Carter Holt Harvey’s business hardware and ERP software was out dated, requiring an urgent upgrade to bring the organization into the new decade. Microsoft SQL Server with SAP was implemented to improve productivity and reliability. With a reduced total cost of ownership and enhanced performance and efficiency, Carter Holt Harvey now has a system that will help keep them at the top of their game and maintain their competitive edge.Business Needs
Carter Holt Harvey Building Supplies is Australasia’s premier manufacturer of wood based building materials, and a leading supplier of these products and other building materials to the trade in New Zealand. Formed in 2007, it consolidates all of Carter Holt Harvey’s building supplies businesses into a single business comprising three units – Woodproducts Australia, Woodproducts New Zealand and Carters. The business employs more than 5,000 people in Australia and New Zealand. All Carter Holt Harvey products are manufactured from sustainable plantation Radiata Pine grown in accordance with recognized environmental standards including New Zealand’s Resource Management Act.
||We chose the Microsoft high availability data platform as this was the best strategic fit for the company, allowing us to leverage commodity hardware, provide scalable and extensible infrastructure to accommodate business growth, and deploy system upgrades and enhancements in the future.
Team Leader, Solutions Architects
Carter Holt Harvey
Carter Holt Harvey had been working on a version of SAP that was obsolete and expensive to maintain, so was looking to upgrade to reduce costs, improve efficiency and enhance customer service. The hardware had also reached end of life – there was a high risk of failure, and the company was working on multiple platforms which were proving expensive to upkeep. Performance of the entire system was becoming an increasing issue, and full SAP functionality was not able to be realized due to version obsolescence – particularly around Business Intelligence and the lack of a CRM application.
“Change was imminent – we had been using an out-dated system for a long time, and the strategic direction we were heading down meant we required a new system that would meet all of our needs,” says Chris Lowe, Team Leader, Solutions Architects and the Lead Infrastructure Architect for this project for Carter Holt Harvey.
“The existing combination of database, operating system and hardware platforms was not aligned with the rest of our systems or enterprise technology roadmap, which meant rising long-term support costs and total cost of ownership issues. We were also looking for a system that would offer us better value for money and integrate many of our processes.”
The company needed to find a solution that would allow it run enterprise resource planning (ERP) business processes (materials management, production planning, plant maintenance, sales and distribution, procurement, and business intelligence) more efficiently for 1,200 users across New Zealand and Australia, and maintain its competitive advantage. Solution
Carter Holt Harvey undertook an in-depth analysis to determine which solution would have the best strategic fit within the business. Solutions investigated included Oracle on Windows, Oracle RAC on Linux, Oracle RAC on Unix and SQL Server on Windows.
SAP, running on Microsoft SQL Server Database Management System, and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 proved to be the best strategic fit for the company, so Carter Holt Harvey chose to implement this in 2009.
“We chose the Microsoft high availability data platform as this was the best strategic fit for the company, allowing us to leverage commodity hardware, provide scalable and extensible infrastructure to accommodate business growth, and deploy system upgrades and enhancements in the future,” says Chris.
The infrastructure, or new hardware, was deployed in the first three months of the project by Carter Holt Harvey’s in-house IT team. The team was also responsible for the internal builds and data hosting, working with Oxygen on the implementation of SAP.
The new hardware included nine Dell R710 Servers, each with dual Intel Xeon X5560 Quad Core Processors and 72GB Memory, and dedicated Hitachi Data Systems AMS 2500 Storage Area Network connected to dedicated Fibre Channel SAN fabric.
“We worked with a number of partners to design the infrastructure, including Microsoft, Dell and Oxygen, as well as our own in-house Infotech team, who undertook the implementation” says Chris.
SAP received a full platform migration and version upgrade with functional enhancements to the ERP system, enterprise data warehouse and reporting, and application management and technical support. SAP CRM was introduced as a new application into the environment to help manage customer relationships.
The project took 15 months from start to finish, and was fully up-and-running by April 2010.Benefits
The main benefits of moving platforms to SQL Server on Windows for Carter Holt Harvey have included:
- Enhanced performance and speed (faster processing times)
- Increased productivity
- Improved efficiency
- Reduced total cost of ownership
- Ability to leverage existing skills
- Improved reliability
- Better value for money
- Consolidated systems
- Centralized system and data hosting
“SQL Server on Windows has proven to be highly cost effective compared with our previous system,” says Chris.
“The new software performs tasks much faster saving us time and increasing staff productivity – performance and functionality have improved exponentially, and the key month-end processes are more than eight times faster than previously. We are now able to pull accurate reports more quickly, giving us a fuller view of the company which means we can respond to any issues as they arrive in a more efficient manner.”
The introduction of the CRM tool has allowed the company a more integrated and insightful approach to managing customer relationships.
Standardization on the Microsoft technology stack made for a simpler, consistent, single vendor technology stack for Carter Holt Harvey. This has improved supportability within the organization as these represent preferred technologies consistent with all other systems and the enterprise technology road map.
In addition, the implementation of SQL Server on Microsoft Cluster Services provides High Availability and scales out readily to accommodate future growth.
“By choosing to implement the Microsoft technology stack, we can now deploy on industry standard, commodity Intel x64 server hardware for the best price performance ratio. These aspects all combine to significantly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of the system.”
With the total cost of ownership reduced, increased reliability and the ability to leverage the existing skills of the IT team, the solution is better value for money than the previous system running on old proprietary hardware.
Carter Holt Harvey has invested in a flexible and reliable IT infrastructure that can be easily adapted to suit the company as it grows and changes. The result is increased performance and functionality, meaning greater productivity in the company.This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.