The chemical industry faces the legal requirement that products must be compliant with the respective regulations. These regulations can be country specific (e.g. chemical classification under GHS) or industry specific (e.g. classification under IFRA for the fragrance industry) or both (e.g. country and industry specific regulations for the food/flavor industry). Before a product can be sold, the selling company has to ensure that it is compliant to all applicable regulations. Therefore, the following statement can be made: The faster the compliance status of a product has been assessed, the faster the product can be sold!
What are our Customer’s Needs?
In order to accelerate their business, our customer belonging to the fragrance and flavor industry decided to bring compliance checks and calculations to SAP HANA and link it to the SAP EHS database, where all needed data to retrieve a compliance status of a product can be maintained.
This step not only improves performance and safeguards the product compliance in general, but also enables the company to perform legal requirement checks on the fly during product development or in case of specific customer requests.
Main Challenge: Performance
The SAP EHS database of the customer contains almost 600’000 products and approximately 50’000 raw materials. Additionally, most products have a deeply nested product structure – a product can consist of hundreds of ingredients.
Prior to retrieving the overall compliance status of a product, each single ingredient needs to be checked as well. This results in a quite complex calculation algorithm since product hierarchy must be strictly obeyed.
Hence, it is obvious that the workload for the calculation engine is quite high, especially, when it comes to the automated process of re-calculation of the whole product portfolio. In case there is a change of an ingredient (e.g. classification change) or raw material (e.g. composition change) all affected products have to be determined and re-calculated. Thus, one of the main challenges was to implement the calculation in a highly performing way.
The History of Our Project
The project started in 2011 for the fragrance division and 2013 for the flavor division. Fragrance went live end of 2012, while the project for flavor is still ongoing (go live expected to take place beginning of 2015).
Important to note, that this time period also included the proof of concept and specification phase – the compliance check requirements were not in line with the available standard functionality (SERC Content and EHS Expert). In addition an SAP HANA prototype was built together with the Performance Insight Optimization (PIO) team.
This prototype revealed the power of HANA for even quite complex calculation procedures and convinced the customer to continue with HANA and agreed on a Customer Development (CD) project. The project itself has been conducted by team members of EHS Consulting, CD and PIO.
The Fragrance Division has been running the new solution for more than a year and the first positive results can be already measured: sales volume and profit increased in 2013.
Even though the implemented checks / calculations have been designed on customer specific requirements (and are not available as a standard delivery), this project proved that SAP HANA is far more than an analytical reporting engine. It can be used as a powerful calculation engine! Therefore, we believe that the concept of this project can be re-used for basically every company using SAP EHS and dealing with big data volume in order to establish an automated process for EH&S compliance calculations. It will not only speed up the daily work but the business itself as well.
To learn more about how SAP HANA Services can help you to eliminate barriers to fast, informed decisions, please visit us online: http://www.sap.com/services-support/svc/in-memory-computing.html