Global leading-tier automotive supplier Federal-Mogul develops powertrain and vehicle technologies to improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve safety and occupant comfort. The company also has an extensive global replacement parts business, offering products from throughout the Federal-Mogul range for sale under more than 20 highly recognized brands, including ANCO, Champion, Fel-Pro, Ferodo, Moog, Wagner, and many others. Over the company’s more than 110 years in operation, Federal-Mogul has grown by acquisition to its current global operating scale, which includes 112 manufacturing locations and 21 aftermarket distribution facilities in 35 countries. This expansive footprint results in a complex information systems (IS) landscape that is controlled in an efficient, centralized, and highly virtualized environment.
The primary role of the Federal-Mogul global IS maintenance and support organization is to safeguard the stability and availability of all critical systems that support business processes worldwide, such as sales order processing, production control, logistics, finance, and other systems-intensive operations. Within the IS maintenance organization, it falls on the Federal-Mogul SAP Competency Center to monitor, maintain, and upgrade the SAP systems in this complex landscape. To help manage these systems, the company leverages a combination of internal IS resources and SAP Enterprise Support services — a mixture that has proven to be a successful recipe for improving the overall performance and capabilities of the company’s SAP environment.
Getting Proactive with SAP Solution Manager
Two years ago, with the guidance of SAP Enterprise Support, Federal-Mogul took a proactive step toward improved systems monitoring by implementing SAP Solution Manager. “Previously, we were performing day-to-day monitoring, but we were not attaining the desired level of ongoing performance improvements,” explains Chandu Cheeti, SAP Basis team member at Federal-Mogul. In short, SAP Solution Manager was Federal-Mogul’s first step in providing a vehicle that would allow the Basis team to perform “active monitoring” consistently across the company’s entire SAP landscape.
Building on the success of the SAP Solution Manager implementation, Federal-Mogul’s IS team began seeking new ways to promote its relationship with SAP Enterprise Support services. The company’s SAP Basis team attended several online seminars offered by SAP Enterprise Support Academy, a training program available to SAP Enterprise Support customers.
“The academy focused on configuration and monitoring best practices in SAP Solution Manager to help us configure the tool, as well as develop new skills for monitoring the system in areas like core performance tuning,” says Cheeti. “The sessions showed us exactly what happens on the SAP side so we can do more with SAP Solution Manager, including run reports that indicate the necessary corrective actions we should take in certain instances.”
Federal-Mogul’s SAP Enterprise Support contacts also recommended the company perform continuous quality control (CQC) reviews of its largest SAP instance to further fine-tune the performance of its system and expand its capabilities.
Tapping the Potential
The SAP Enterprise Support Academy sessions revealed some untapped potential the business could gain from SAP Solution Manager. So in mid-2010, Matt Cramer, SAP Integration Manager at Federal-Mogul, began talking with SAP Enterprise Support about upgrading SAP Solution Manager to better understand what capabilities might be available as a result.
“The discussion started with on-site reviews of SAP Solution Manager, along with an explanation of the available support processes that come with our support license,” says Cramer.
After some initial preparation, in August 2010, Federal-Mogul began working with SAP Enterprise Support on CQC sessions. This was a collaborative process that required both internal IS staff and SAP personnel to review performance and discuss recommendations in a variety of areas. The sessions continued through May 2011 and covered:
- Business process analysis (BPA)
- Data volume management (DVM)
- Technical performance optimization (TPO)
- Business process performance optimization (BPPO)
“SAP produced extensive guides from each review area, detailing any uncovered performance issues and advising us on improvement areas,” says Cramer. “Our internal SAP functional and technical teams reviewed these 40 to 60 page documents, which gave us an opportunity to prioritize our objectives and focus on what could help improve our SAP system performance. From there, we broke down these objectives into individual tasks for our functional and technical teams.”
As Cramer points out, the teams couldn’t execute on all of the recommendations immediately, but the analysis provided a long-term plan for the company’s SAP systems, which served as a very useful resource for making the more immediate decisions.
An Upgrade That Worked Like a ChaRM
With more insight into the power of SAP Solution Manager, the IS organization at Federal-Mogul began to seriously consider upgrading the solution to gain more of those benefits and expand the breadth of systems it could monitor.
In April 2011, Federal-Mogul upgraded SAP Solution Manager to enhancement package 1, support pack 26. “With the upgrade complete, we have spent the past few months connecting all of our SAP landscapes to SAP Solution Manager,” says Cramer.
After the SAP Solution Manager upgrade, we could focus on rolling out Change Request Management (ChaRM) functionality to the remainder of our landscapes. “ChaRM provides a standard change control process that handles all of our Sarbanes-Oxley and audit requirements,” says Cramer. “There was a great deal of impetus to keep things rolling with SAP Enterprise Support and the upgraded SAP Solution Manager.”
Delivering Long-Term Business Value
The SAP Solution Manager upgrade will provide Federal-Mogul’s SAP Competency Center the tools to improve the company’s system monitoring capabilities and increase its value to the business.
With the upgrade of SAP Solution Manager off the checklist, the IS organization is free to dive into more strategic areas — such as performing root-cause analysis or determining how improved system performance affects various business processes. For example, an innovative front-end capability like warehouse barcode scanning won’t bring much value to the business if the back-end system is unable to process the data efficiently. “With this type of optimization, we can continue to provide the business with well performing, scalable systems,” Cramer says.