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Founded in 1895, the South African Breweries (SAB) is the South African subsidiary and historical birthplace of SABMiller plc, one of the world’s largest brewers by volume with more than 200 brands and brewing interests and distribution agreements in 75 countries across six continents. SAB operates seven breweries and 40 depots in South Africa with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion litres.

SAB wanted more insight into their order to cash processes and wanted to see operational gaps as they were happening, not after the fact. Unfortunately, their IT infrastructure was constrained by a disk-based traditional batch process for extracting data from ERP, which often took hours. Reports were only available on a retroactive basis, after orders were complete. SAB began looking for a solution to get real time data that would easily integrate with their transactional system without causing degradation on performance.

SAB consulted with SAP and developed a proof of concept (POC) that would replicate data coming from their ERP systems using Sidecar and feed it into SAP HANA. The data would be updated every 15 minutes and available via two reporting layers which would sit on top the system, incl. SAP Business Objects and QlikView for analytics. The performance was phenomenal. One report that used to take us 40 minutes to complete reduced down to only 60 seconds. 

Now data is available in real-time, so SAB can get a timely view of stock movement from order generation through to sales distribution. SAB can track real-time status on orders for the next day compared to what was happening in business today to ensure they are delivering on commitments to their customers. SAB can also better monitor their stock. Supply chain, logistics and distribution as well as marketing and sales now have access to reports with data that is updated from the transactional order system every 15 minutes. Near real-time SAP Business Objects dashboards connect directly to SAP HANA and users can now view this information on tablets and mobile devices.

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