How could SPL balance its ambitions: increase manufacturing, ensure cost-effective production, and protect the environment?
To help grow its operations, SPL moved its mission-critical business applications to SAP S/4HANA running on IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage solutions.
Boostssales with automated online order processing and payments system and reduces capital requirements for raw materials and finished goods inventory management
85% reductionin time taken to complete month-end reporting, reduced from one week to a single day
>60% fastersystem restart processes help streamline IT system administration while CPU utilization of <50% during peak times keeps operations running smoothly
Business challenge story
Opportunities for sustainable growth
As more businesses seek to reduce the impact of their products and services on the environment, demand for re-usable and recyclable plastics is on the rise.
SPL, a leading manufacturer of plastics and polymers in India, is keen to seize this opportunity for expansion, with ambitious plans to increase its market share.
“We’ve been broadening our product range in recent years to meet growing demand for high-quality plastics,” comments Hemant Pandit, Head of IT at SPL. “In particular, we looked to increase the production of value-added compounds in our product range.”
By producing more polymers for use in building insulation, SPL recognized that it could also offer greater support for the creation of energy-efficient homes and businesses.
“We take our responsibility to protect the environment seriously, which is why we’ve taken steps to steadily reduce our net energy consumption over the years,” says Hemant Pandit. “To continue to grow our business in an environmentally sustainable way, we also aim to boost production capacity without increasing our carbon footprint.”
Isha Raina, Systems Manager at SPL adds, “To drive innovation and help expand our market share, we decided to step up the IT infrastructure supporting our core operations. Specifically, we set out to help accelerate productivity by streamlining our back-office operations, while also ensuring that we run our business as energy-efficiently as possible.”
Forging new partnerships
As a first step, SPL was looking to digitize and automate key workflows, particularly its order processing, which relied on email and manual data entry. In addition, as sales increased and production volumes climbed, financial reports were taking too long to process, reducing management insight. On the technical side, with data center footprint, energy consumption, and IT maintenance workloads all rising, pressure mounted to reduce overheads even as the desire for new capabilities grew.
To address its challenges, SPL decided to deploy new IT infrastructure designed to deliver on its capacity, capability and flexibility objectives. At the same time, the company chose to move its existing SAP applications from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA, offering fully integrated business operations that could help drive greater efficiency and support its growth goals.
Hemant Pandit comments, “Where other vendors proposed multiple servers to support our SAP workloads, IBM showed that their solutions could house our production workloads, applications, our database and a development environment on just one server. This approach presented an opportunity to significantly reduce our data center footprint and simplify the management of our IT systems. And having used IBM System i infrastructure for over a decade, we also knew that we could trust IBM to deliver the robust, reliable and flexible solutions we required to expand our business.”
SPL implemented its new SAP S/4HANA solutions on a single IBM Power Systems S824 server running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications (external link). To maximize server utilization, SPL uses IBM PowerVM® to create multiple virtual environments, optimized for each application.
Isha Raina adds, “We decided to run our SAP applications on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, as this would help us ensure consistently strong performance and protect our systems against unplanned downtime. Combined with the Virtual Persistent Memory feature in IBM PowerVM, the SUSE operating system helps us to quickly restart our systems following patches and updates.”
SPL also deployed IBM FlashSystem® 5000 to store SAP S/4HANA backup data as well as other critical application data, including email and unstructured file data. To increase resiliency, SPL installed a Cisco MDS 16GB SAN Switch alongside its IBM storage array.
Hemant Pandit continues, “We were impressed with IBM FlashSystem storage; it backs up our large SAP S/4HANA database incredibly quickly, which releases time to implement more frequent system backups, strengthening business continuity. The Cisco MDS switch enhances system resiliency by reducing points-of-failure in our storage environment, while also providing us with up to 12 ports for connecting additional devices—making it easy to scale-up our storage if we need to increase capacity.”
Isha Raina adds, “Knowing that IBM and Cisco work closely together as strategic partners, we felt confident that the combined solutions and expertise of both companies would deliver the best results for SPL in the long run and help drive our business forward.”
To accelerate implementation, SPL enlisted the help of its long-term business partner Intellect Bizware which helped the company with the SAP S/4HANA configuration and deployment. IBM Systems Lab Services also helped SPL deploy and provision the IBM Power System S824 and IBM FlashSystem 5000 devices for optimum performance.
Isha Raina says, “The IBM Systems Lab Services team took the time to understand our unique infrastructure and worked closely with our partner Intellect Bizware to ensure that we could get our IBM hardware up and running as soon as possible. IBM Systems Lab Services did a great job, gathering all the data required for the hardware upgrade, helping us achieve best practices during installation, making sure that all our requirements were met and ensuring that the implementation ran smoothly.”
With support from IBM and Intellect Bizware, SPL managed to migrate its SAP environment to SAP S/4HANA in three months and then went live with the new IBM and SAP solutions after a month-long user acceptance period.
Increased production, greater efficiency
Since moving to SAP S/4HANA, IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystems, SPL has gained accurate insights to help optimize its capital investment in raw materials and finished goods—improving operational efficiency and releasing more resources for innovation. The company achieved this while also gaining significant back-office wins.
Isha Raina explains, “With our applications running on IBM Power Systems, we’ve reduced data center footprint. Previously, SPL relied on two racks of servers to support our production applications, whereas we now only need one rack. As a result, we’ve reduced our floorspace requirements by 50 percent and significantly lowered associated energy and cooling costs, shrinking the environmental impact, too.”
Continuing the theme, Isha Raina adds, “SPL has also reduced the restart times for its core applications by up to 60 percent, from 15 minutes to under 5 minutes. However, over three years of operation, SPL has not encountered an instance of unplanned downtime. At the same time, the company has achieved stable, reliable performance, with CPU usage remaining under 50 percent even during peak times—ensuring we have the headroom for future growth.”
The technical enhancements translate directly to business benefits, too. Isha Raina elaborates, “IBM and SAP solutions help us to keep our back-office infrastructure lean and run our business more efficiently. For example, we’ve accelerated our month-end financial reports from one week in the past to just a single day on SAP S/4HANA—that’s 85 percent faster. This speed helps to provide deep, granular insight into business performance. Today, we have the timely access to information we need to make rapid, data-driven decisions.”
Hemant Pandit remarks, “SAP S/4HANA, IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystems have laid the foundation for a more modern, convenient order and payments process for SPL’s clients. As a result, we can process a higher volume of transactions, which will help us to expand our business and increase our revenues. Because IBM Power Systems provides a very stable, robust environment for our SAP S/4HANA applications, SPL plans to upgrade to IBM POWER9® processor-based infrastructure in the years ahead: a move that will further enhance system performance and scalability.”
In conclusion, Hemant Pandit adds, “With IBM, SAP and Cisco solutions in place, SPL is better positioned to grow and adapt to meet the needs of our clients. We look forward to working with IBM and SAP as we explore new ways to enhance our operations and drive innovation.”
Supreme Petrochem Limited (external link) operates state-of-the-art petrochemical production facilities across India, with sites in Nagothane and Chennai. Offering a wide range of polymer products, Supreme Petrochem exports polystyrene, polymer grades and other styrenics to more than 100 countries.
Take the next step
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To learn more about the IBM Cisco Alliance, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: /alliance
Based in Navi Mumbai, Intellect Bizware helps businesses around the world implement, enhance and support their mission-critical SAP applications. To find out more, visit: intellectbizware.com