As part of its drive towards digitalisation for enhanced productivity, efficiency and sustainability, Hela Apparel Holdings completed the first phase of its global implementation of SAP S/4HANA®, an enterprise application suite developed by SAP, on 4th October 2022. With this, Hela becomes the first company to implement SAP S/4HANA® for fashion and vertical business in Sri Lanka.
As a leading apparel supply chain solutions provider to global brands, Hela is continuously investing in digitalisation initiatives to strengthen its capabilities to innovate faster and better serve its portfolio of clients. The implementation of the SAP S/4HANA® platform is the centrepiece of these efforts and in 2021 the company partnered with attune – a Rizing company, and leading SAP solutions provider for fashion and lifestyle industries, to support this process.
Following a sixteen-month preparation period, the digital solution has now been taken live in the Hela Kidswear cluster and is expected to be fully implemented across all parts of the business by March 2023. This will transform the company’s operations by enabling real-time inventory visibility and order confirmations, and is expected to further improve on-time delivery performance.
Sanath Amaratunga, CEO of Hela Kidswear said: “We expect our digital transformation journey to help us be more data-driven and agile, placing us in a stronger position to navigate the challenges ahead while strengthening our value proposition. The implementation of SAP S/4HANA® at Hela Kidswear offers greater opportunities for continuous innovation and cloud readiness.”
The SAP S/4HANA® platform will serve as a robust digital core for Hela, which can be seamlessly integrated with other applications to further streamline processes across its operations. To this end, Hela signed an enterprise agreement with H-One to host SAP S/4HANA® on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform earlier this year, while Atria will provide the company with a cutting-edge suite of business analytics by connecting SAP with Microsoft Power BI through a Microsoft Azure Data Factory.
SAP S/4HANA® will be integrated with a number of the existing digital systems in place across Hela, including Coats Digital Fast React Systems – a garment production planning software, and a digital HR solution built by MiHCM. Hela has also designed and developed its own state-of-the-art Manufacturing Execution System, which is tightly integrated with the SAP platform to provide factory floor visibility and insights. This solution provides a digital scanning platform based on QR codes within all of the plant material flow operations, capturing real-time production updates.
To support the SAP S/4HANA® implementation and the company’s wider digital transformation, Hela partnered with Dialog Axiata Wireless Networking for international and local internet connectivity support and SORTI Mobi Control for mobile device management. Standard Chartered, HSBC, Sampath Bank, NDB, and Commercial Bank have also supported Hela in the integration of MT940 SWIFT.
Ruwanthi Fernando, Chief Information & Process Officer for Hela said: “Our IT platform is key to driving our strategy by supporting innovation, digitalisation, and scalability. Digitising end-to-end processes with a digital core empowered by SAP S/4HANA® and other integrations has given us the transparency and flexibility we need to future-proof the business and support our continued growth. We look forward to rolling out these solutions to the rest of the company in the coming months. This will allow us to facilitate greater innovation and help us meet the rapidly evolving market conditions and global supply chain disruptions that require real-time decision making.”
Hela Apparel Holdings PLC is a social capital-focused company built on the principles of inclusivity, equality, and climate stability. With over three decades of industry experience, Hela focuses on building strategic partnerships with global brands to provide apparel supply chain solutions with distinctive advantages. The organisation has a global presence with 11 manufacturing facilities across Sri Lanka, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Egypt, as well as design centres in Sri Lanka, the US, the UK, and France, providing direct employment to over 20,000 people. Innovative, ethical, and sustainable apparel manufacturing is at the centre of Hela’s operations. With numerous accolades for sustainability, the organization was recently endorsed as a signatory to the UN Global Compact and was awarded the ISO 14064-1:2018 certification for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions across the Group