Baba’s Keeps Its Spices Fresh with Real-Time Data from SAP on AWS
Building a Curry and Spices Empire
Malaysia is a country of diversity. Its bright cuisine reflects its intersection of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cultures. Fragrant curries are a staple in Malaysian kitchens at home and abroad, and Baba’s curry mixes and spice powders are sold by nearly every grocery retailer in the country. Founded more than 40 years ago, Baba’s began with its owner selling fresh spices out of the back of his truck. Today, the company employs more than 1,200 people across Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.
All our processes are integrated and automated on one platform with SAP on AWS, which has increased business efficiency while reducing the manual effort.”
Head of Finance, Baba’s Group of Companies
Streamlining Business Processes with Cloud-Based ERP
Baba’s has been growing steadily, and in 2017, it sought to implement a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to support business expansion. It wanted to streamline and integrate its business processes and increase productivity by reducing manual tasks such as inventory taking, and invoice and delivery processing.
Baba’s selected SAP S/4HANA as its ERP software and evaluated which platform would allow the business to scale efficiently and reliably while keeping overhead low. In a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis, Amazon Web Services (AWS) stood out for its cost-efficiency, robust services, high availability, and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities. Baba’s engaged Cloud Comrade—an AWS Partner and an AWS Managed Service Provider Partner—to implement SAP S/4HANA on AWS and focus on cost optimization and DR strategies after implementation.
Reducing Order Processing Time by 50%
Baba’s is the first company in Southeast Asia to implement a new SAP S/4HANA module called Direct Store Delivery (DSD). With DSD, handheld touchscreen computers are connected to SAP on AWS to facilitate order fulfillment on the spot for Baba’s retail customers.
“DSD has improved our sales team’s performance in the field because the software helps them efficiently count stock, take and process orders, and issue deliveries and invoices in the shortest time possible,” says Ilaventhan Vijaya, Head of Finance at Baba’s Group of Companies. Since Baba’s implemented SAP S/4HANA on AWS, it has cut order processing and delivery times by 50 percent.
Baba’s also implemented the SAP CRM module, enabling its sales representatives to use the SAP-connected handheld touchscreen computers to take photos of store displays and stock items and conduct real-time customer surveys to gain valuable feedback. Now, Baba’s retailers can replenish their stock based on actual usage rather than estimated or recurring order quantities, minimizing excess stock on shelves. Baba’s offers its customers a freshness guarantee that its products will not remain on shelves longer than three months past their production date, and the real-time aspect of SAP on AWS helps the retailer fulfill this promise.
Automating and Integrating Key Processes
With an AWS on-demand infrastructure, Baba’s has achieved faster time-to-value. It can easily add Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances as the business grows and use tools such as AWS CloudFormation templates to automatically provision new infrastructure.
Business processes—such as purchase order generation, matching of credit notes, and account reconciliation—are now automated with daily data synchronization, which has reduced the order-to-cash cycle by 40 percent. “All our processes are integrated and automated on one platform with SAP on AWS, which has increased business efficiency while reducing the manual effort,” Ilaventhan says.
Defining a Security Baseline with Enhanced DR
Security was a top concern for Baba’s when it was launching SAP on AWS. To address this issue, Cloud Comrade worked closely with Baba’s to set up an AWS Landing Zone to define a security baseline. It also leveraged Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to secure integration between on-premises systems and SAP. Amazon VPC provides enhanced security and data segmentation in deployment, which is important because Baba’s interacts with many third-party application vendors.
Baba’s has also enhanced its DR capability with a Multi-AZ architecture, which improves its service availability without the need for additional hardware or a separate DR site. Additionally, it uses Amazon CloudWatch to monitor security, perform root-cause analysis, and optimize resource utilization.
Controlling Costs with Regular Optimization Exercises
Since launching SAP S/4HANA on AWS, Cloud Comrade has performed two AWS Well-Architected reviews to help Baba’s drive profitability. These exercises often resulted in right-sizing Amazon EC2 instance types to closely match compute- or memory-heavy workload requirements.
To control costs, Baba’s shuts down non-production systems during off-peak hours for 7−12 hours overnight. The company also subscribes to an AWS Savings Plan to lock in long-term cost savings. These combined measures have reduced operating, hosting, and DR costs by about 30 percent compared to deploying a similar SAP S/4HANA setup on an on-premises data center.
Setting the Stage for Expansion and Innovation
Running SAP S/4HANA on AWS has empowered Baba’s to work seamlessly in the digital economy. Its retail customers and management can make data-driven decisions thanks to real-time insights into sales, payment collection, and inventory movement. One of its latest initiatives included automating its human resources (HR) operations with SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Payroll on AWS. This enabled Baba’s to reduce HR costs and time, while ensuring compliance and increasing operational efficiency.
The company is now looking to launch its brand in the UK and Australia. The granular level of real-time data it has at its fingertips will support informed decision-making before Baba’s invests in new markets. Ilaventhan concludes, “The diversity of information and reports available with SAP on AWS give us confidence to expand Baba’s business.”
To Learn More
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/sap.
Baba’s is the leading curry powder and spice brand in Malaysia, where its products are found in nearly all retail grocery stores. The company has over 1,200 employees and additional operations in Singapore and Brunei.
Benefits of AWS
- Reduces time for order processing and deliveries by 50%
- Replenishes inventory based on actual usage
- Accelerates order-to-cash cycle by 40%
- Reduces operations costs by 30%
- Enhances DR capabilities without additional hardwareIntegrates on-premises systems with SAP
AWS Services Used
SAP on AWS
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