Maximizing the Value of M&A Through Technology
How Dickinson + Associates, a Navisite company, helped one company build an acquisition playbook with SAP technology to support rapid integration and standardization.
Every merger and acquisition is unique. But that doesn’t mean growing middle-market firms need to reinvent the wheel for every acquisition. Instead, Pregis LLC relies on an acquisition playbook and SAP technology to support rapid integration and standardization. Using a playbook, Pregis has completed acquisitions in as little as 90 days.
Pregis, a leading manufacturer and provider of protective products and innovative packaging solutions, is growing aggressively with acquisitions as its core strategy. The firm, sponsored by global private equity firm Warburg Pincus since 2019, has completed eight acquisitions in only six years with a top-end value of $100 million.
Through its acquisitions, Pregis has shifted from a product-based company to a solutions-and services- based company in different verticals and go-to-market channels. Most recently, Pregis acquired the technology to manufacture the EverTec® mailer and also opened a 300,000-square-foot facility to expand manufacturing capacity with plans for two more facilities.
In addition to manufacturing and products, Pregis’ IQ Center, located in Illinois, provides a collaborative physical environment in which customers work through business challenges and solutions. The firm leverages learnings from customers to continually enhance their platform.
Creating Value for PE Firms Quickly
To drive value to private equity owners as soon as possible, acquisition speed is critical. To help it integrate its acquisitions seamlessly and meet its growth goals, Pregis turned to Dickinson + Associates, an SAP Gold Partner. Dickinson + Associates helps clients analyze challenges and goals and then recommends SAP solutions and other services based on this analysis.
We can customize our SAP platform to fit our business as our needs change or to meet unique requirements. The platform is easy to scale up, add to or expand. SAP is the digital core that glues our acquisitions together and supports our aggressive growth strategy.
Vice President and CIO, Pregis
For Pregis, Dickinson + Associates recommended the SAP S/4HANA platform as the best digital solution for Pregis’ platform-based approach to market growth and expansion. It’s been an excellent fit. “We can customize our SAP platform to fit our business as our needs change or to meet unique requirements. The platform is easy to scale up, add to or expand,” says Jeffrey Mueller, vice president and CIO, Pregis. “SAP is the digital core that glues our acquisitions together and supports our aggressive growth strategy.”
Dickinson + Associates, a Navisite company, has been a full-service SAP partner for more than 20 years, providing its clients with end-to-end support, from initial engagement to selecting the right software to integrating the platforms and post-deployment optimization.
Flexibility and nimbleness are key characteristics of the SAP platform, notes Brad Wolfe, vice president, corporate development, Dickinson + Associates. That flexibility is a key benefit for Pregis. “Our core processes are incorporated into our acquisition template, but the platform is flexible so that we can adjust the template as our business needs change,” adds Mueller.
Information is power, and with a consistent data model, Pregis is now able to access data across the enterprise and is confident that data is secure against cyberattacks or security breaches.
Pregis relies heavily on its technology platform when sizing up a potential acquisition. “One of our most important considerations is to make sure that we have the ability to leverage the platform and its touchpoints,” Mueller says. “The platform allows us to get the entire acquisition right and integrate not only the technology but people and processes as well.”
Pregis leaned on Dickinson + Associates to make sure that SAP suited their needs perfectly. Pregis had been on an early version of SAP’s HANA platform and the company was concerned that they needed to upgrade. Dickinson + Associates put Pregis in touch with the appropriate people at SAP and ensured that Pregis would get the support they needed.
Technology acumen wasn’t the only reason Pregis chose to partner with Dickinson + Associates. The ability to solve business challenges and grow revenue by streamlining and standardizing processes was critical. “The Dickinson team has excellent business skills in addition to technology expertise,” Mueller says. “We have long-tenured employees who are used to doing things a certain way. Dickinson helped us with change management and getting people on board with new processes.”
Dickinson + Associates brought a diverse team with the right skills to the engagement. Teams remained largely the same through multiple acquisitions, lending consistency and an intimate knowledge of Pregis’ strategies and goals to each acquisition, notes Mueller.
The playbook ensures alignment on the goals of the entire organization. Once you have alignment, you can execute by following the playbook.
Vice President, Corporate Development, Dickinson + Associates
Strategies to Deliver Value Fast
Every middle-market company approaches M&A differently. Wolfe recommends that firms stick with best practices and develop a strong methodology to standardize and optimize processes and data structures. “You need a proven process that can support integration speed,” Wolfe explains.
A playbook is invaluable. The vision for the playbook starts at the top. “The playbook ensures alignment on the goals of the entire organization,” Wolfe says. “Once you have alignment, you can execute by following the playbook.”
Mueller suggests that middle-market companies approach acquisitions methodically using a step-by-step approach. And each acquisition should have its own timeline based on its unique attributes. However, it’s important to take it slow. “Implement technology in phases instead of trying to do everything all at once,” he says.
Taking it slow also minimizes risk. “In the beginning, keep it simple. Complete the integration quickly and once the initial integration is done, use technology to continually innovate and improve,” Mueller recommends.
Lastly, look for a partner that understands your business and the nature of M&A. “Acquisitions can come at you fast and can be difficult to plan for. Once you have the building blocks right, you can better roll out acquisitions that meet your business imperatives,” Wolfe says.