Nissha Printing gains detailed, real-time cost control with SAP HANA

Published on 14-May-2013

"Nissha selected the IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA based on the proven quality of the IBM offerings. It is important not to over-complicate new technology, and we felt that the IBM solution offered simplicity of design combined with reliability and stability that would lead us to value quickly." - Yoshitami Aoyama, Chief Information Officer, Nissha Printing Co Ltd

Customer:
Nissha Printing

Industry:
Industrial Products

Deployment country:
Japan

Solution:
Technical Computing, Data Warehouse, General Parallel File System (GPFS), High Availability , Information Integration, Workload Management

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

Nissha Printing Co Ltd of Kyoto, Japan, focuses on innovation as its key differentiator. Originally established as a printing company, Nissha has diversified into advanced industrial materials, decorative films and touch panels. In 2012, Nissha achieved sales of more than ¥80 billion ($830 million), nearly 60 percent of which were generated outside Japan.

Business need:
To help fine-tune its customer service, Nissha Printing wanted to better track its performance by looking at the cost estimates and comparing them with the actual results. Reporting systems were unable to deliver the level of detail that managers required, which included analysis by product, service, customer, region and more.

Solution:
Nissha selected the SAP HANA appliance, and implemented the IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA, based on IBM System x 3950 X5 workload optimized servers, featuring intelligent Intel Xeon E7-8870 processors.

Benefits:
Financial summary reports that previously took 340 seconds now take less than two seconds, an improvement of more than 99 percent. Nissha has reduced the number of data cubes needed from 103 to 56, a reduction of approximately 45 percent. Cut pre-written queries from 700 to 250, a reduction of almost 65 percent. Overnight batch processing times have been cut from seven to two hours daily, a reduction of 71 percent. Accelerated reporting significantly improves operational efficiency, and summaries are based on real-time data rather than historic aggregates.

Case Study

Nissha Printing Co Ltd of Kyoto, Japan, focuses on innovation as its key differentiator. Originally established as a printing company, Nissha has diversified into advanced industrial materials, decorative films and touch panels. In 2012, Nissha achieved sales of more than ¥80 billion ($830 million), nearly 60 percent of which were generated outside Japan.

The company relies on a broad suite of SAP® ERP applications to manage its business, using the powerful, integrated software for its sales, logistics, manufacturing and financial processes. By controlling key data from within the SAP solutions, Nissha analyzes revenue, expenses and profits by operational unit, product, customer and more. The result is that executives have deep understanding of costs and efficiency, and can use that information to improve business performance.

Yoshitami Aoyama, Chief Information Officer at Nissha, comments, “Nissha has been using SAP solutions for some years. The business insight provided by the SAP applications is very valuable, particularly in the areas of finance and expenses.

“The demand for detailed analysis gradually outpaced the system’s ability to deliver timely results. We wanted to expand our capabilities and develop new ways of looking at the data. For example, we wanted to examine customer profitability on a specific project, encompassing every process step, from raw materials through production to final delivery. This would allow us to identify cost inputs, find out where they varied from our original estimates, and take action to improve future performance.”

Getting the most from SAP applications
Nissha’s ambition for enhanced analytics was being held back by the company’s existing infrastructure, which was not delivering the performance Nissha wanted. In some cases, customer profitability reports took almost three hours to complete. In many cases, the information would generate more questions than answers, but the time required for the report to be modified and re-run meant that the new enquiries were difficult to pursue.

For example, a standard comparison of estimated versus actual cost might raise questions about whether the raw materials were acquired at the correct price – or even from the correct vendor.

Being able to drill down to the supplier data might require re-aggregation of the data and a fresh report, and in many cases there was simply no time to create and complete this new task.

Yoshitami Aoyama continues, “Each profit and loss analysis required its own data cube, and preparing each cube took around 30 minutes. It was clear that even if we could produce the reports more quickly, the solution was essentially not scalable. Nissha is a heavy user of SAP Consulting services to help exploit the maximum value from our SAP solutions, and a real partner to our company, and we asked them for advice.”

