IT VisionThe IT Strategy at FFC shall complement our Corporate Vision by business transformation through technology innovation, introducing best practices and connecting our processes for timely information and optimized performance to succeed in our endeavors.
The Company shall continue its focus on realignment of its IT capabilities with the corporate objectives. With the passage of time, our SAP ERP continued to mature while several new initiatives were undertaken to bring value to users, across the organization.
Business Planning and Consolidation
In order to enhance management control, a state of the art Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) solution has been implemented with the objective of providing online budget preparation and monitoring.
The implementation of SAP BPC solution is the first of its kind in Pakistan. Coordinated from HO, FFC users joined from all over Pakistan t to carry out the system implementation. The method, though challenging, reduced the cost of implementation manifolds.
Shipment Planning and Processing Application (SPPA)
Several initiatives centered on improved intercompany accounts, credit and transportation management were undertaken and completed.
In relation to transportation cost which represents the largest component of distribution cost, a custom application "Shipment Planning and Processing Application" (SPPA) was made available to users in FFC for optimization and better management of the transportation function.
Mobility & GIS
The first step towards a mobile enabled business was undertaken by connecting SAP database with SMS service, for timely availability of sales orders and shipment information to our marketing field force.
Another application was designed in coordination with marketing and the R&D cell at HO, utilizing databases of soil analysis with a Web based GIS map of Pakistan. The application has the potential of becoming a potent tool at all levels of the sales and marketing function. Mobile applications have also been deployed for recording and retrieving soil analysis data based on GPS coordinates.
The application will considerably enhance accuracy of recommendations made to farmers.
Enterprise Central Component 6.0
A major advantage of SAP is access to latest enhancements of business solutions. In order to leverage this facility, SAP ERP was upgraded to the latest enhancement package of Enterprise Central Component (ECC 6.0).
The upgrade will not only bring technical benefits but also introduce new functionality. This highly technical upgrade exercise was led by an internal FFC team with significant cost savings in the consulting fee.
Material Requirement Planning (MRP)
All purchasing and inventory control functions have been brought under ‘SAP Materials Management’, enhancing visibility and improving control over inventory management functions. The module has the potential of bringing significant benefits by reducing inventory levels.
KPI Monitoring Dashboards
With streamlined business functions and reliable data capture and processing in order, attention was focused on providing rich and powerful reporting capabilities to management.
Custom designed KPI dashboards were deployed for Plants, Marketing and Finance users providing management tools for quick performance reviews and rapidly zeroing in on areas of attention.
IT Strategy - Legacy Applications
FFC’s core business applications have already been absorbed into SAP - ERP. However, some residual applications remain. These ‘Legacy Applications’ have high costs of ownership and therefore hinder the purpose of an ERP.
FFC is following a well-defined strategy of either incorporating these applications in SAP or developing new applications tightly integrated with SAP and hosted at the central data center.
Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Applications – Occupational Health & Safety
Recognizing the importance of HSE, FFC has developed a web based solution to centralize, streamline and standardize occupational health and safety (OH&S) data management across the organization’s operations.
The system is developed on a distributed architecture scaling down to meet increasing data requirements while providing a secure and rich user experience. The interface assists end users in performing day-to-day OH&S related tasks with minimal guidance.
Workflow engines available in the system then routes the OH&S process documents for review/approval and notifications/ alerts are generated through email. Centralized reporting on real time data provided by the system assists in timely decision making and compliance with OH&S standards.
Information Technology Governance
Information technology governance at FFC provides advice, oversight and contributes to the overall strategic decision making by the management keeping in view the impact of information technology on shareholder value and returns.
FFC’s IT Governance practices encompasses,
- Engaging stakeholders to establish priorities for technology investment that are aligned with institutional goals and priorities
- Influence the development and design of technology services, policies and solutions
- IT governance promotes transparency, accountability and dialogue about technology that facilitates effective strategy adoption
- Ensuring compatibility, integration and avoiding redundancy
- Maximizing return on technology investment and controlling spending, while providing FFC with a coherent, integrated IT architecture and management structure
- Securing the Company’s data
- Keeping the IT function proactive from an innovation perspective, providing ideas to the business
Risk management is the process of identifying vulnerabilities and threats to the information resources used by an organization in achieving business objectives, and deciding what countermeasures, if any, to take in mitigating risk to an acceptable level, based on the value of the information resource.
After the implementation of SAP as a backbone ERP system in FFC, dependency of imperative and usual business transactions on the system have become a prime driving force for optimizing business continuity and efficiency. With emergence of technological innovations, associated risks are emerging at a rapid pace and with respect to business continuity there are inherent risks including virus outbreaks, power outages, equipment breakdowns etc.
FFC IT has undertaken adequate measures to minimize risks using both strategic and operational controls. With the introduction of a state-of-the-art data center, probability of downtime due to equipment breakdown has reduced radically. Multiple UPS and power generators are in place to overcome issues arising due to power failure. Industry grade antivirus solution, Intrusion Prevention System and firewalls have been deployed to restrict virus outbreak in the computing environment. For monitoring incidents occurring on network, a Monitoring, Analysis and Response System has been placed in the network topology. A highly efficient data backup system ensures safeguarding of data against corruption.
As part of Business Continuity Planning, a Disaster Recovery site (DR) has also been established to further strengthen the availability of SAP services in case of a disaster. This site hosts backup servers for shifting of services during a disaster. A comprehensive set of policies and procedures have also been implemented to ensure hassle free movement of transactions from prime site to DR site. Detailed responsibilities, actions and procedures have been defined to recover computer, communications and network environment in the event of an unexpected and unscheduled interruption. An organization wide information security department has also been established for enhancing overall security posture of the organization.