Pneuhage improves control and visibility of stock levels

Real-time insights help increase sales

Published on 04-Jan-2013

"We wanted to migrate our SAP databases to IBM DB2 to reduce database sizes and improve the performance of our systems with the integrated compression features. The close collaboration between IBM and SAP was a significant asset in performing the migration quickly and without any technical problems." - Jürgen Hiegle, Head of System Administration, Pneuhage

Customer:
Pneuhage Group

Industry:
Retail

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Information Integration, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

Pneuhage Group is a tire services company, headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany. The company operates two production plants, three logistics centers and 88 shops across Germany. Pneuhage also operates four shops and one warehouse in Poland, and a sales office in France. Employing approximately 1,250 people, the company generates annual sales revenues of more than €400 million.

Business need:
Pneuhage Group wanted to gain real-time insights into sales and inventory data to optimize product availability. Having accurate figures would improve decision making and enable faster reactions to changing market conditions.

Solution:
Working with IBM, Pneuhage implemented an integrated SAP Business All-in-One solution on IBM® BladeCenter® Power® blades with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and IBM PowerVM® virtualization technology.

Benefits:
Provides real-time inventory visibility and performance figures. Avoided additional costs of 25 percent by selecting IBM Power Systems™. Reduced database size by 70 percent and cut batch runtimes from hours to minutes. Improved application response times by up to 90 percent and database processing times by up to 94 percent.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, click here

Pneuhage Group is a tire services company, headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany. The company operates two production plants, three logistics centers and 88 shops across Germany. Pneuhage also operates four shops and one warehouse in Poland, and a sales office in France. Employing approximately 1,250 people, the company generates annual sales revenues of more than €400 million.

With the goal of improving product availability, Pneuhage wanted to understand sales and inventory performance in real time. The company’s goal was to gather more accurate and timely figures to support decision making and provide a factual foundation for response to variable business situations. Deploying a single, integrated ERP solution would help the company standardize business processes and ensure consistent data across the group.

Selecting IBM technology to support SAP applications

Pneuhage chose to deploy SAP Business All-in-One to standardize financials, controlling, human capital management, materials management, master data management, and sales and delivery processes. To replace its legacy retail software, Pneuhage selected the SAP Business All-in-One industry solution cormeta TRADEsprint.

Pneuhage’s existing business applications were running on 15 HP Alpha Systems servers with a UNIX operating system. To save costs and increase efficiency in its IT operations, Pneuhage decided to look for a consolidation platform to create a virtualized IT environment.

The company selected IBM Power Systems servers over the competing x86 processor-based option. “The 25 percent cost advantage of the IBM solution was not the only reason we chose IBM BladeCenter Power blades,” explains Ralf Brauer, Head of ICT at Pneuhage. “The IBM Power Systems platform also provides better performance and reliability based on innovative and proven technology.”

Integrated virtualization boosts efficiency

Working with IBM, Pneuhage deployed seven IBM Power Systems blade servers. Today, the company relies on IBM BladeCenter PS701 servers with IBM POWER7® processors to support its business-critical SAP environment. Leveraging its long-time experience with UNIX operating systems, Pneuhage decided to run its business applications on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Utilizing IBM PowerVM virtualization technology with the IBM Integrated Virtualization Manager enabled Pneuhage to reduce the number of servers by more than 50 percent. Because the new systems are much more efficient, Pneuhage was also able to cut down on floor space and power consumption considerably.

“The integrated virtualization capability was an important factor for us,” says Jürgen Hiegle, Head of System Administration at Pneuhage. “With Power Systems, we do not need separate virtualization software and we can use the total capacity of the servers more efficiently.”

Selecting workload-optimized servers, Pneuhage set up two large IBM Power Systems servers with 128 GB main memory as database servers and configured less powerful servers as SAP application servers.

Altogether, Pneuhage runs about 30 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server systems on the IBM Power Systems platform. For fast and reliable data storage, the servers are connected to a storage area network based on IBM System Storage® DS4700 devices.

