchanting world of Willy Wonka, there was one precious item that needed utmost protection – the Everlasting Gobstopper. It was the crown jewel of Wonka’s creations, and he went to great lengths to keep it safe from prying eyes. Likewise, in the ERP universe, your sensitive business data deserves its very own invisibility cloak. Prioritize cybersecurity to shield your valuable secrets from the snooping Veruca Salts of the digital world. Just as Wonka was meticulous about guarding his Gobstopper, be equally vigilant about safeguarding your data. It’s the recipe to your success, after all!

The Chocolate River of ROI

Imagine a river of liquid chocolate flowing through your business, filling your coffers with sweet returns. That’s what a well-implemented ERP system can be – a delicious source of ROI. But, just as Willy Wonka monitored every drop of his chocolate river, you must keep a close eye on your return on investment. Treat your ERP journey like savoring a Wonka Bar – it should be rewarding, delightful, and leave you craving for more. Analyze your costs, measure your gains, and ensure that the chocolate river of ROI keeps flowing. After all, a successful ERP is as sweet as a mouthful of Wonka’s finest chocolate.

The Great Glass Elevator of Progress

Willy Wonka’s Great Glass Elevator was no ordinary lift. It soared to new heights, exploring uncharted territories. Similarly, a well-implemented ERP system can elevate your business to greater success. Embrace the ERP journey with the curiosity of Charlie and the adventurous spirit of Willy Wonka. Who knows where this Great Glass Elevator of Progress will take you? It could be the key to unlocking new horizons, expanding your business, and reaching heights you’ve only dreamed of. So, step in, press the button, and let the ERP elevator carry you to a world of endless possibilities. In the ERP Chocolate Factory, just as in Hershey’s ERP saga, there’s a perfect blend of technology, tradition, and a sprinkle of magic. So, as you venture into the world of ERP, remember to keep things sweet, stay patient, and let the ERP golden ticket take you on a delightful ride to business success! After all, in the world of business, every success story is as sweet as a chocolate bar from your favorite chocolatier! Navigating through this chocolate-laden tech narrative, one realizes that blending tradition with innovation demands meticulous orchestration. For businesses venturing into SAP and ERP realms, Hershey’s saga serves as a guiding light, ensuring every endeavor mirrors the joy of biting into a cherished chocolate bar. In the intricate tapestry of ERP, akin to the world of chocolates, understanding the ingredients, mastering the process, and allowing the magic to unfold organically is pivotal. Be it crafting a divine chocolate bar or a triumphant ERP rollout, patience, and precision are paramount. Happy implementing!