WayEx Pty Ltd was a manufacturing and mining company, which was regarded as a leader in its industry. Its existing ERP system had been in place for over 10 years, and during this time there had been no significant change to the original design of the solution. The system was heavily customised, and had resulted in an inability to keep up to date with the formal patches from the vendor. It was eventually considered appropriate that WayEx replace its existing ERP. Reason for the upgrade was therefore risk based, and not for purposes of re-engineering the existing business processes. SAP was chosen as the ERP system of choice to replace the existing system.

The scope of the SAP implementation covered the following functional areas: financial accounting, controlling, sales and distribution, materials management, production planning and project systems. At the time, WayEx employed 6000 employees and operated across 14 different geographical locations in South Africa and 2 locations internationally. The project team comprised 32 people and was a mix of company and vendor resources. Time taken to design, build and implement was 2 years.

Due to their experience in successfully delivering change management for SAP implementations, Change Systems was awarded the contract to fulfil the end-to-end change function on the project. This included the management of other change vendors in the training and communication fields. They were involved on the project from the strategy and planning phase through to the implementation phase.


Under the guidance of Change Systems, the team adopted a change methodology that was a blend of the Change Systems methodology, WayEx’s own internal methodology and the SAP ASAP implementation methodology.

WayEx had embarked on a culture-transformation journey in the late 1990’s which had established new organisational practices and channels for communicating with employees. Change Systems understood the value of leveraging off established practices and channels rather than recreating new ones for the sake of the project. As these new practices were fully adopted by management and employees alike, they were the obvious communication platform for the change team to use.

A number of internal change management sensitisation workshops with project members and key WayEx stakeholders were facilitated by Change Systems. This promoted a good understanding of the importance of change management, and the approach which would be adopted on the project.

Change Systems worked with the various work streams during the project planning phases to ensure that roles and responsibilities were clear amongst project members. These sessions ensured there was alignment between the company resources and vendor resources and created momentum for the project.

The change team itself consisted of experienced change practitioners. Everyone on the team had had exposure to managing change of a transformational nature (impacting processes, systems and people).

Change Systems stressed the importance of the change management team having its own dedicated budget for the work stream. This proved invaluable at a later phase in the project when further funding was required in other work streams, and the change stream was not compromised with funds being taken away from them. They came in on budget due to detailed planning and management of funds.

The lead change manager from Change Systems was appointed to represent change on the Steering Committee, the highest decision making forum on the project. During these sessions she presented overall change management progress and ensured that all issues raised received focus and attention. In addition she had direct access to the Executive Sponsor and was integrally involved with coaching him on the various leadership challenges that were experienced on the project.

A formal project management approach to executing the change management activities was adopted. Project plans were put in place with clear milestones and dates. Status and risk reporting was a regular output of the change team. The lead Change Systems change manager reported directly to the overall programme manager appointed for the journey.

One of the most critical change activities was to understand the impact of the overall change from the current ERP system to SAP. Workshops were held across the various sites to understand the impact of SAP on business processes and roles, and to document these in detail. This was a key input to planning the communication and training requirements for the project. With Change Systems having had previous experience in SAP implementations, they were geared to define the most suitable change impact approach and to ensure the right questions where posed during these sessions to ensure all impacts were gathered and understood.

Change ambassadors were appointed at all of the operating sites, due to the unique sub-cultures prevalent at each of the operations. These individuals were respected at their respective site and asked to champion the ERP implementation locally. Change Systems provided them with the necessary training, communication and tools to assist them in these roles. These ambassadors were extremely effective platforms when it came to overcoming resistance at an individual level, and expedited understanding and buy-in at the local level.


Business results

  • Delivery of the change management work stream activities according to plan, and within budget.

  • The creation of a compelling business case for change which was shared across the company.

  • A simple process for understanding the change impacts as a result of moving to SAP.

  • Seamless integration of the change and communication approach with the existing platforms, thereby increasing overall adoption.

  • Training developed according to changed business processes with the system impact incorporated in these training modules.

  • Job profiles updated to incorporate changes to employee roles.

  • Simple yet comprehensive user guides which were available for access on the intranet.

  • Full attendance of all impacted employees at user training sessions.

  • Hand holding sessions during the go-live phase to overcome initial teething problems.

  • Overall employee satisfaction (as measured by a project survey) on the approach taken to project communication and training.

  • SAP system adoption of 70% of users as measured during the first quarter post go-live.

  • An overall improvement in MIS availability and accuracy as measured within 6 months of go-live.

  • SAP functionality which was built along best practice industry processes with minimal customisation.

The Change Systems value add

    Change Systems was successful in this project for the following reasons:

  • Their deep change management expertise, combined with SAP implementation experience.

  • Their understanding of the SAP ASAP methodology and SAP functionality and modules.

  • Their proven track record in the manufacturing and mining sector.

  • Their experienced team of change practitioners.

  • Their ability to manage large teams of resources, including other vendor companies.

  • Their project management approach to delivering change (structure, budget management, reporting).