Centuryply, founded in 1986 by industrialists Sajan Bhanjanka and Sanjay Agarwal is India’s market leading plywood company, and the “fastest growing plywood company” in the world. Indeed, over the past several years the company has received a number of accolades and is internationally recognized as one of India’s most innovative firms and brands. Placed in to perspective, Centuryply’s accomplishments are truly remarkable for a firm whose number one product has traditionally been labeled as a commoditized item. The following sections will discuss some of the elements that make this company truly unique.When discussing the reasons behind why an unbranded or branded strategy is the best approach, its imperative that we take in to consideration the product itself, as well as the market the product is being marketed in. For instance, the Indian market has traditionally considered home furnishing as a commoditized product. Prior to the turn of the century, Indian consumers simply expected only that their furnishing items be strong and durable. For companies engaged in the furnishing business, a commodity-centric approach was more than sufficient in order to satisfy the needs and preferences of their customer base.However, the economic prosperity and cultural shift that would sweep India during the early 2000s would change the way companies do business in the furnishing industry. This shift opened the door for a firm such Centuryply that based its strategy on a brand-centric approach. Centuryply’s research in to consumer trends provides a detailed description of why branded furnishing has begum to resonate with the Indian market. Those studies showed that Indian consumer’s “perceptions and associations of home” had undergone meaningful changes.
Most CIOs predicted 2016 to be the year of cloud and analytics, so it comes as no surprise as more and more companies are ditching their on-premise infrastructure for a faster and more efficient cloud infrastructure. This is why leading plywood and veneer vendor CenturyPly went live on SAP HANA’s cloud data center in March 2016. The company was upgrading legacy SAP implementations that had been implemented in 2008 in five factories and over 50 branches and warehouses.
As an in-memory platform that performs smarter analytics applications and makes business processes faster, SAP HANA was the natural progression from its legacy SAP infrastructure to support the company’s business expansion.
Also read: How Networking Helped Century Plyboards Reduce Cost
“CenturyPly’s SAP infrastructure was due for a refresh. The applications became slow and month-end server performance was degraded due to high transaction load,” said Sabyasachi Thakur, general manager SAP and IT, Century Ply. He said there was a need for a scalable model for the company’s ERP server infrastructure so that the in-house IT team could focus more on solving business and end users problems.
The whole process was done in a span of three days of planned downtime, which involved manually carrying all the company’s data from their offices in Kolkata to the datacenter hosted in Mumbai and restoring it on the HANA server.
The new infrastructure is hosted at a managed virtual private cloud (VPC) datacenter in Mumbai with in-memory architecture and high processing speed, which provides users with accelerated business transactions and analytical reports.
The migration from on-premise to cloud was the biggest challenge. The whole process was done in a span of three days of planned downtime, which involved manually carrying all the company’s data from their offices in Kolkata to the datacenter hosted in Mumbai and restoring it on the HANA server. Any delay would have resulted in loss of business as the entire business runs on SAP, especially in the financially crucial month of March.
“The implementation had its challenges as we needed to ensure that all existing custom programs and reports developed over years ran smoothly on the new platform,” said Thakur.
Instead of a public cloud, the company opted for a managed VPC on an opex model with a five-year contract, which helped the company keep the TCO low.
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“We sometimes miss out on the opportunity of upgrading and scaling infrastructure in an on-premise model because of the capex cost. This often leads to slow responses and user dissatisfaction at the end of the product lifecycle,” Thakur explained. Having agreed on an opex model, the company can upgrade the hardware at the right time.
CenturyPly has experienced great benefits with this implementation by accelerating transaction entry and report generation. While the time saved varies from transaction to transaction, there is increased overall productivity and efficiency. Reports which used to run in the background for over a day earlier are now executed in less than three hours.
“Having implemented SAP HANA on managed VPC, CenturyPly is remodeling the financial and costing modules to provide better visibility to product costing and profitability. In the future, we propose to implement applications such as simple finance on HANA as well,” said Thakur.