Some companies run their businesses in a very regulated and secure environment, and whilst Gauri would like to share the success of this particular migration to SAP HANA, our customer cannot release this kind of information. The project does however, have a profile that many global manufacturing enterprises will recognise, and we are able to outline the challenges that were addressed, and some of the benefits that are already emerging from the successfully completed project.

Key Challenges

Our customer had to improve on the efficiency of its production scheduling, especially in the provisioning of spare parts for maintenance scheduling. It relied on reports created from its SAP ERP system data for monitoring and forecasting purposes. However, the vast amount of data always slowed the system down and led to unacceptable response times. The resulting reports were not real-time enough to reflect current conditions at the company.

Over time, the MRP system had become unacceptably slow in all parts of the manufacturing management processes, as well as affecting finance and HR.

Regular, scheduled jobs necessary for forecasting and production scheduling were taking longer and longer to run. For example a full MRP run could only sensibly be done once per month, because the contributory batch jobs and data loads were taking more than a weekend to process. Thus for most of a month, scheduling was not being done on up-to-date information.

Finance and Operations were taking 10 days to close month end, and the Year End took six weeks to close.

Mission-critical reporting was taking too long – MRP was taking 90 minutes to run against a customer order forecast, which is not acceptable in an organisation trying to respond to an on-time delivery KPI. Procurement was “best guess” because replenishment reporting for parts and inventory forecasts was out of date.

HR resource planning was difficult due to the large number of personnel records and the complicated processing required to match employee competency against the planned production assembly and maintenance schedules

4 billion payroll records needed to be loaded into BW to generate management reports – which was taking 1.5 days every week, and causing very poor performance in the BW system. Wages analysis was taking too long to deliver reports to departmental managers and the Finance department. Plus this seriously degraded the response times for other users whilst this was loading.

The solution – SAP HANA

SAP HANA would be the solution to the problem – along with the appropriate technical expertise of some Gauri consultants. The project plan was created to migrate the development, test and production systems across to the newSAP HANA database, so that all of the advantages of HANA’s in-memory processing could be applied to the problems outlined above.

The migration went very smoothly – 16 weeks and three consultants for the migration with four weeks’ go-live support to manage any issues – of which there were very few.

The main challenge for the project team was the size of the MSSQL database that was being migrated.  Some data loading issues arose because of the load on the network and the need to not disrupt normal service – but these were overcome by careful scheduling during off-peak hours.

SQL restrictions created some table conversion challenges in the HANA database structure, but SAP had some corrective notes that resolved the issues.

Immediate Business Benefits

By migrating to SAP HANA the ability to perform real-time, high-volume, data processing and analysis has been achieved for our customer. They can now access all the transactional data with immediate response times, and retrieve results via flexible reporting and dashboards. The efficiency of financial close processes and internal scheduling and MRP operations has improved significantly.

Powered by SAP HANA, it now only takes a couple of minutes to run MRP, and the scheduling processes have been dramatically improved.

The payroll run that took 72 hours, now takes 68 seconds.