Published on 28-Apr-2011
Validated on 18 Jul 2013
"With integrated SAP solutions hosted on IBM technologies and managed by the IBM team, Albaad has the enterprise-wide view of skills, inventory and manufacturing that will enable us to take the next steps in its international business expansion. " - Rafi Shamir, Operational and IT Manager, Albaad
IT/infrastructure, Business Integration, Business Resiliency, Enabling Business Flexibility, Enterprise Resource Planning, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT
IBM Business Partner:
Albaad, headquartered in Israel, produces a wide range of wipes for cosmetic, health, personal hygiene, professional healthcare and related markets. Principal manufacturing operations are based in Israel, Germany and the USA, and the company has market presence in more than 20 countries. Albaad manufactures own-label wipes for customers such as supermarket groups and pharmaceutical brand owners. A combination of innovation, quality and cost-efficiency has helped Albaad to become a global leader in its market space.
Fast-growing company Albaad needed to control costs and understand business performance as the company expanded internationally. Central infrastructure, though, was not keeping pace with business needs. Users suffered from long wait times to produce reports, and in some cases application failures. Little by little, the advantages of a centralized ERP solution were being lost as users resorted to locally created databases and spreadsheet-based analysis. For example, without accurate inventory data, manufacturing planning was no longer meeting sales expectations.
Albaad refreshed its server infrastructure, selecting IBM System x including x3650 M2, x3550 M3, x3550 and x3400 servers, powered by Intel Xeon Processor 5000 series processors, IBM System Storage disk and tape data storage. The infrastructure runs SAP ERP solutions, including financials, controlling, materials management, purchasing management, production planning, and sales and distribution components, hosted, maintained and managed by IBM Global Technology Services under a five-year contract.
Technical performance, reliability and scalability issues have been solved, boosting staff productivity and ensuring the availability of precious company information. New corporate acquisitions can be migrated easily and swiftly to the standardized SAP application and infrastructure landscape, ensuring integrated business information is available for improved business control and management.
Albaad, headquartered in Israel, produces a wide range of wipes, for cosmetic, health, personal hygiene, professional healthcare and related markets. Principal manufacturing operations are based in Israel, Germany and the USA, and the company has market presence in more than 20 countries.
Albaad manufactures own-label wipes for customers such as supermarket groups and pharmaceutical brand owners. A combination of innovation, quality and cost-efficiency has helped Albaad to become a global leader in its market space.
Having used SAP ERP applications for some years, the number of users, total data volumes and transaction workload had gradually increased. As a result, Albaad’s users were suffering from long wait times to produce reports and slow system response. After five years, the existing IT infrastructure had reached the end of its effective life, and had reached capacity. The company needed to solve these technical problems, which were impacting business users.
The central infrastructure was not keeping pace with business needs. Little by little, the advantages of a centralized ERP solution were being lost as users resorted to locally created databases and spreadsheet-based analysis. For example, without accurate inventory data, manufacturing planning was no longer meeting sales expectations, and production efficiency was impacted.
Rafi Shamir, Operational and IT Manager, explains, “Productivity was affected, and valuable insight on company performance was potentially being lost. Users were sometimes losing their connection to the SAP applications, and the ability to extract useful business information was severely constrained.”
Rethinking the IT strategy
Albaad had chosen to outsource its IT infrastructure, maintenance and application support for its SAP ERP solutions, in a five-year contract. At renewal, the company was able to reconsider its IT strategy, hardware platform and SAP applications.
Rafi Shamir says, “We originally selected the outsourcing route because maintaining an SAP ERP landscape and the supporting infrastructure requires a great deal of expertise. For example, training and retaining SAP BASIS personnel is an expensive occupation. We prefer the outsourcing strategy because for Albaad it is a cheaper, more secure option than trying to become SAP application and infrastructure experts ourselves.”
Albaad controls its enterprise-wide operations with a wide range of SAP ERP applications, including financials, controlling, materials management, purchasing management, production planning, and sales and distribution. Some 180 people access the SAP solutions, creating a total of around 1.7 TB of production data, and general business applications such as email, Microsoft Active Directory and file services are supported by the same infrastructure.
At the outsourcing contract renewal date, Albaad took the opportunity to refresh the server infrastructure in readiness for an upgrade to the latest editions of its SAP software, and make the transition to 64-bit operating systems. This would allow the company to significantly increase the workload capacity of the individual servers, with a smaller number of processors supporting a larger total transaction throughput, offering potential software license fee savings, improved data center efficiency and reduced system management costs.
For the core SAP applications, Albaad chose the IBM System x platform, implementing x3650 M2 servers, hosted by IBM Global Technology Services. For line-of-business applications, Albaad deployed IBM x3550 M3, x3550, x3650, x3400, x346, x335, and x336 servers, powered by Intel Xeon Processor 5000 series processors in-house.
Servers powered by the highly intelligent and massively scalable Intel Xeon processor series offer a dramatic increase in performance and efficiency. Built to handle demanding applications and workload, the Intel Xeon processor series delivers a quantum leap in enterprise computing performance. The Intel Xeon processor 5000 series with a Nehalem Microarchitecture, helps achieve near-native performance and near-linear scalability for SAP ERP, to help lower IT costs and increase agility without compromising performance. With automated energy-efficiency features, the Intel Xeon processor 5000 series also scales energy usage to workload requirements, delivering optimal performance/watt.
For data storage, backup and archive, Albaad selected IBM System Storage DS3400 and IBM System Storage TS3100 disk and tape servers supporting a total of 5 TB of production data.
Boosting business performance
The refreshed IT infrastructure provides a stable, high-performance system landscape that has immediately addressed Albaad’s productivity issues. SAP application dialog response delays have been cured. Reports that had taken several hours to produce are now returned within, typically, 30 minutes.
Choosing to outsource to IBM
At a strategic level, the IT infrastructure now acts as an enabling service that serves the company’s business ambitions. For example, when Albaad acquired a new business, the new data and processes were able to be was migrated to the shared infrastructure from the previous in-house systems to the SAP landscape rapidly and easily, without requiring system upgrade or change.
“Before we committed to the agreement with IBM, we examined the business case for both in-house and hosted solutions. The IBM proposal offered lower total costs, as it avoids the need to build and manage a server room, train and retain BASIS consultants or database administrators, and the associated systems and application management costs,” says Rafi Shamir.
“We compared tender offers from several hosting providers, and the IBM proposal shone out in terms of strength in depth and quality of capability. Rather than sending us a generic hosted offering, IBM proposed a tailored solution based on Albaad’s specific requirements, and was able to demonstrate its ability to deliver worldwide SAP application and BASIS support.”
Looking to the future
With the IBM System x infrastructure in place, Albaad is positioned to migrate to the latest editions of SAP ERP applications.
Rafi Shamir comments, “By outsourcing our server infrastructure and application maintenance to IBM Global Technology Services’ outsourcing services, we have gained the ability to concentrate on the business opportunities rather than spend time on hardware and functional maintenance, or invest in BASIS skills. We are able to exploit the benefits of the SAP applications to the maximum, looking for ways to optimize processes, reduce costs and develop new markets.
“The next steps are to implement the latest editions of SAP ERP solutions, and we will add SAP ERP Human Capital Management. It makes sense for Albaad to integrate our people management with business management, as we need to track, for example, their training for specific work areas that meet ISO 14000 and ISO 9000 requirements for manufacturing. With integrated SAP solutions hosted on IBM technologies and managed by the IBM team, Albaad has the enterprise-wide view of skills, inventory and manufacturing that will enable us to take the next steps in its international business expansion.”
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