Taking analytics to the next level
SAP Consulting recommended the SAP HANA® database, designed specifically for this type of analytic workload. The SAP HANA in-memory database eliminates the need for data aggregation, and is capable of generating reports in a fraction of the time offered by traditional data warehousing solutions.

The natural next step was to consider the SAP HANA implementation choices, with several potential vendor solutions.

“Nissha selected the IBM® Systems solution for SAP HANA based on the proven quality of the IBM offerings,” says Yoshitami Aoyama.

“It was important to us to be able to start with a solution that we could scale up rapidly and cost-effectively. It is important not to over-complicate new technology, and we felt that the IBM solution offered simplicity of design combined with reliability and stability that would lead us to value quickly.”

Optimized SAP HANA solution
Based on an IBM System x® 3950 X5 workload optimized solution and IBM eX5 technologies, the IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA offers Nissha the ability to grow from two processors with 256 GB of main memory to eight processors and 1 TB main memory in a single-node configuration.

The x3950 X5 server is powered by Intel Xeon E7-8870 processors, designed to solve mission-critical IT challenges. These top-of-the-line processors deliver performance that is ideal for data-demanding workloads, offering improved scalability, increased memory and I/O capacity, and the ability to handle long-term business growth. Advanced reliability and security features work to maintain data integrity, and maximize the availability of mission-critical applications.

The IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA has been designed with scalability in mind. Using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and the unique, highly scalable IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS™), the initial SAP HANA footprint can be scaled up by adding more processing power to the solution, and scaled out by clustering SAP HANA nodes together. GPFS is deployed on all IBM Systems solutions for SAP HANA, enabling high-availability solutions using GPFS replication and seamless cluster extension.

Faster reporting for better decisions
Nissha implemented the SAP HANA solution in three months, transferring some 900 GB of data from its data warehouse. Compression technologies within SAP HANA have reduced this data volume to 300 GB, offering immediate data storage, backup and restore advantages.

Nissha is reaping immediate benefits from the speed and simplicity of the SAP HANA solution. By running reports and analysis processes on the SAP HANA platform, the company has reduced the number of data cubes needed from 103 to 56, a reduction of approximately 45 percent, and cut the number of pre-written queries from 700 to 250, a cut of almost 65 percent. In terms of workload for technical staff, these changes have cut overnight batch processing times from seven to two hours daily, a 71 percent reduction.

Key financial summary reports no longer require preparation of data cubes, and in one example a report that previously took 340 seconds to generate now takes less than two seconds – an improvement of more than 99 percent. The SAP HANA solution has produced performance improvements over a wide range of activities – in another example, a report that formerly took 1,023 seconds to produce now takes 10.2 seconds.

The accelerated reporting significantly improves operational efficiency, and the summaries are based on real-time data rather than historic aggregates. Faster processing will also allow users to perform analyses using various “what-if” scenarios to test hypotheses and provide actual proof points. The accuracy, quality, and speed of the analyses are enhanced, allowing various perspectives and improving the relevance to real-life business decisions.

Yoshitami Aoyama comments, “The IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA gives us the ability to grow the system in exact lockstep with our business needs. In our first four months of operation, we have experienced only two restarts, and the solution has proved to be highly reliable.”

“SAP HANA offers huge benefits, with reductions in IT staff workload that enable us to release time for other more productive and pro-active work. Already we are able to produce estimated versus actual cost reports, drill down to the underlying data, and generate modified reports to assess what-if scenarios on the fly.

“We fully expect business operations to accelerate as a result of the introduction of SAP HANA, and the more we are able to exploit information analysis the more we will be able to improve our business processes.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System x, System x: System x3950 X5

Software:
General Parallel File System

Operating system:
Novell SUSE Linux

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

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