This leading manufacturer of frozen pierogies needed a skilled partner to move it to SAP S/4HANA on Google Cloud with minimal downtime and no negative impacts to its business.Solutions Cloud, Public Cloud, Applications, Application Management & Operations, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Platforms SAP, SAP on GCP, Cloud, Google Cloud
In 1952, Ted Twardzik dreamed of starting a company inspired by his mother’s pierogy recipe. He remembered how popular the Polish dumplings were and thought people would be excited to purchase them from their local grocery stores year-round. To honor his mother Mary Twardzik — the Mrs. T — he called his company Mrs. T’s® Pierogies.
Now, this family-run business is still owned and operated by the Twardzik family in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania as the largest maker of frozen pierogies enjoyed coast to coast. Mrs. T’s now produces over 650 million pierogies a year.
“Rackspace Technology was a one-stop shop. A single pane of glass. It made more sense to have one partner that could do everything”
An opportunity presents itself
For years, Mrs. T’s ran its SAP ECC footprint on-premise. But once SAP mandated a move to SAP S/4HANA by 2025 (now 2027), Mrs. T’s realized that, in short order, they would need to:
- Migrate their SAP ECC 6.0 system from an on-premise IBM series environment to the cloud and from an SAP ECC 6.0 system on IBM OS/400 to a Linux-based OS.
- Convert its SAP DB2 database to a HANA database.
- Perform a conversion from SAP ECC 6.0 platform to SAP S/4HANA 1809.
Mrs. T’s knew it would need a partner who could help with the migration and who had the experience required to avoid any downtime. It became clear that Rackspace Technology had the strategy, planning and execution expertise required to make this migration a success.
“About 98% of all our sales invoices, warehouse movements and transfer orders are EDI,” said Timothy Coyle, Director of Information Systems & Technology at Mrs. T’s Pierogies. “So that was one of the biggest risks in moving to the cloud. If EDI doesn’t work on day one, we’re in trouble because then there’s no transactions moving in the business. Some customers will not accept an invoice that is older than five days old. We need our inbound Purchase Orders, and we need shipping transactions to manage our inventory. So, we had some high risk and real pressure there. We started talking to several hosting partners and soon felt very confident that Rackspace Technology would be the right partner for us.”
There was another important benefit that pointed Mrs. T’s towards Rackspace Technology as well; cost.
“There’s quite a few hosting partners out there, and they are all capable. So with that being said, you know, we were looking for some differentiators,” remembers Coyle.
“And what we found with working through Rackspace Technology was that there were discounts available through Google and through Rackspace Technology that just made the offering competitive.”
“The Rackspace team met these challenges with dedication, diligence and thoughtfulness when working with us, and with each other. This key initiative in our digital transformation journey was highly successful because of the meticulous planning and testing done by the entire team and the flawless execution of the plan.”
A challenge becomes an opportunity
“With this new mandate from SAP, if we were to use S/4HANA on our current hardware, we would have to move our OS to Linux,” said Coyle. “But then, we would lose the advantage of having native OS400 integrated with the database on the IBM iSeries platform. So that opened us up to looking into what else could we be doing with our SAP footprint.”
In addition to remaining SAP compliant, Mrs. T’s decided to use this migration as an opportunity to improve other key aspects of its business as well.
“Rackspace Technology did a tremendous job of keeping it all together and not allowing anything to fall through the cracks.”
Improved forecasting, promotion optimization and disaster recovery
Historically, sales planning and forecasting were manual, offline and time-consuming processes within Mrs. T’s. When considering ways to justify the cost of the project, Mrs. T’s sought business value through real time analytics to accelerate sales forecasting, optimize trade promotions, and improve overall company planning.
Combined together, Mrs. T’s saw Google Cloud as the best-fit platform to achieve these results.” Every manufacturer has promotions, and you’ll see them in the store: Buy one, get one free, for example,” said Coyle.
“So, we need to make sure that when we’re spending our money on a promotion with a retailer, that we are utilizing a system with analytics to predict how the promotion could perform, and how the promotion did perform. That was the type of predictive business and post event knowledge that we were looking for.”
Finally, Mrs. T’s knew that it needed to make some upgrades on the disaster recovery front.
“Disaster recovery, for the hardware platform we had, was difficult to find,” explained Coyle. “The DR plan we had was not dynamic at all. It was a cold site using tape backup. We needed to improve on that with a better DR and business continuity plan with automatic failover capability.”
The migration begins
Rackspace Technology knows that strategy, process and project management can significantly reduce the complexity and stress around migrations, which is why they broke the migration down into phases, with the first phase focused on the move from on-premise infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and updating the database to HANA.
Through a series of bi-weekly meetings and meticulous planning, Rackspace Technology was able to quickly, effectively and affordably transition Mrs. T’s from its on-premise SAP production environment to GCP. Phase one was completed on time, and on start-up, all SAP functions worked as designed.
The timeline was agreed upon by all teams and the migration officially kicked off in February of 2020 and went live in September 2020.
From ideation to production, the seven-month timeline included the following milestones:
- Unicode conversion
- Database migration to HANA
- Migration of the platform to Google Cloud
- S/4 conversion to 1809 from ECC 6.0
- FIORI implementation.
In Phase 1, we helped migrate from an on-premises IBM iSeries on a DB2 database to SAP ECC on HANA in the Google Cloud in 12 weeks. For Phase 2, we used a technical upgrade to make sure our ECC environment was ready for the final move to S4 in less than 4 months. Both phases beat SAP’s timelines and estimates.
Despite this daunting timeline, Rackspace Technology and Google Cloud helped Mrs. T’s modernize its sales forecasting capabilities and accelerate batch transactions and onscreen end-user transactions by up to 60% with minimal downtime and zero disruptions.
“During Phase I, if we hadn’t sent emails out announcing that we were migrating over the weekend, I don’t think some would have known we had done it. We came in on Monday and everything just worked,” recalled Coyle.
Rackspace Technology and Google Cloud helped Mrs. T’s modernize its sales forecasting capabilities and accelerate batch transactions and onscreen end-user transactions by up to 60% with minimal downtime and zero disruptions.
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