Reimagine digital, Transform now

How ONE sailed through a post-merger digital transformation

Decorative image
  • Case Study
  • December 13, 2022

PwC helped shipping giant, ONE on post-merger unification of their finance systems, creating a single source of truth with one instance of SAP across over 40 countries and a standardised global way of working from Day 1. This was achieved within an aggressive timeline of eight months to ensure compliance with global reporting standards.


Ocean Network Express (ONE)


PwC South East Asia Consulting



Powered by


Chapter 1 Setting the scene

When three Japanese shipping lines came together in a joint venture to create a new container shipping business they turned to PwC South East Asia Consulting to help guide them through what was one of the industry’s most complex and time-sensitive digital transformations on a single instance S/4HANA ERP system

Ocean Network Express (ONE) is now the world’s sixth largest container shipping business with its global headquarters in Singapore supported by regional headquarters in Hong Kong, the UK, the US and Brazil. It entered the market in 2018 as a joint venture by three Japanese shipping giants, “K” Line, MOL and NYK.

Chapter 2 The challenge

ONE’s most urgent transformation project was to unify three different finance and accounting systems and streamline operations in a single ERP to support Day One of its post-merger existence in 46 countries to be ready for day 1 operations within eight months.

ONE’s aim was to serve its customers with the same digitised systems through a focus on IT and innovation as a path to excellence in customer service delivery.

Adding to the complexity and as a second part of the project, ONE had to meet its IFRS16 lease accounting compliance deadline in 2019, only 12 months after commencing operations.

Chapter 3 A complex, ambitious project

Alan Sze, ONE’s Deputy General Manager of Business Process and IT, says the global nature of the project, with multiple internal stakeholders across multiple countries and corporate cultures, presented a clear challenge. It would require guidance from a partner steeped in understanding of business needs and an organisation’s key asset – their people – to achieve a successful digital transformation.

“It became clear very quickly that for us to succeed we needed to completely transform our finance and accounting functions. And this was a massive project.”

Alan Sze

ONE found the answer in PwC, who first provided an independent assessment of the best tech solution for their needs, which in this case was SAP S/4HANA Finance. PwC South East Asia Consulting were then engaged to help integrate the new system into the ONE business, streamlining finance and accounting processes across 46 countries.

“We selected PwC from four proposals for this work because we had worked with them in the past and had complete confidence and trust that they could deliver this huge, complex and deadline-driven project on time and with all our people on board.”

Alan Sze

Chapter 4 What we did

Dave Chen, Workforce Transformation Partner for PwC South East Asia Consulting, says ONE’s digital transformation was one of the largest global projects he and his team had run.

The first challenge

The first challenge was to set up a project management framework that took in a geographical spread of 46 countries with as many cultural differences and which would ensure delivery of on-time, quality and sustainable outcomes. On top of that, it was crucial to have one design authority to govern the global solution across 46 countries over 5 regions to ensure the harmonised process designed were adopted.

The second challenge

The second challenge was the timeline which was, says Chen, “very, very pressing”.

“A JV of three companies with five regional HQs brought with it three different ways of working which people were wedded to, three different sets of processes all with a lot of local nuances and variations,” says Chen.

The starting point for the PwC team working with ONE was to establish a single “drumbeat” to govern the project management office so that everyone involved could get on board with the rhythm of information flow to get them to go-live on time.

The drumbeat was also key to ensuring cultural differences between ONE teams in North Asia, South Asia, Europe, North America and South America did not become hurdles.

“The geographical spread meant there were many local nuances to capture and ‘translate’ if we were going to successfully deliver one system/one process in eight months.

“It was a challenge we relished because the difference PwC delivers for our clients is we know business, we know people and we know technology.

“It all comes together at the point where human meets digital. That’s where we meet our clients and that’s the core difference about PwC,” says Dave Chen.

Chapter 5 Key factors for success

ONE’s Alan Sze explains how critical it was for the project management team with PwC to align the JV’s finance and accounting team board right from the start.

“There was a lot of fine-tuning around how we approached issues because it’s the people who will be using the technology who need to be brought along every step of the way. PwC was very good at working with our project management team to make those adjustments,” says ONE’s Alan Sze.

Apart from the aggressive timeline to introduce a single accounting system (ERP) on partner managed cloud, with standardised business processes, and real time data, there were also regulatory deadlines to meet after go-live to be IFRS16 compliant on SAP S/4HANA ReFX. 

For PwC, the key to the success was tapping into PwC’s community of solvers to ensure the design, implementation and support for the IFRS16 solution on SAP S/4HANA ReFX combined both accounting knowledge and SAP S/4HANA REFX expertise to achieve successful implementation in a record five months.

Eileen Chua, SAP Singapore Managing Director, says businesses which come to SAP are confident that the SAP technology they choose will help them meet, and exceed their business transformation goals in a 'never normal' world.

"ONE was looking for transformation that would deliver performance improvement and better integration of their network with suppliers and customers. Empowered by SAP technologies, ONE will be able to tackle business issues, comply to regulatory and tax law requirements while getting best-in-class customer experience, resilient operations, and look to drive new business models and revenue streams," says Chua.

The success of the project for ONE was streamlined control and monitoring of processes that removed inconsistencies in reporting and reduced overheads. 

“We were confident after our previous experience of working with PwC that our people would really benefit from the collaboration. And they have,” says ONE’s Alan Sze.

Chapter 6 Results

  • Achieved aggressive timeline of 8 months for S/4 HANA and 5 months for IFRS16 on REFX on time and on budget
  • Single source of truth with 1 instance of SAP across 40+ countries
  • Standardized global way of working from Day 1 across 40+ countries
  • Global governance of SAP global process and template resulting in streamlined control and monitoring thereby reducing overhead and process variation across all regional HQ
  • Accelerated onboarding process for Process teams resulting in cost reduction and improved adoption
  • Successful go-live for SAP S/4HANA REFX to ensure compliance to IFRS16 lease accounting deadline

Let us be part of your success story

Reach out to start a conversation

Dave Chen

SAP Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

+65 8125 7640


Ivan Phuah

Finance Transformation Leader, South East Asia Consulting, Singapore, PwC Singapore

+65 9675 4169


Charles Loh

Singapore Consulting Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 9735 2389


Follow us