Who is Sonepar? 

Sonepar is a global market leader in the electrical engineering sector. The family business, headquartered in Paris, supplies installers and industrial customers all over the world as a wholesaler. In the Netherlands Sonepar is known as the Technische Unie. For this project we collaborated with Sonepar Germany. Sonepar works with a large network of suppliers, where online trade is becoming increasingly important. Good master data management is essential for this. 

What is the challenge? 

Sonepar Germany now works with a self-built master data management system for supplier and product data, which no longer fits the current market. Not only are there few people present who have knowledge of their OLAV system, the software supplier also no longer supports the system. Sonepar created the desire for a completely new master data management (MDM) system. Sonepar has a network of 20,000 suppliers, for which correct address, mail and bank details must be kept. This concerns external suppliers, but also suppliers for internal use, such as coffee machines and building maintenance. 

In addition, discount agreements in the electrical industry are very important. Articles are classified in specific discount groups and agreements are made with the suppliers (purchase) and the customer (sales) on the basis of this. These agreements are sometimes very complex. In addition to the basic agreements, Sonepar has to deal with bonuses and special projects with suppliers. The system must be able to provide good insight into these agreements. This requires one system that contains all the basic data of suppliers and articles. 

The OLAV system does not meet the current validation requirements for high quality data and is outdated in use. That is why Sonepar asked us to build a new master data management system. 

How do we provide the solution? 

Squadra MDM Factory implements master data solutions that support the business objectives. In doing so, we work closely with our customers and platforms to translate designs into the real world. In this case, an MDM solution for Sonepar. Our colleagues from Squadra MDM are specialized in analysing master data management and have been playing an advisory role at Sonepar for years. They performed the first analyses of the existing OLAV system and made a global design for the new solution. This analysis and design is the starting point for us at Squadra MDM Factory when building the replacement system.  Stibo STEP was chosen for the construction of the new MDM system. 

The project for Sopenar proceeds in different phases, namely supplier, product, and integration. In phase 1, the data for suppliers and discounts are managed in STEP and forwarded to OLAV. In phase 2, the product data is added to STEP. In these two phases, OLAV still forwards the data to other systems, such as the ERP system. At the same time, the old ERP system is also being replaced by SAP. In phase 3, a direct link is made from STEP to SAP. This is a platform for integrating master data. In the summer of 2022, we built and tested the STEP system for Sonepar for phase 1, including the data transfer from STEP to OLAV. 

We also trained key users. By training key users, Sonepar can work independently with the new system. During the first import of data from OLAV to STEP, all records are checked against the new quality requirements. After that, new supplier data is only managed in STEP and forwarded to OLAV. 

In phase 2 we will also add products in addition to supplier data. When this is in order, we start phase 3. We cut OLAV from the system and link all data directly to the new SAP system. 

What is the result? 

With STEP, Sonepar has a completely renewed technical platform with internal knowledge of the system and support by modern software. It is a huge step in technology compared to the old system and has a fresh and user-friendly interface. The switch to the new system makes it possible to perform quality checks, validate data and remove unnecessary information or inactive suppliers. In addition, we provide aftercare to Sonepar, so that we can respond quickly in the event of a malfunction, for example. The high quality of the supplier and product data provides more insight into the agreements, which ensures a faster process and indirectly benefits the turnover. Sonepar is so enthusiastic about the system that there is interest in expanding it in other countries. 

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