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Cirque du SAP?

by Laura Casasanto

October 6, 2010

Recently I caught the touring Cirque Du Soleil show “Ovo” while it was playing in Boston. It was my first Cirque show and it was incredible. I had an idea of what the show would be like but actually being there was beyond imagination. The acrobatics were thrilling, the story was sweet and funny, and the sets were spectacular. The performers clearly studied the movement and actions of the insects they were portraying and mimicked them impeccably.

Accompanying fantastic portrayals of the different insects were flawless costumes clearly created with great care and detail, specific to each of the dozens of performers involved (in this show alone). I might not have taken notice of this factor had I not recently read a Project Expert article by my colleague Alan Joch about Cirque Du Soleil’s transition from manual legacy systems to SAP solutions for their costume request and production process. I couldn’t help but imagine how involved the costume process is for a company of 13,000 performers and 20,000 costumes. In the article, Alan described the old process:

Working with an annual budget of more than $25 million, the wardrobe staff carefully creates custom-fitted costumes The process includes more than 150 physical measurements of each performer and uses high-tech three-dimensional scanners to produce a precise a composite reproduction of each artist’s head to make sure hats and wigs fit perfectly. All that upfront work means there is typically a three-month lead time from the creation of the purchase requisition until the costume is delivered — and that’s not including the time required to develop new costume concepts.

To streamline and speed up this process, C irque, already happy with their SAP ERP system, made the decision to implement two applications within SAP Production Planning: Material Requirements Planning (MRP) and Capacity Requirements Planning (CRP). One of the benefits the company found with the new applications was the ability to store actors’ measurements and specifications in the system to automate the order process. The simplification of the process was highly beneficial for a company who deals with so many performers on the road all over the world. The increased visibility the solution offered meant improvements in delivery time and budget forecasts.

“The solution helps the whole workshop have better control of its operations. Work that used to take a lot of effort and a lot of time now runs more smoothly because everything is centralized within our master data system,” says Olivier Gariepy, senior business analyst at Cirque du Soleil.

You can check out the full article (subscription required) to read about Cirque’s decision to move to SAP applications, how they bridged their SAP and proprietary systems, and how the new process streamlined BOM creation, here:

High Wire Act: Cirque du Soleil Blends SAP Applications with Proprietary Programs to Make Sure the Show Always Goes On

And next time a Cirque show is in your area, go check it out! You won’t be disappointed. Then let me know which one I should see next. I’ll be in Vegas for TechEd next month and will hopefully have time to catch another one. What should it be… Ka? Love? Zumanity?


-Laura CasasantoProject Expert


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