Business Challenge

In a market where innovation is key to growing market share, Papel San Francisco found it lacked the fast access to detailed sales data needed to understand and discover new opportunities.


Papel San Francisco engaged IBM Services to integrate and transform business processes, based on a comprehensive suite of SAP ERP solutions and the SAP HANA database.



delivery of business data helps identify new opportunities


faster launch of new products


faster month-end closing processes

Business Challenge Story

Taking on stiff competition

In Mexico, the tissue paper products industry is booming. Approximately 15 companies contend for leadership, all fighting to capture a larger slice of the pie.

To grow market share, firms must enrich their offerings in response to fresh customer demands. Papel San Francisco, one of the most successful companies operating in this sector, was faced with precisely this challenge.

Sergio Colunga, CIO of Papel San Francisco, takes up the story: “To meet our corporate goals of growing the business and achieving market leadership, senior managers continually require ultra-rapid, accurate and detailed information on a range of topics—from sales and production to client purchasing patterns and month-end results.

“Only by leveraging this data in an informed, holistic fashion can C-level executives answer diverse questions, such as: How can we win business in a new geographic area? Why are some of the wholesalers we serve more profitable than others? How can we boost operational efficiency? Should we release a new product line of extra-absorbent paper, or would it be more lucrative to create a new range of scented toilet tissue? Why are some production plants able to deliver final goods faster than others?”

To obtain these critical insights and rapidly act on them to seize competitive advantage, Papel San Francisco needed faster data access.

“We found that the database supporting our SAP ERP landscape, which underpins the entire business, was becoming too slow to provide an integrated, real-time view of operations,” recalls Sergio Colunga. “As a result, we struggled to provide the fresh, precise information managers needed to devise successful strategies.

“Ultimately, this hindered our ability to tailor our product range to the specific requests of our clients. For example, a wholesaler that serves restaurants or hotels will most likely require different paper products compared to one which caters to offices. Unless we could start unearthing these kinds of insights, we risked losing ground to more perceptive, nimble competitors.”

IBM Services helped us complete the SAP upgrade and the migration to SAP HANA on time and within the given budget.

Sergio Colunga, CIO, Papel San Francisco

Transformation Story

Unleashing a powerful in-memory database

To accelerate reporting on data from its core SAP ERP applications, the company decided to migrate its existing, 3TB database to the SAP HANA in-memory platform.

“To reach our objective, we envisaged a two-phase project,” explains Sergio Colunga. “First, we would upgrade our ERP systems to the latest edition to enable the migration to SAP HANA. Next, we would move all the data from the legacy database to SAP HANA.

“Our SAP ERP applications support the entire business, so achieving a smooth migration was vital. To ensure a seamless switch, we sought the assistance of an expert technology partner.

“We chose to engage IBM Services to support us with technical migration, training and consulting because we had successfully worked with them in the past, and because of their unmatched SAP expertise.

“IBM Services helped us complete the SAP upgrade and the migration to SAP HANA on time and within the given budget.”

The IBM team worked closely with Papel San Francisco at each step along the way, fine-tuning its operations to suit the company’s ever-changing requirements.

The team assisted Papel San Francisco in performing configuration tests and trials before migrating the productive environments to SAP HANA.

This was crucial as it enabled Papel San Francisco to establish the best parameters to apply during the actual migration, as well as providing an estimate of the actual execution times.

Results Story

Faster reactions

Today, Papel San Francisco harnesses the immense power of the SAP HANA in-memory database to dramatically slash processing times, optimize resources, and accelerate month-end closing. As a result, the company is embarking on a digital transformation of its business, making it more dynamic and agile than ever before.

“SAP HANA helps us to implement best practices for the management of our resources, especially within our production plants,” elaborates Sergio Colunga.

“Right now, staff in each production plant have real-time mobile access to the instance of SAP Plant Maintenance that manages that specific plant. That means that when alerts are raised, problems are reported, or requests are made, staff can react more rapidly.

“Because people in production plants can access the system directly and rapidly, and can operate the system self-sufficiently, my team no longer needs to act as the ‘middle man’ when issues arise.”

Thanks to the seamless SAP HANA implementation by IBM Services, Papel San Francisco can access huge amounts of data extremely rapidly to reveal unprecedented insights.

Sergio Colunga states: “With SAP HANA, our managers can unlock actionable insights into how each of our product lines is performing, what and how customers purchase, and what is going on in our production plants. Armed with this fresh knowledge, C-level executives can design better strategies—from marketing campaigns for specific product lines to the launch of new products.”

Because SAP HANA enables executives to gain results on-the-fly, they now have much more time to design, develop and launch new products to satisfy an ever-growing and varied customer base.

Wholesalers served by Papel San Francisco can now count on more efficient delivery and highly customized product offerings. This enables them to stock goods that truly appeal to customers within their specific sectors.

By improving system performance, the move to SAP HANA has also accelerated month-end closing by 80 percent.

“The transformation project is delivering tangible benefits to people at all levels in the business,” adds Sergio Colunga. “As a result, C-level executives are delighted. IT staff are happy too, because other departments now view us as an innovative, forward-looking enabler of ambitious business strategies, rather than an overhead.

“What’s more, because operational staff can now use the SAP solutions independently, we have more time to focus on valuable activities such as researching the latest trends in technology and innovation to equip the business with best-in-class tools.”

Sergio Colunga concludes: “SAP HANA is an amazing platform, and the IBM team’s support enabled us to make the most of it. We were so impressed by the service from IBM Services that we are already planning to ask for their support when we implement SAP Fiori in the near future.”

Papel San Francisco logo

Papel San Francisco

Papel San Francisco is one of Mexico’s leading producers and distributors of tissue paper products, such as napkins, toilet paper and paper towels. Founded in Mexicali, Baja California, in 1980, the company employs 350 people and serves hundreds of wholesalers nationwide.

Solution Components

  • Consumer Products: Digital Operations
  • GBS BCS - EA SAP : Core ERP Central Component - ECC
  • IBM Global Business Services
  • IBM-SAP Alliance

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