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Consumer products

For future generations, Aligro opts for the latest SAP S/4HANA ERP environment (brownfield)

Published on 11/17/2022

Initial situation

In 1902, a lady named Aline Demaurex opened a small grocery store in the small village of Gilly (VD). As a result, she was the sole provider for her six children. She probably never imagined she’d be laying the cornerstone for a nationwide enterprise. In the 1950s, his grandson, Pierre Demaurex, turned this business model into a wholesale operation. The company was renamed Aligro, and in 1966 opened one of Switzerland’s first self-service wholesale outlets in Geneva.

A family business

Today, Aligro shares with TopCC and Prodega the leading position in the Swiss wholesale self-service market. Foster care at this French-speaking wholesaler is unique, as Stephan Caïtucoli, SAP Manager at Aligro, explains. “Often, customers or suppliers visit one of our stores and ask employees how their family is doing, or vice versa. This intimacy is very important to us.” The family-run business, now in its fourth generation, has 14 locations throughout Switzerland and employs around 1,000 people. In 2017, Aligro acquired wholesale self-service company Cash + Carry Angehrn (CCA) and its 370 employees from Migros.

ERP modernization

Every day, the wholesaler records 8,500 incoming goods. Until recently, the SAP ECC ERP system ensured the smooth running of day-to-day operations. “We were well positioned and had efficient processes in place, but our future development options seemed limited,” recalls Stephan Caïtucoli.


According to Danilo Demaurex, Deputy IT Director at Aligro, migration to a modern ERP system is a strategic choice. “We’re preparing for the future, and IT plays an essential role in this, in terms of digitization, standardized data collection as a basis for decision-making, but also in terms of the quality of core processes. What’s more, our customers’ expectations and needs are changing. A modern ERP system has therefore become an essential element of our company’s strategy, enabling us to offer new services.”

Modern data flow

In Aligro’s case, the latest generation of SAP’s ERP system, S / 4HANA, enables Aligro’s current generic data model and processes to be upgraded to a specialized retail model. This strengthens the flow of information from supplier to customer, and is of interest if Aligro wishes to reshape integration with points of sale and the management of assortments and promotions, which are sometimes handled in additional applications. Stephan Caïtucoli aims to exploit Big Data. “Our data volume is enormous and needs to be made available to a wide variety of departments. To be able to continue to guarantee this level of service in the future, we need to strengthen centralization on our SAP platform. We now need to integrate much of our business knowledge into a powerful enterprise software system.”

“Big Data, the Internet of Things, improved planning, end-to-end process automation: thanks to SAP S/4HANA, everything is now possible.”

Stephan Caïtucoli

SAP Manager, Aligro


On April 1, 2021, the SAP ECC ERP system used until now will be replaced by its successor :
SAP S / 4HANA. For the migration, it was essential that existing business processes were not changed more than necessary during implementation. That’s why Stephan Caïtucoli and his team opted for the Brownfield method, a purely technical migration. “This variant makes it possible to carry out the migration largely in the background.
tables, which is why most of the processes and interfaces are being retained for the time being,” explains Stephan Caïtucoli. “All our 240 users were able to continue working as usual throughout the migration, with no technical interruptions. What’s more, the migration took just nine months.”​

Two methods for technical migration

This process generally requires fewer resources than the Greenfield method, which involves rebuilding the entire ERP system. The latter method is ideal for replacing a complex software environment that has grown up over the years with a simple system. For this project, Aligro was supported by SAP partner TeamWork, with 20 sites worldwide.

SAP Partner

With over 20 offices worldwide, TeamWork is a global player. TeamWork, with Swiss offices in Berne, Zurich and Geneva, has been focusing on SAP projects in Switzerland and on the international market since 1999. Working with this SAP consultancy, Aligro’s IT department drew up a four-part project roadmap, which was delivered on time and on budget. “TeamWork provided us with indispensable support. The project team convinced us with their proactivity, anticipation and vast experience,” concludes Stephan Caïtucoli.


The new system was deployed in 2021. The following year, Aligro studied the potential of other innovation steps, such as Fiori, the latest generation of SAP user interfaces. Danilo Demaurex is confident. “With SAP S / 4HANA, we have a powerful, centralized tool for our most common processes, such as orders or finance. What’s more, this system enables us to gradually identify how we can better support our key processes.”

A smart company

“Improving our customer service allows us to position ourselves differently and better, and to stand out from the competition. This helps us not only to retain our existing customers, but also to win new ones,” explains Danilo Demaurex. Stephan Caïtucoli, SAP Manager, is also convinced that the new ERP system represents a new technical and economic milestone in the company’s history. “Big Data, Internet of Things, predictive and enhanced planning, end-to-end process automation,
end-to-end integration of customer and supplier relationships: SAP S/4HANA makes it all possible. Thanks to process scalability and regular release updates, we expect to see a marked improvement in our ability to innovate over the long term.”

A scalable system

New processes, an intuitive user experience, high performance and integrated analytics ensure the company’s long-term future. “With SAP S / 4HANA, we’re at the cutting edge of technology, and able to exploit future innovations not yet developed today. What’s more, SAP offers a simple connection to other tools,” explains Stephan Caïtucoli. The family business now has a highly scalable system, and is perfectly prepared for the next generation.

“Improving our customer service allows us not only to retain our existing customers, but also to win new ones.”

Danilo Demaurex

Assistant IT Manager, Aligro