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Article – Chemicals & SAP S/4HANA: The Winning Formula for R&D Transformation

Article – Chemicals & SAP S/4HANA: The Winning Formula for R&D Transformation

Chemicals & SAP S/4HANA: The Winning Formula for R&D Transformation

In today’s market, the stresses on chemical manufacturers are many. Supply chain disruption, demand for customization, and ever-present and changing regulations are forcing companies to rethink their digital strategies for product development. For SAP customers, the winning formula is S/4HANA and the intelligent enterprise.

From the very upstream of innovation where new product ideas are born through formulation, handover to manufacturing, and eventual product evolution, SAP provides a comprehensive, tightly integrated set of solutions to support new product development and product lifecycle management (PLM) programs.


Getting the data right.

The business case for SAP S/4HANA in R&D transformation projects is an integration story. PLM is data intensive. The native integration in SAP—particularly between specifications and materials—creates a data consistency from formulation through commercialization that no other platform can match without costly interfaces.

This single source of the truth for product data enables flexibility to effortlessly drive business processes across the organizations from R&D to manufacturing to regulatory, quality, supply chain, and other areas. Establishing this data foundation makes responding to product changes, synchronizing bills of materials, and authoring safety data sheets (SDS) much more efficient, which is critical in specialty chemical manufacturing.

To summarize, the business benefits are many with SAP’s integrated solution, including:

  • Accelerated speed to market and R&D responsiveness
  • Improved product quality
  • Reduced compliance risk
  • Streamlined operational efficiency
  • Increased traceability and visibility

So, how do you get there?

R&D transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a significant undertaking, particularly for global organizations on disparate platforms. However, here are four simple (but important) steps you can take to begin roadmapping your R&D transformation:

  1. Assess your current product development systems and the business processes they support.
  2. Take a product data health check. As stated, R&D transformation is data intensive and is usually the biggest variable in project effort, duration, and success. What are all the sources of product data? Is the data structured, unstructured or both?
  3. Understand the capabilities in S/4HANA and how they map to your current landscape and to-be processes.
  4. Be realistic. Take a walk before you run approach, incrementally addressing critical pain points first while envisioning your long-term strategic vision.

Linx-AS has been helping chemical companies get the most out of SAP for over 20 years. If you’d like to learn more about developing a road map for R&D transformation, contact us at or read about our PLM Vision Methodology.