To help it deliver affordable medicines to millions more people worldwide, Mankind Pharma must keep cash and costs under tight control. How could it harness its data to lift operational efficiency?
Mankind Pharma engaged IBM Services to deploy a high-performance platform for near-real-time analytics, based on SAP S/4HANA on IBM Power Systems servers and IBM FlashSystem storage.
50xacceleration in analytics reporting
25%inventory reduction boosts cash flow
20%lower IT operational costs
Business challenge story
Aiming for global leadership
Mankind Pharma is one of India’s fastest-growing pharmaceutical manufacturers, offering over 1,000 products in 17 therapeutic areas. As part of its vision to ensure that people from all sections of society have access to affordable, high-quality medicines, the company has expanded its footprint into 34 international markets, including countries in North America, Africa and Asia.
Pramod Gokhale, Group CIO at Mankind Pharma, explains, “Over the past five years, our business has grown from strength to strength. Our medium-term objective is to reach USD1 billion in annual revenues. Bringing our products to millions more consumers around the world will play an important role in helping us achieve that goal.”
Cash flow and operational costs are key focus areas for Mankind Pharma, and tight control of both is essential to make affordable medicines available to millions of people around the world while protecting margins. To drive efficient operations, the company has relied for more than a decade on SAP ERP solutions to analyze group-wide performance and steer strategic decisions.
“Our business runs on data, and in recent years we’ve seen an explosion in the volume and velocity of our analytics workloads,” Pramod Gokhale continues. “We depend on our SAP solutions to support many of our critical processes, including production planning and inventory management. As time went on, our SAP ERP database swelled to a massive 5 TB, and key reports could take as long as 24 hours to complete.”
Targeting next-generation analytics
With further international expansion on the horizon, Mankind Pharma recognized that its existing data platform would be unable to keep up with continued growth in analytics workloads. At the same time, the company was keen to embrace new technologies such as AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation to increase its global footprint while keeping day-to-day operations lean.
“We were confident that moving to the next-generation ERP, SAP S/4HANA, would deliver the analytics capabilities, and lay the foundation for future innovations such as AI,” comments Pramod Gokhale. “We set out to find a trusted vendor to support us on our digital transformation journey. Mankind Pharma was looking for an experienced partner with the tools, technology and people to help us build a future-ready platform for data-driven decision-making.”
To harness the full power of its core business applications, Mankind Pharma selected IBM to deliver its new platform for SAP S/4HANA. The solution is based on high-performance IBM Power Systems servers with IBM POWER9™ processors, connected to IBM FlashSystem storage.
“One of the things we appreciate most about the IBM solution is how well optimized the IBM Power® System S922 servers are for SAP S/4HANA workloads,” says Pramod Gokhale. “IBM and SAP have a close strategic alliance, which means that product developers at both companies work together when designing new solutions.”
He continues, “The collaboration between IBM and SAP shines through when it comes to SAP S/4HANA application performance on IBM Power Systems servers. We had already been using IBM POWER7® processor-based systems for more than 10 years in our SAP ERP environment. IBM is a trusted, long-term partner for Mankind Pharma, and we knew from first-hand experience that we could expect a robust, reliable platform with responsive, high-quality support from IBM.”
Cutting time-to-value with IBM
To cut its time-to-value with expert integration, Mankind Pharma partnered with IBM to implement the new infrastructure. The new platform consists of two identical production environments based on four IBM Power System S922 servers, installed at Mankind Pharma’s primary and disaster recovery data centers by an expert team from IBM Technology Support Services.
“Using IBM PowerVM® to create logical partitions in the IBM Power Systems servers we can support multiple SAP and non-SAP workloads in a very dense server footprint,” adds Pramod Gokhale. “In fact, the new solution requires 25 percent less rack space, and we have significantly reduced our power, cooling and management costs.”
During the project, IBM Technology Support Services worked closely with a group of software specialists from IBM Systems Lab Services, who were responsible for virtualizing the environment with IBM PowerVM and configuring the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications (external link) operating system. To simplify ongoing management and maintenance of the infrastructure and operating systems at both data centers, Mankind Pharma engaged a dedicated team from IBM Services (Global Technology Services®).
To complement the reliability and performance of the IBM Power Systems solutions with high input/output operations per second (IOPS) for demanding analytics workloads, the company deployed multiple IBM FlashSystem 5000 systems, equipped with hybrid drives.
Built on IBM Spectrum® Virtualize, the IBM FlashSystem solutions include IBM Storage Insights: a cloud-based solution that offers full visibility and straightforward data management across the company’s storage environment. Mankind Pharma uses sub-millisecond flash technology for its most demanding tier-one workloads, with solid-state drives for tier-two storage and serial-attached SCSI drives for tier-three storage.
