Skip to main content

Charting a Path to Transformation with Komatsu

By September 22, 2019October 22nd, 2019No Comments

The road to digital transformation can feel like a narrow one — or at least a long and winding one.

And the clock is ticking. Worldwide digital transformation spending is expected to reach nearly $2 trillion by 2022. Organizational lifespans are shortening because of digital disruption, with the average tenure of S&P 500 companies predicted to shrink from 24 years in 2016 to just 12 years by 2027. There’s no excuse for delay.

But how can you make sure you’re on the right track? How can you ensure an efficient and successful transformation?

That’s the challenge Komatsu — a leading manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving, construction and mining equipment based in Tokyo — faced when trying to implement SAP Cloud Platform and Distributor Portal for use by its 34 North American distributor customers.

Over the years, cumbersome order processes marked by myriad manual steps and a lack of visibility had begun to chip away at customer experience and satisfaction. Komatsu’s 20-plus-year-old legacy systems needed to evolve — and quickly.

“For us, the complexity of this implementation was very, very high, and so was the expectation,” said Daphyne Woodard, who manages Komatsu’s distribution business. “I’m not an IT person by any means. My career has been solely focused on developing distributors over the past 13 years. We had to pull this off.”

Building the Intelligent Enterprise — Literally

After researching potential options, the Komatsu team selected Dickinson & Associates for revamp and implementation. The Chicago-based company has focused on streamlining business processes and reducing operational costs through delivery of SAP solutions for more than two decades. But the partnership was about much more than experience.

“It was clear from the start that they knew their business, but more importantly, they weren’t there to sell,” Woodard said. “They were just there to help. They educated us on the agile approach necessary and how it would work. We needed someone who could really deliver, and I had no doubt they would do exactly that.”

The SAP Cloud Platform and Distributor Portal has transformed the order experience for Komatsu’s customers. Once trained in the system, they can create orders on any device in any location or view real-time inventory, order statuses and product catalog information with just a few clicks. By leveraging collaborative workflows, automated business rule validation and product allocation algorithms, the Distributor Portal streamlines the order fulfillment process significantly.

When the project kicked off in May 2017, Komatsu had the lofty goal of implementing SAP Cloud Platform and training all of its distributor customers in the portal by April 2018. They finished way ahead of schedule.

“We had planned to do it all by April, and we got it done by Dec. 5,” Woodard said. “Every day I was bringing somebody on board. Dickinson & Associates enabled an unbelievable success story.”

Walking the Road Together

Today, the Distributor Portal is actively used by approximately 1,200 users across 34 distributors as well as Komatsu employees internally, including customer services representatives, production planners and sales managers.

Komatsu has seen 100% adoption across its North American distributor base and 93% customer satisfaction following all of the training. Users have also seen a 40% reduction in time spent during order entry thanks to the transformation.

The project’s success is ultimately a story of partnership and trust, one that pulled them out of the past and planted them firmly on solid ground for the future.

“It’s absolutely critical to foster collaborative relationships like this one amidst the digital transformation,” Woodard said. “Everyone involved must buy in to what’s happening, internally and externally, for it to truly work.”  

Building the Intelligent Enterprise is about much more than automating processes or systems. It’s about envisioning the future — and creating it — together with partners, customers and everyone across the ecosystem. It’s going to take innovation, collaboration and commitment to make it happen.

“You need champions,” said Robert Jerome, vice president of innovation and technology at Dickinson & Associates. “You have to have decision makers who can say, ‘I believe in this. We can do this.’ Daphyne was 100% that person for us.”

It’s not about the path being narrow, or long and winding. It’s about the path being one that only you can walk.



Leave a Reply