Founded in 1987 and based in Cairo, Egypt, Fresh is a leading home appliances manufacturer with 14 factories across Egypt, Georgia and Ethiopia. It has multiple product lines, including refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines, with a total of 980 individual models. Fresh employs 7,000 people and exports to 150 million customers in 52 countries, as well as operating a 24/7 call center for customer inquiries.
Leading Egyptian home appliances manufacturer, Fresh, has been using SAP ERP to manage its business operations for nine years. But when Fresh decided to move to the Cloud, it decided to adopt SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications. The SUSE solution dramatically reduced system downtime, ensuring robust, dependable services for both staff and customers, as well as dramatically reducing the company’s software licensing costs.
With its 14 factories in three countries, not to mention its own customer call center, Fresh faces a number of logistical challenges in managing its successful manufacturing business.
“Each of our factories forms a discrete part of our operations,” says Abdelfattah Ali, IT director at Fresh. “Therefore, coordination between them all is vital, and SAP applications were the ideal solution to these challenges. We have been using SAP ERP to manage our logistics for nine years now.”
However, while SAP ERP formed a cornerstone of Fresh’s business, the company’s existing operating system was proving problematic. “We had been running SAP ERP on an IBM AIX system,” says Ali. “But we had problems with interoperability. We were platform-locked on IBM Power servers, and we couldn’t get AIX to work in the cloud. There were no vendors other than IBM who supported AIX, and there was a general delay of support and innovation.”
Fresh also experienced problems with forced downtime for system updates. “We had to schedule downtime whenever the system needed updating, which impacted our ability to reliably coordinate operations,” says Ali. “Security is very important to us, but we felt we were losing time unnecessarily. We wanted to find an alternative, and we knew SUSE has a strong relationship with SAP, which led to us to investigate SUSE’s solutions.”
“The SUSE solution has been a real money-saver. We estimate that, since adopting it, we have saved 80% on licensing costs. Live patching has also been transformative. We are now saving a lot of time that would previously have been dedicated to offline patches.”
With the aim of increasing uptime without sacrificing security, Fresh decided to adopt SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications.
“We were very impressed by the level of availability offered by SLES,” says Ali. “The live patching functionality means we can now schedule important updates without having to take the system offline. We therefore no longer have to trade availability for security. The SUSE solution is also seamlessly compatible — we can run different hardware at different points in our supply and manufacturing chains, and they all work perfectly with the SUSE OS.”
The level of support from SUSE’s own team was also a crucial factor in Fresh’s decision to implement SLES. “SUSE was clearly committed to this project,” says Ali. “Even at the proof of concept phase, SUSE was diligent in responding to our questions, and even sent one of its own experts to our site in Egypt. SUSE gave us detailed advice on our network design and architecture, without even having an order for the license yet. That gave us real confidence in SUSE as a partner.”
Since adopting SLES for SAP Applications, Fresh has been able to streamline its IT processes while ensuring greater levels of system uptime.
“The SUSE solution has been a real money-saver,” says Ali. “We estimate that, since adopting it, we have saved 80% on licensing costs. Live patching has also been transformative. We are now saving a lot of time that would previously have been dedicated to offline patches.
“Now that we don’t have to schedule downtime for patches or updates, we can ensure constant availability, meaning our staff have better access to up-to-date information, and the company can close deals faster. In addition, increased uptime, combined with a general IT infrastructure refresh, means we can file regulatory reports 75% faster than before.”
The SUSE solution has tangible benefits for Fresh’s customers, including higher levels of support. “Our call center operates 24/7,” says Ali. “By minimizing downtime, we can answer customers’ queries using the SAP system at any time.”
Overall, Fresh is highly satisfied with its adoption of SLES for SAP Applications. Ali concludes: “SUSE has delivered increased availability at reduced cost, and the level of service has been extraordinary. We are planning to expand our SAP environment with a move to SAP HANA in the near future, and we are confident that SUSE will continue to deliver quality service as we make that transition, as well as in the years to come.”