Pramod Gokhale comments, “We use an on-premises customer-relationship management [CRM] solution to drive our CRM process, and the application requires low-latency access to business data. Thanks to the high IOPS performance of our IBM solution, we can ensure that both SAP and non-SAP workloads run smoothly on IBM Power Systems servers.”
Protecting data round the clock
To deliver 24/7 protection for mission-critical data, Mankind Pharma performs regular backups to IBM storage using IBM Spectrum Protect. By enabling high-performance data compression and deduplication, IBM Spectrum Protect helps the company to contain its backup storage infrastructure requirements while greatly enhancing manageability. And for total resiliency in a disaster scenario, Mankind Pharma uses active/passive clustering in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications to replicate production data to its secondary data center environment.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is specially tuned to optimize performance for the SAP HANA platform and S/4HANA, and it also offers a Live Patching capability that increases availability by enabling Linux kernel patching and updates on live systems. And with a licensing approach that bundles the operating system, high-availability components, storage components and network components into a single package, using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications makes things simpler and more economical for Mankind Pharma.
Today, the company uses SAP S/4HANA to drive its end-to-end business processes, integrated with the SAP Fiori® user experience to enable executive dashboards and on-the-go mobile access. Mankind Pharma also uses cloud-based SAP solutions to provide detailed business control: SAP Concur® for expenses, travel and invoice management, and SAP SuccessFactors® for human resource management.
“Even though our implementation happened during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, the IBM team pulled out all the stops to give us a seamless deployment,” recalls Pramod Gokhale. “The project went flawlessly, and IBM delivered every aspect of the solution on time and within budget.”
Driving faster, smarter decisions
By switching to SAP S/4HANA running on high-performance IBM solutions, Mankind Pharma gains the capacity to operate with greater flexibility, empower faster decision-making, and focus its attention on core business objectives. The new capabilities will enable rapid expansion into new markets, and bring the company closer to its USD1 billion revenue goal.
“With SAP S/4HANA on IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystem, we can generate our analytics reports some 50 times faster,” says Pramod Gokhale. “With SAP Fiori, our decision-makers can now access these insights from anywhere, in near-real time, on their mobile devices, which helps them to make better-informed decisions more quickly.”
He continues, “For example, materials requirements and inventory reports previously took up to 24 hours to complete. Because we were always working with data that was at least a day old, it was difficult to align our production with current sales trends. Today, we can produce these reports in just seven minutes, enabling us to optimize our manufacturing plans using near-real-time insights that help us to cut waste and drive down costs.”
Reducing costs, facilitating growth
By orchestrating its business processes based on a timely and accurate view of orders, manufacturing and current stock, Mankind Pharma has successfully shrunk its inventory from 60 days to 45 days, a 25 percent reduction that enables the company to redirect capital into future expansion.
Pramod Gokhale adds, “To keep medicines affordable, it’s vital that we can operate efficiently even as our business grows. By leveraging the benefits of IBM technologies and expertise, that is what we are achieving. The new IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage solutions have helped us cut our IT operational costs by 20 percent per year. Even as we have done that, the IBM solutions have boosted our compute, storage and networking performance dramatically.”
He continues, “Most importantly, we can now fail over to our disaster recovery environment instantly in the event of an issue with our primary site—giving us the peace of mind that our employees can continue their work no matter what.”
Moving to a single, central platform for SAP and non-SAP workloads has also delivered powerful cost-efficiencies in Mankind Pharma’s IT function. Because the IBM Power Systems solution is architected with development, quality assurance and production environments all running on the same platform, the company can accommodate month-end peaks with ease by temporarily reassigning resources to production workloads.
“Flexibly reallocating resources on our IBM Power Systems platform means we avoid the cost of maintaining large amounts of compute headroom that we only ever need to use a few days out of each month,” comments Pramod Gokhale. “This approach also gives us the ability to dynamically share SAP HANA licenses from a central pool, further optimizing our operational costs.”
Set up for success
Mankind Pharma is confident that the combination of SAP S/4HANA on IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystem solutions will provide the solid foundation to support its business growth for at least ten years.
“The pharmaceutical industry is driven by data, and Mankind Pharma is no exception,” concludes Pramod Gokhale. “With SAP S/4HANA driven by IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystem storage, we have the future-ready platform to support our business expansion for the next decade, helping us to bring affordable medicines to millions more people around the world.”
Founded in 1995, Mankind Pharma (external link) is one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in India, employing 15,000 people and generating annual revenues equivalent to almost USD 1 billion. A fully integrated pharmaceutical company, Mankind Pharma operates a comprehensive network of manufacturing and distribution facilities across 34 countries for over 1,000 products in 17 therapeutic areas.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Power Systems solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit: /it-infrastructure/power/sap-hana
To learn more about IBM Storage solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit: /it-infrastructure/storage/sap-hana