Understanding performance is the key to customer service. Seeking constant improvement in the ability to analyze customer data, Baldor wanted a strategic solution to help drill down into data faster.
Baldor deployed IBM® Db2® Analytics Accelerator, integrated with SAP solutions on the IBM z Systems® platform, to help extract even greater value from existing infrastructure, processes and skills.
Onsitesupport from experienced, local Db2 personnel
Reducedmaintenance costs based on newer technology
Business challenge story
Customer service excellence
Production line downtime can be very costly to manufacturing companies. That’s when Baldor Electric Company comes to the rescue, with rapid design, manufacture and on-time delivery of highly reliable electric motors and mechanical power transmission products.
With international competition chasing the same customers, Baldor focuses on providing quality products and customer service excellence. The company depends on finely tuned, optimized manufacturing processes, and the ability to respond to customer needs in real time.
Roger Gattis, Manager, IS Large Systems at Baldor, comments, “One of the biggest driving forces in our company is customer service. Being able to manufacture a motor as quickly as possible and at the best quality as possible with our specialized shop floor workflows is critical. We have the ability to run different sizes and types of motors on the same assembly line, and can produce a custom motor quicker than anybody else.”
To help manage its manufacturing, order and sales processing as efficiently as possible, Baldor relies on SAP applications and the IBM® Db2® database, running on the IBM z Systems® platform. These business-critical systems are responsible for capturing all of the company’s business transactions in immense detail.
Baldor was running SAP Business Warehouse to analyze every aspect of its business, providing insight that is used in every division, from the boardroom to the manufacturing shop floor.
As data volumes grew, Baldor saw a need to improve the performance of its SAP Business Warehouse application. Baldor chose to move the workload onto a separate hardware appliance designed to accelerate query and reporting performance.
Andy George, BW solutions architect, explains, “We introduced the accelerator appliance purely for speed. With this, reports that took 30 minutes could be produced in under a minute. Our business users received regular updates on business performance and metrics such as sales data, and our partners could view warranty and scorecard reports to help them assess their own performance.”
After five years Baldor again saw a need to strengthen and extend its reporting and analysis capabilities. However, its existing vendor’s replacement solution required investment in new technologies and new skill-sets.
How could Baldor protect its investment in existing infrastructure, and maintain the excellent performance that its users had come to expect?
Looking at its range of SAP applications, Baldor realized that IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator offered a near-perfect fit with its requirements. The appliance integrates seamlessly with the IBM z Systems platform, and provides analytics acceleration for core applications such as SAP Business Warehouse and SAP Business Suite, as well as specific SAP solutions such as Controlling-Profitability Analysis. Additionally, Db2 Analytics Accelerator can accelerate analytics for non-SAP applications, offering potential improvements to other parts of Baldor’s operations.
Roger Gattis says, “Db2 Analytics Accelerator offered a simple way to continue our business warehouse acceleration strategy, without the cost and complexity of introducing a whole new set of technologies to our infrastructure.
“Our previous solution depended heavily on just one person, who possessed the specific skills required to maintain it. By contrast, we can manage Db2 Analytics Accelerator through the standard, familiar Db2 interface. Within just a few days our DBAs were able to understand and manage the Accelerator, and we have now removed that risk of relying on just a single individual.”
IBM provided a proof of concept (PoC) that demonstrated the capabilities of the Db2 Analytics Accelerator, and showed that it could deliver equivalent or improved results compared to the old appliance.
Roger Gattis says: “The equipment arrived on Monday, was configured on Tuesday, and we ran the PoC on Wednesday. By Friday we had made our decision. When we were ready, we switched off the old accelerator – which meant we switched off the monthly support costs too.”
Andy George adds, “We had almost no feedback from users, which is a good thing! The switchover was seamless, and the IBM team was there to assist with any questions we had throughout the process.”
Db2 Analytics Accelerator integrates the z Systems infrastructure with IBM PureData® System for Analytics, powered by Netezza® technology. The solution creates a highly efficient transactional and analytics processing environment that uses massively parallel processing to accelerate query speeds, improve efficiency, and unlock new value from existing infrastructure investments.
With the Db2 Analytics Accelerator in place, Baldor has removed the business risk and cost threat associated with the previous appliance. Andy George continues, “With the previous solution, support was always a concern. With Db2 Analytics Accelerator, it’s not a worry at all. The IBM team did a great job of introducing our team to the technology, and we get answers to our questions almost immediately. Additionally, because we are familiar with the Db2 interface, our business and technical teams are confident about supporting and managing the solution in-house, greatly reducing our corporate risk.”
Roger Gattis adds, “Whatever you want to do is easily done. In the case of an outage with the former system, a rebuild took at least a day. With Db2 Analytics Accelerator, it takes around two hours, managed through the GUI or stored procedures. If you have Db2 expertise, you have Db2 Analytics Accelerator expertise, which reduces our training costs and enhances our business resilience.”
In an industry where customer service is a critical part of the manufacturing process, Baldor is exploiting the speed of information delivery to fine-tune its operations yet further. Unlike the previous appliance, which was only capable of handling SAP Business Warehouse workloads, IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator can be used to accelerate other SAP and non-SAP applications, too. As a result, Baldor is already considering how the solution can be leveraged throughout the company – all while preserving and enhancing the original investment in the IBM Db2 platform.
Roger Gattis remarks, “Month-end closure is a typical example where we are under pressure to get our financial reports over to our parent company. Now that we can easily handle our existing business warehouse acceleration workload, we are looking at adding some of that financial data into Db2 Analytics Accelerator, which could have a huge impact on the accounting department.
“The manufacturing teams are also looking at exploring the use of Db2 Analytics Accelerator to create dashboards for the shop floor. For example, we could publish near real-time order information to the display screens along our production line, helping to avoid conveyor slowdowns and keep the production process moving.”
From what originally started as a straight replacement of business warehouse accelerator technology, IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator is opening up a world of possibilities for Baldor: greater digitization of manufacturing processes, potentially faster month-end closing, and new opportunities to accelerate non-SAP applications, too.
The Db2 Analytics Accelerator represents the strategic direction for IBM, provides multiple uses beyond SAP applications, and provides significant capacity for expansion, all of which will enable Baldor to grow its analytics operations and scope considerably.
Andy George concludes, “The level of support and the confidence provided by IBM makes all the difference, combined with reduced business risk and improved system resilience.”
Roger Gattis agrees, “The simplified operations integrated with our IBM z Systems and Db2 platform, and the ease of configuration and management are major factors. Most of all, the ability to extend accelerated analytics to new areas of the business truly distinguishes IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator from the competition – and we’re starting that journey right now.”
About Baldor Electric Company
Baldor Electric Company designs, manufactures and markets industrial electric motors, drives and mechanical power transmission products. The company is headquartered in Fort Smith, AR. Baldor is part of the ABB Group.
- DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS
- DB2 for z/OS
- Db2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS
- IBM Z: IBM Z running z/OS
- IBM-SAP Alliance
- SAP Business Suite
- SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse
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