Reducing database size with IBM DB2

After the successful implementation of SAP Business All-in-One on IBM Power Systems with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Pneuhage decided to migrate its SAP database from MaxDB to IBM DB2® for Linux, UNIX and Windows. A major challenge for the project team was to minimize system downtime, as Pneuhage could not shut down its systems for an entire weekend, because its shops are also open on Saturdays. Experienced specialists and optimized migration methods based on best practices ensured a smooth migration within the assigned time slots.

“We wanted to migrate our SAP databases to IBM DB2 to reduce database sizes and improve the performance of our systems with the integrated compression features,” says Jürgen Hiegle. “The close collaboration between IBM and SAP was a significant asset in performing the migration quickly and without any technical problems.”

Migrating from MaxDB to IBM DB2, Pneuhage reduced database volumes by 70 percent from 1.7 TB to about 0.5 TB. As a result, backup times were substantially improved, and some batch process runtimes were cut down from hours to minutes. The overall performance of the SAP systems was significantly enhanced with some application response times reduced by approximately 90 percent. Certain database response times even improved by up to 94 percent.

The IBM DB2 database integrates closely with the SAP DBA Cockpit, providing quick and easy access to basic administration tools. This enables the database administrator to identify slow-performing queries quickly. “The new database system provides more sophisticated analytics capabilities. Detailed analysis and new indices based on the additional insights boosted our database performance considerably. Overall, system administration on IBM DB2 is much better than our previous solution,” says Jürgen Hiegle. “We also use all the automation features provided by IBM DB2. This allows database administrators to focus on more advanced tasks instead of basic system maintenance.”

Real-time insights

In the past, sales and inventory data was updated once a day with a nightly batch run. By deploying SAP Business All-in-One, Pneuhage gained real-time visibility of inventory data and sales figures from all shops. The integrated solution also eliminated error-prone data exchanges between different legacy systems, improving the reliability of the ERP solution.

“With SAP Business All-in-One, we can access current figures at any time,” says Ralf Brauer. “This real-time insight enables dynamic optimization of inventory levels, helping us reduce waste while ensuring availability of those products that are most in demand. Now, we can react much quicker to changing market conditions. For a retailer, directly tracking supply against demand translates into larger sales and greater customer satisfaction.”

Additionally, a consistent user experience across different applications and business areas improves usability and increases the efficiency of Pneuhage’s workforce. The implementation of SAP applications enabled the company to optimize and accelerate business processes that were not supported by its legacy IT systems.

Making savings with ultra-efficient IBM technology

Pneuhage avoided additional costs of 25 percent by migrating to IBM Power Systems instead of an x86 processor-based solution.

“Operating a consistent server landscape is, of course, much easier than a number of different systems,” says Ralf Brauer. “And having fewer servers automatically reduces the workload for the IT administrators significantly.”

“IBM provided not only the more cost-efficient solution, but also proved to be a reliable long-term partner for our IT,” says Ralf Brauer. “Projects are not only about costs, but also about collaboration. Based on the successful implementation of IBM Power Systems and the smooth migration to IBM DB2, we are currently working with IBM on a project to upgrade our SAP Business All-in-One system.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
BladeCenter, BladeCenter JS22 Express, BladeCenter PS701 Express, BladeCenter running Linux - SUSE, BladeCenter running OS - PowerVM, Storage, Storage: DS4700 Express

Software:
DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows, PowerVM

Operating system:
Novell SUSE Linux

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Deutschland GmbH 71137 Ehningen Deutschland ibm.com/de IBM Österreich Obere Donaustrasse 95 1020 Wien ibm.com/at IBM Schweiz Vulkanstrasse 106 8010 Zürich ibm.com/ch Produced in Germany January 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, BladeCenter, DB2, Power, Power Systems, POWER7, PowerVM and System Storage 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. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. 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. SAP Business All-in-One and SAP DBA Cockpit are not IBM products or offerings. SAP Business All-in-One and SAP DBA Cockpit are sold or licensed, as the case may be, to users under SAP’s terms and conditions, which are provided with the product or offering. Availability, and any and all warranties, services and support for SAP Business All-in-One and SAP DBA Cockpit are the direct responsibility of, and are provided directly to users by, SAP. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.