To manufacture at ever-higher quality and purity, Entegris constantly seeks to raise operational efficiency. How could Entegris scale its business systems, cut costs and boost margins?
Entegris chose to deploy SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, using IBM Cloud for SAP Applications and IBM Cloud Managed Services to enable scalability, performance and cost-efficiency.
12 hoursdowntime eliminated each month, enabling continuous 24/7 operations
Near-real-timereport generation accelerates business decision-making
Zero-basedfinancial planning, using current figures for more accurate business forecasting
Business challenge story
Striving for perfection
The relentless rise of the machines, from AI to smart watches, is driving massive demand for semiconductors, fueling a global market worth USD 350 billion. Entegris serves this huge, growing sector with innovative, science-based solutions for nanometer-scale chip fabrication, life sciences materials and other high-tech industries. Purity contributes directly to increased product yields, minimizing wastage, reducing environmental impact, and improving profitability.
Scaling up manufacturing and business processes without compromising on quality presents significant challenges. In 15 years, Entegris has grown from USD 300 million to USD 1.5 billion sales, organically and through major acquisitions. To sustain consistent growth, the company looks for ways to integrate, harmonize and automate processes wherever possible; every error reduction and increase in purity helps Entegris’ customers reach their goals, too.
Entegris manages its core business processes using SAP ERP solutions, operated by IBM Services – Strategic Outsourcing as a fully managed service on servers hosted in IBM data centers. As transaction volumes increased, reporting and analytics workload was growing – yet batch processes to prepare month-end reports required transaction systems to be halted, causing a painful interruption.
Don Knutson, Vice President and CIO at Entegris, remarks, “My role is to support manufacturing and business management, including the global infrastructure and cyber-security. We continuously look at our systems to see where we can cut costs and eliminate waste throughout the supply chain. We constantly figure out how we can implement technologies to make our business more efficient, which will contribute to meeting market demand.
“At the high level, the pressing need was for an integrated financial planning and analysis environment across the whole business that would feed into our sales and operations processes. If we could connect those two, we would be able to forecast right down to the materials level, which in turn would help us with inventory, working capital, manufacturing efficiency, and serving our customers. At the operational level, as a 24/7 business we needed to eliminate the interruptions causes by the batch processes. How could we achieve these goals?”
Seeking speed of information
The launch of SAP HANA, with its high-performance in-memory database technology, immediately attracted attention from Entegris. But switching to SAP solutions powered by SAP HANA would require investment in new infrastructure, and Entegris looked for ways to defer or reduce this cost, either through hosted services or perhaps by taking a cloud-enabled approach.
As a first step, Entegris chose to upgrade to SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, planning to migrate its existing business processes without significant change. The updated SAP applications would simplify its solution environment and the new functionality would extend automation and integration to new process areas, offering lower administration and maintenance costs.
Additionally, migrating to SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA solutions enabled Entegris to implement SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, SAP Integrated Business Planning, and SAP HANA Cloud Integration engine.
Prior to the migration, the Entegris team reviewed its infrastructure approach. Familiar with running its systems in a hosted environment, the Entegris team looked at the advantages of switching to fully cloud-enabled operations. Selecting a cloud strategy could provide the much-needed scalability at significantly reduced operational costs, balanced against the need for a secure, robust application environment.
Looking for cost-efficiency
Entegris selected IBM Cloud for SAP Applications™, combined with IBM Cloud Managed Services, which includes operating system support, monitoring, and network management. The IBM Cloud offering gives access to IBM experts and advice, and enterprise-level reliability, service and support, while providing the advantages of scalability and cloud cost-efficiency.
In the transition to IBM Cloud, IBM assisted with deployment of the SAP HANA solutions by creating the virtual machines, and configuring the applications and databases ready for cutover. The rollout was completed in phases, starting with the smaller solutions including SAP Business Warehouse, SAP BusinessObjects, and SAP Governance, Risk and Control.
Don Knutson remarks, “One of the big successes of this project was that all production migrations hit their original timeline target dates. Working closely with IBM, Entegris completed successful go-lives for SAP HANA and IBM Cloud with near-zero production issues.”
Moving to IBM Cloud has immediately improved business agility. For example, without waiting for hardware to arrive and be configured, Entegris can now create new SAP environments for testing and development by adding cloud capacity. Similarly, in the past Entegris was unable to refresh more than one SAP instance at a time, as its fixed server estate did not have the ability to handle multiple system refreshes. By using IBM Cloud, the company can add capacity as needed, providing the compute headroom needed to complete multiple system refreshes, and then scale back on demand.
Don Knutson remarks, “Scalability and flexibility are absolutely huge for us. The ability to spin up new hardware on the IBM Cloud at short notice has transformed our SAP environment refresh processes, from production to QA. Previously the refreshes were carried out in serial, whereas with IBM Cloud we can complete all refreshes in parallel, immediately halving the time. We selected IBM Cloud for SAP Applications combined with IBM Cloud Managed Services because IBM offered a higher-performing product at a lower total cost of ownership. Additionally, IBM offered executive commitment to the transition and migration process, reducing our risk with the knowledge that IBM understood and was aligned with our business objectives.”
Enabling tomorrow’s breakthrough innovations
With the transition to SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA on the IBM Cloud, Entegris has seen immediate performance benefits that translate directly to business advantage.
Previously, the company’s SAP applications were unavailable during month-end reporting – and for a 24/7 business, this posed significant challenges. With SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA on IBM Cloud, Entegris has eliminated up to twelve hours of production downtime every month, a critical improvement for a company that thrives on continuous operations.
The combined power of the IBM Cloud for SAP Applications service and the SAP HANA database offers dramatically improved SAP application dialog responses, typically 50 percent faster. As workload grows, Entegris can scale up its compute capacity to meet demand without delay.
For example, in the past system backup required an offline period while the processes completed; Entegris can now run its backups without service interruption, using the speed of the SAP HANA database and the capacity of the IBM Cloud to reduce business risk and to increase up-time.
Similarly, Entegris is using IBM Cloud technologies to significantly improve its disaster recovery (DR) capabilities, as Don Knutson reports: “Previously, we had a 72-hour recovery SLA from the point of a declared disaster. By switching to IBM Cloud, Entegris now commits to a 10-hour SLA, a hugely important improvement to protect the business.”
Don Knutson concludes, “IBM Cloud for SAP Applications gives us the ability to load our data from our production systems to our SAP Business Warehouse in just a few minutes, enabling reports that use near-real-time information. Entegris executives are able to reach data and make decisions in a manner they were never able to before. We’re utilizing what we call “zero-based planning,” with zero time between report data and manufacturing status. This gives us up-to-the-moment views of trade margin analysis and production variance that helps us accurately forecast our business, serve customers better and improve profitability.
“IBM Cloud Managed Services gives us the scalability, flexibility and capacity we need to truly exploit SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA applications. Enhanced and accelerated information delivery helps us tune our manufacturing, which helps us optimize the business in so many ways, such as reduced capital requirements, lower wastage, and improved fulfilment, all destined to help our customers develop exciting innovative products and build the world’s digital future.”
Headquartered in the U.S. and with manufacturing, laboratory, sales, and support facilities around the globe, Entegris helps to make tomorrow’s technology products available and affordable today. The company is a leader in yield-enhancing materials for semiconductor and other advanced manufacturing environments, holding 639 U.S. patents and 1,364 patents in other countries. Entegris employs around 3,900 people and generates revenues of USD 1.3 billion.