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How fast can you pedal? Helping a bicycle works work faster

johncummings on ‎05-06-2014 11:11 AM

Hans-Ulrich Schaller is the Global SAP Partner Business Manager for HP. He is responsible for developing and implementing the alliance marketing business plans for outbound marketing on joint alliance initiatives, as well as for driving the global event and demand generation plans. This position is the latest in Hans-Ulrich’s 19-year involvement with SAP at HP. Throughout that time, he has demonstrated an impressive ability to make ideas happen, while creating outstanding and workable solutions for the global business-to-business marketplace. Hans-Ulrich holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Tuebingen (Germany) and a Ph.D. in Science from the same institution.


493_small.JPGNo matter how fast you pedal, a bicycle can only reach a certain speed. According to the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA), that top speed now stands at a little over 83 MPH. Not bad. But for a number of reasons, the chances of boosting this speed by 90% in the near future are slim. Not so with a major manufacturer of bicycles, Avon Cycles, Ltd. With HP appliances running its SAP HANA in-memory database, it has dramatically accelerated the production of reports … which has enabled it to improve supply chain management, increase staff productivity and save money.


Enough complexity to gum up the gears

Avon Cycles’ operations are big and complex. The company’s bicycle manufacturing facility is spread over an area of 145,000 square meters and produces two million cycles each year. There are 250 different models of bicycles, which on average are each available in four sizes and three or four colors. Each bicycle has around 350 components, and there are new models added every month.


While the company uses the most modern plants and machinery systems, the inventory has an enormous number of permutations. In addition, the company buys a huge range of components, mostly from local vendors, so effective Material Resource Planning (MRP) is critical to the business.


Avon uses SAP for its Enterprise Resource Planning system. It had previously used another major vendor’s database, but when it upgraded SAP, it decided the time was right to use SAP HANA to provide analytics and transactions in a single in-memory platform.


A simple and easy choice

When it came to selecting a platform for SAP HANA, Avon chose HP. Decision-makers found HP to be more flexible in its requirements and terms, plus more technically knowledgeable about SAP HANA. HP was also the only vendor to include essential high-availability capabilities for the solution in its proposal.  


The HP solution consists of three SAP HANA AppSystem small appliances, each configured with 256GB memory. One appliance is used for development and quality, and the other two servers are clustered and used for live production in a hot standby redundancy configuration. If either of these two appliances fails, the other is identically configured and can take over without any break in availability. Avon is also using other HP servers for its data warehouse.


HP Enterprise Services set up synchronous real-time data replication between the production and standby nodes, which ensures high availability. The replication means there is continuous updating of the secondary system by the primary system, including in-memory table loading.


Fast enough for you?

According to Avon, the biggest benefit of the new SAP HANA system is its speed. Its most important role is to handle MRP, which enables Avon to manage the thousands of different components it needs for the huge variety of different bicycles it produces. While the previous database could only produce MRP reports overnight, the SAP HANA system takes an average of only 11 minutes to run the MRP, allowing multiple reports to be run each day, if and as needed.


This dramatic speed increase of more than 90 percent has helped Avon improve how it manages its supply chain. The turnaround time has improved because the company has more confidence to chase up vendors and get components delivered on time. This results in much faster dispatch with less waiting. In fact, there has been a 50 to 60 percent reduction in dispatching delays due to SAP HANA and the HP system. In turn, this means lower costs, as well as higher dealer and customer satisfaction.


In addition to the MRP, Avon also uses its SAP HANA system to run approximately 30 different reports. Here again, speed has made a major difference. Reports which used to take 15 minutes are now completed in just 5 seconds, leading to an increase in user productivity.


Results … fast

The Avon Cycles story is an excellent example of the HP – SAP alliance at work. HP and SAP join forces to enable their mutual customers to gather real-time information about their business, their marketplace, and their customers—so they can act on more opportunities and respond more quickly. To that end, HP and SAP deliver hardware, software, and services optimized and tuned for one another. HP delivers to customers directly, as well as through its ecosystem of channel partners— which is the largest in the industry. All joint solutions from HP and SAP are dedicated to high business value, increased flexibility and security, and a customer experience that accelerates SAP solution adoption.


You can read more about how HP helped Avon Cycles improve supplier management with SAP HANA in this case study.


Learn more about the HP & SAP Alliance here.


The Avon Cycles, Ltd. case study is a candidate for an SAP Trailblazer Innovator award.  Please go to the SAP site at:  and login/registerto cast your vote for this great joint HP – SAP success.


- Hans-Ulrich Schaller

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Editor and writer with 12+ years experience in the corporate software and technology sectors.

on ‎05-13-2014 08:07 AM


on ‎12-14-2015 11:01 PM

Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! Excellent

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