Relying on a complex global supply chain, how could this leading consumer products manufacturer scale and optimize its operations and innovate with a small IT staff?
The company migrated its SAP ERP applications to IBM Cloud, using IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications to enhance supply chain management and power innovation.
Optimizessupply chain efficiency and cuts costs
Freesthe IT team to focus on strategic business priorities
Createsa flexible, reliable platform to manage complex global needs
Business challenge story
Operating in a large and valuable sector of the U.S. consumer products market, producers strive to differentiate themselves by refreshing their products to meet new consumer tastes. This leading consumer products manufacturer is constantly aiming to innovate by expanding and evolving its product offering to make eating on the move more convenient for consumers.
A spokesperson for the consumer products manufacturer explains: “We’re always trying to predict where consumer tastes will go next and stay ahead of the game by meeting that demand at the right time.”
The company uses SAP ERP applications throughout its business, from financial planning, controlling and profitability analysis, as well as to manage its supply chain, which stretches thousands of miles around the world.
The spokesperson comments: “We use SAP ERP applications to track our inventory and understand the movement of our products and materials. We explore the data to predict demand, ensuring that we can keep products in the optimal locations for delivery to the right stores on time.
“We make a lot of products at various sites dotted around the globe, so ensuring everything is in the right place at the right time can be a real challenge.”
As the manufacturer grew and expanded its product range, it found that managing and administering its SAP ERP applications was becoming a drain on its IT resources, which had decreased in size following a change in corporate ownership.
The spokesperson adds: “Our business model is all about making great-tasting food that Americans love—that’s what we’re good at. Although we’re not an IT company, it’s vital for us to strive for perfection in everything we do.
“We set out to find the best SAP administration partners for our business and ensure we had headroom for future growth—leaving us to focus on providing our customers with tasty, healthy food.”
Transforming the business
The company decided that a move to the cloud was the best way to efficiently run SAP ERP applications and optimize its supply chain. With a managed SAP application environment in the cloud, the company’s IT team wouldn’t have to worry about day-to-day IT operations, and would be able to focus its energy entirely on innovation and expanding the business.
The manufacturer looked for an experienced SAP management partner whose cloud platform would have the flexibility and reliability to meet the needs of its global operations. The company decided to migrate to IBM Cloud, engaging IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications to run its SAP deployment.
The spokesperson explains the selection: “We only have five people in our IT team, so we need to partner with people who are the best—so we chose IBM. There were only a couple of companies in the world with the SAP expertise to provide the level of managed service that we required for our SAP environment, while also ensuring the flexibility we wanted for future growth.”
The spokesperson continues: “We went with the one that we had the confidence would be able to do the job effectively, efficiently, on time, and on budget.
“We have an excellent partnership with IBM—the team took the time to get to know our business in depth, and they now have a clear understanding of our strategy and how we’re looking to progress as a company.”
Realizing the benefits
With its SAP ERP environment in the IBM Cloud, and administered by IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications, the company has freed up its IT team to focus on tasks that will drive innovation and add real value to the business, unlocked the flexibility required to support future growth, and cut costs.
The spokesperson comments: “Working with IBM gives me real confidence and peace of mind about our SAP environment. The support we receive from IBM means I don’t need a 24/7 application support team—even though our operations continue around the clock. It means I don’t have to monitor a data center team. I don’t need database administrators, systems administrators or storage engineers, and I don’t need to have backup or disaster recovery.
“I’m able to rely on IBM to handle all of those things and more for us. This is vital, as it allows us to keep costs low by maintaining a tight IT team, and we can devote all of our attention to more productive tasks that will help us innovate and provide tangible benefits to the business.”
The company is confident that the flexibility that IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications provides will prove invaluable as the company continues to expand and develop new products.
The spokesperson adds: “With IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications, we’ve cut the time and effort involved in buying and maintaining infrastructure. Instead, we can simply request that IBM scale up our capacity.
“This is very important for us: with our product range expanding, the flexibility that IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications provides ensures that we reliably gain deep, timely insight into our supply chain and sales trends, while ensuring that they continue to meet service level agreements to deliver availability for our global operations, even as our SAP workloads evolve and grow.”
IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications gives the company access to a range of advanced technologies hosted in the IBM Cloud, including the IBM Blockchain Platform, which could help the company remain compliant amid increasing sector regulation.
The spokesperson explains: “IBM offers a lot of opportunities to use advanced technologies that otherwise wouldn’t be available to us because of the scale of our IT department. As an example, we’re evaluating the IBM Blockchain Platform and how it could help us manage our supply chain more transparently to comply with new regulations.”
With its SAP ERP solution in IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications, the company is well positioned to maintain and strengthen its leading position in the U.S. market.
The spokesperson concludes: “Working with IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications definitely helps me sleep at night—because to make products our customers love, we need the best support out there. The SAP expertise we’ve gained from our partnership with IBM, as well as the flexibility of the IBM Cloud platform, gives me confidence that we’re in a great position to continue doing what we do best.”
About Consumer products manufacturer
This leading consumer products manufacturer creates food products for the U.S. market.
Take the next step
To learn more about the IBM SAP Alliance, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/sap
To learn more about IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/services/sap/managed