A few years ago, Georgia-Pacific began its digital transformation efforts in earnest by examining its global supply chain to identify ways it could eliminate manual and low-value tasks, optimize its use of data, move to the cloud and improve its customer experience.

Georgia-Pacific defines customer experience as all interactions and all events throughout its value chain that have an impact on its commitments to a customer, Robert Cullens, senior vice president and CIO of information technology, Georgia-Pacific LLC, told DigitalCxO. “Increased visibility throughout the value chain has enhanced our ability to react to events that could, and sometimes do, cause disruptions,” he said.

According to the company, Georgia-Pacific’s Packaging and Cellulose business had been running on an aging set of software applications with differing processes and applications used throughout the business. Renee Valgoi, senior vice president of finance at Georgia-Pacific Packaging & Cellulose, said this made adopting new technologies and practices more challenging recently.

To help streamline its applications and processes, Georgia-Pacific’s Packaging and Cellulose business deployed Infor’s CloudSuite enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. One of the primary reasons Georgia-Pacific’s Packaging and Cellulose business chose CloudSuite was, as Cullens put it, their belief that multi-tenant software-as-service delivers ongoing access to new software innovations. Georgia-Pacific’s Packaging business provides paperboard that is converted into boxes, paper plates and cups. Its Cellulose business produces fluff pulp used in diapers and incontinence items and market pulp used for making paper.

Infor’s CloudSuite ERP provides such capabilities as financial management, supply chain management, human capital management, manufacturing, project management and analytics. Pat Boushka, executive vice president of Georgia-Pacific’s Packaging & Cellulose business, said the software will help the company consolidate systems into a single platform that will help the company improve customer service.

In the first phase of the implementation, Georgia-Pacific Packaging deployed CloudSuite, including Supply Chain Planning, Enterprise Performance Management, Factory Track, and Yard Management, to provide the primary platform for its mill-based businesses. For Georgia-Pacific Cellulose, including four large pulp mills that operate 24 hours a day, the team switched to the cloud software without disrupting production. The CloudSuite deployment also included offices in Switzerland, Uruguay and China, and the headquarters in Atlanta.

“All new system implementations bring about significant change to ‘the way we do it’; however, we limited the disruption by being diligent in our change management, testing and training practices. The standardization of a cloud-based ERP also helped limit unneeded customizations, which was key to simplifying the solution,” Cullens explained.

According to Georgia-Pacific, moving to a single platform and streamlining processes will help consolidate their efforts and retire 90% of their older legacy applications previously used. Infor’s M3 ERP system and associated edge applications will be the new core system. “Ultimately, we will replace approximately 70 legacy systems that accumulated over time. These systems span customer experience, order management, supply chain, finance and other areas. We believe that by consolidating systems, we will improve both the productivity of our employees and the experience we can provide to our customers,” Cullens said.

Overall, Georgia-Pacific’s Packaging and Cellulose business anticipates that Infor CloudSuite will help to improve business processes through the implementation of best practices for order management, customer service, supply chain and accounting, as well as supporting centers of excellence. The system will provide a single source of information for staff and others to rely on for advanced analytics, provide end-to-end order visibility to its customers, and improve order fulfillment predictability.

Going forward, Georgia-Pacific’s Valgoi told DigitalCxO that they will begin optimization of their deployment throughout the fourth quarter of 2023, and phase two will begin once that optimization work is complete. Valgoi says the second phase will bring similar functionality to Georgia-Pacific Packaging and Cellulose as the first phase.

In addition to its move to cloud computing with its ERP software, Georgia-Pacific started its digital transformation years ago with a deep view into data within its global supply chain, focusing on optimizing its manufacturing operations, capitalizing on complex data collection and analytics efforts, and centralized data governance.

Digital transformation initiatives are a critical focus for business leaders; and the global investment in digital transformation within manufacturing is expected to reach $734 billion by 2028 and $4 trillion by 2033, up from $308 billion this year, according to the market research firm Future Market Insights.