The word has spread: SAP HANA can help enterprises analyze the massive volumes of data they work with and create more intelligent business processes. Thanks to real-time database access with SAP HANA, businesses are able to run analyses and reports over 1,000 times faster. By using simulations and predictive capabilities for accelerated planning, they can boost the quality of deliveries, reduce inventory volumes, and increase customer loyalty.
Until now, however, the assumption was that an investment in SAP HANA would only pay off for larger companies. Schukat electronic, a family-run business based in Monheim am Rhein, Germany, has proven this assumption wrong. The electronic-component distributor, with a workforce of 140, is one of the first SMEs worldwide to deploy SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA. “SAP HANA is definitely a worthwhile investment for SMEs,” says managing director Georg Schukat, who is convinced that in-memory technology can provide vital competitive edge. He explains, “Our success stems from our strong customer focus. As a wholesale distributor, the only way we can achieve excellence is by ensuring first-class service and quick deliveries.” Rapid product availability is vital: To make sure every order ships within 24 hours, the company holds about 97% of the 20,000 electronics components it sells in stock.
All process data on SAP HANA platform
To stay competitive, Schukat electronic needs to continuously optimize its processes. “That means being able to analyze our processes in detail,” says Georg Schukat. “We need an overview of the total lead time per order and detailed insights on data in the individual systems so that we can see exactly where we need to take action to optimize our lead times.”
SAP HANA can help: The in-memory database allows Schukat to bundle all of its process data on a single platform, which makes it much easier to generate reports and analyses and to check specific KPIs and early warning indicators on a daily basis. “This ensures that we can offer a better quality of service and increase customer satisfaction,” says Schukat.
Next page: Isn’t SAP HANA too big for an SME?
Schukat electronic implemented SAP ERP and SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) for its warehouse systems back in 2009, having already developed its own reports and analysis for logistics and sales. However, with today’s SMEs now processing increasingly large volumes of data, these in-house developments soon became inadequate for their purpose. Whenever a large-scale analysis took place, Schukat’s operations were brought almost to a standstill − leaving the company virtually paralyzed. “Our processes carried on running,” recalls Schukat, “but it was rather like flying blind. In today’s world, developing optimal business processes is impossible without business intelligence systems.”
To begin with, Schukat thought SAP HANA might be a step too far for an SME. The company couldn’t even benefit from the experience of other businesses of a similar size because it was one of the first to opt for SAP HANA. Nevertheless, Schukat’s managing director is very satisfied with SAP HANA’s performance and with the possibilities it offers, which include targeted product and point-of-sales analyses and quarterly reports.
Point-of-sales reports in four seconds
Before SAP HANA arrived on the scene, it took Schukat electronic four days to create a point-of-sales report − because of the large number of manual steps involved. The process has now been automated with SAP HANA and takes just four seconds. Schukat can also create more complex reports with data from a variety of applications, such as SAP ERP and SAP EWM, and from other systems such as the Webshop and customer relationship management – across the entire value chain. This gives the company complete transparency over its processes and allows it to identify ways of improving them: from incoming orders to goods delivery to the customer. Because all the data from the main process is consolidated in the SAP HANA database, Schukat can use it to set up KPIs and deadline thresholds and thus improve customer service, such as shortening the waiting time for the goods to arrive.
In the future, the electronic-component dealer also plans to make its workforce planning more flexible – by predicting employee utilization and personnel requirements – in order to cut costs.
“SAP HANA has empowered us to give our customers the service they expect,” says Georg Schukat. “It’s vitally important for SMEs to maintain a strong customer focus. And SAP HANA helps us do just that.”