Al Mansour Holding Company fine-tunes supply chain performance

Analyzing current and predicted sales data to optimize operations, boost profits and cut waste

Published on 25-Sep-2013

"By choosing IBM Power Systems running IBM i, and taking advantage of IBM PowerHA, we have built up an incredibly reliable platform for our SAP applications that provides the total availability our business demands." - Amr Aboul-Ezz, CIO, Al Mansour Holding Company

Customer:
Al Mansour Holding Company

Industry:
Consumer Products

Deployment country:
Egypt

Solution:
Business Resiliency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Information Management Foundation, Supply Chain Management, Virtualization, Virtualization - Applications, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

Al Mansour Holding Company was founded in 1992 to meet rising demand among Egyptian consumers for high-quality packaged consumer goods. Part of the Mansour Group, the company acts as the sole distributor of Philip Morris tobacco products and distributes its own brand of foodstuffs to thousands of outlets nationwide.

Business need:
In the fast-moving consumer goods market, agility and accuracy are key. If Al Mansour Holding Company could not closely match production to sales, it risked costly overruns and missed opportunities.

Solution:
The company virtualized its SAP applications with IBM® PowerVM® on IBM Power® 740 Express® servers, running IBM i with integrated IBM DB2®. It is also using IBM XIV® to store growing amounts of data.

Benefits:
SAP application response times improved by 80 percent, enabling the company to analyze and understand the market more quickly than competitors, maximizing sales and minimizing waste.

Case Study

Al Mansour Holding Company was founded in 1992 to meet rising demand among Egyptian consumers for high-quality packaged consumer goods. Part of the Mansour Group, the company acts as the sole distributor of Philip Morris tobacco products and distributes its own brand of foodstuffs to thousands of outlets nationwide.

Maintaining tight control over extensive operations is a prime concern for Al Mansour Holding Company. As the company looked to expand its share of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market, the commercial pressure to run its production and distribution systems as efficiently as possible increased dramatically.

Amr Aboul-Ezz, CIO of Al Mansour Holding Company, elaborates: “Our business is very complex and as we grew, we found it increasingly difficult to get information to decision-makers on time, so that they could plan activities accordingly. We wanted to gain faster, more reliable insight into all areas of the business, to determine the best production schedules and manage our supply-chain processes more efficiently.”

Improving business integration with SAP
The FMCG sector requires lightning-fast responsiveness to changes in customer trends. This places very specific demands for performance and availability on business applications. If the company could not extract, analyze and understand current buying patterns rapidly, it risked missing out on valuable opportunities.

Seeking to sharpen insight into its operations and improve supply chain efficiency, Al Mansour Holding Company decided to standardize on a suite of SAP ERP applications and SAP Supply Chain Management, with SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse acting as a central repository for its business data.

“SAP applications provide us with a tightly-integrated stream of information—everything is now linked, from planning and manufacturing to sales and accounting,” notes Amr Aboul-Ezz. “We can access information on all aspects of the business in near real-time, improving process visibility and business agility. This helps us react much faster to changing conditions and gain a better understanding of how the business is performing, so we can plan our operations more effectively.”

Selecting IBM systems
To meet the need for rapid information delivery—available 24/7—to support its growing SAP application workloads, Al Mansour Holding Company decided to overhaul its IT infrastructure. The company partnered with IBM Systems and Technology Group Lab Services to implement two IBM Power 740 Express servers running the IBM i operating system with integrated IBM DB2 database management software. IBM XIV was selected as the company’s strategic storage platform, providing easy management for growing data volumes, which are expected to rise to 2 TB within the next three years.

“The solution proposed by IBM offered a combination of performance, availability and cost-effectiveness that we could not find in any other system we evaluated,” notes Amr Aboul-Ezz. “IBM Power 740 Express delivers outstanding performance for our SAP applications, accelerating response times by around 80 percent on average. This allows us to get vital information to the business much faster and ensure that we meet our delivery targets.”

Keeping pace with changing requirements
The dynamic nature of foods and FMCG businesses means that data processing workload varies considerably at peak seasons and even on specific days. In the past, each physical server hosting an application was configured to enable it to cope with the peak throughput, which meant that servers were typically under-utilized.

To increase server utilization and efficiency, Al Mansour Holding Company deployed IBM PowerVM Enterprise Edition software, which enables each Power 740 Express server to host multiple independent virtual servers. The company has created 13 logical partitions (LPARs) on each server, increasing average utilization by combining mixed application workloads while providing greater compute capacity when needed.

Amr Aboul-Ezz comments, “IBM PowerVM helps us handle the constant fluctuations in our operations. We can easily scale up our systems simply by allocating resources to the appropriate applications to cope with increased demand when we bring a new product to market.”

Maximum availability for a 24/7 market
With strict production and delivery deadlines, guaranteeing round-the-clock availability for business systems is another top priority for Al Mansour Holding Company. Even short periods of downtime can have a huge impact, leading to costly overruns or missed deadlines.

Using IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for IBM i, Al Mansour Holding Company has developed a high-availability configuration that maximizes uptime for vital production systems. The company has deployed its Power Systems servers in a mirrored configuration, using synchronous mirroring to replicate data and applications between the two servers.

“If our systems go down and we have to reboot, we are losing money for every minute that we are not moving goods,” states Am Aboul-Ezz. “By choosing IBM Power Systems running IBM i, and taking advantage of IBM PowerHA, we have built up an incredibly reliable platform for our SAP applications that provides the total availability our business demands.”

Achieving competitive advantage
With IBM Power Systems servers forming a rock-solid backbone for integrated SAP applications, Al Mansour Holding Company is well-placed to maintain its edge in a highly-competitive market, maximizing production efficiency and output while minimizing system downtime.

Amr Aboul-Ezz concludes, “Running SAP on IBM Power Systems provides us with a solid platform for driving better business performance. The combination of deep insight, strong performance and high availability means that we can optimize production efficiency and get products out to customers on time, every time.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Power 740 Express, Storage, Storage: XIV

Software:
PowerVM Enterprise (VIOS), PowerHA, PowerVM, IBM i, DB2 for i5/OS, PowerHA SystemMirror for i, PowerHA SystemMirror for IBM i

Operating system:
IBM i

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance, STG Lab Services: Power (IBM i)

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Corporation, Systems and Technology Group, Route 100, Somers, NY 10589. Produced in the United States of America. September 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, DB2, Express, Power, PowerHA, PowerVM, Power Systems, and XIV are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.