Healthcare distributor FFF Enterprises improves performance 7x with SAP on Google Cloud

July 13, 2021 - Read Article

When getting the right product to the right person is a matter of life and death, you don't want to have to worry about how well your ERP system is performing. That's why FFF Enterprises, Inc. (FFF), a leading supplier of critical-care biopharmaceuticals, plasma products, and vaccines—including those used to protect against COVID-19—chose to migrate its core SAP enterprise applications to Google Cloud. "Our mission is to secure the biopharmaceutical supply chain and ultimately achieve the goal of 'Helping Healthcare Care,'" says Brian Wemple, SAP Technical Manager at FFF. "We're 100% dependent on the ERP system. It runs the business by integrating with our e-commerce systems; our pick, pack and ship; and our business intelligence. It has to be always available and always accurate."

FFF's business and reputation depend on having a secure, reliable, and high-performance technology backbone. "Our supply chain security is second to none," Wemple says. "With over 33 years of counterfeit-free product distribution, we take pride in the fact that our healthcare providers can purchase through us with confidence, knowing we make the safety of their patients our top priority. Our commitment to purchase directly from the manufacturer ensures the integrity of our supply channel is never compromised."

In 2016, FFF chose to host its SAP S/4HANA on-premises applications—including SAP's Business Intelligence suite, BusinessObjects (BOBJ)—on a private cloud in hopes of increasing scalability. But the results fell short of expectations. "To upgrade a server, we had to place a change order to get a statement of work quote from the hosting company, approve the statement of work, then wait for the hardware to be provisioned and turned over to us to install and configure the application," Wemple recalls. "Not quite the nimble, rapid response we were looking for." After running SAP on legacy infrastructure for some time and experiencing core switch outages, server outages, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) edge router outages, and other issues, FFF knew it needed to revisit its technology infrastructure.

Google Cloud and Managecore: Deep experience with SAP

After reviewing its options, FFF chose to migrate from its old hosting platform to Google Cloud. "Our decision was based on many factors, such as the ability to spin up and down servers on demand, as well as the strong relationship between SAP and Google Cloud," Wemple explains. FFF selected Wisconsin-based Managecore, a Certified Premier Google Cloud Partner, to perform the migration with ongoing SAP and Cloud managed services thereafter. "Managecore is our partner for our entire SAP environment," Wemple notes. "Their knowledge of Google Cloud is superior to anybody else that I've spoken with, and with that extra knowledge, they're able to offer solutions that both reduce our costs and improve our performance."

"The Managecore team leveraged our years of SAP technical expertise, and leading-edge tools to flawlessly execute the SAP to Google Cloud migration for FFF Enterprises within a rigorous time frame. Working with Brian and the FFF Enterprises leadership team for the migration was a real pleasure and continues to be as we manage their SAP landscape on the Google Cloud," says Nick Miletich, Chief Technology Officer for Managecore.

Managecore performed the migration to Google Cloud in the tight 12-week time frame that FFF required and upgraded FFF's IT architecture to support better availability and reliability for its SAP systems. FFF now runs critical SAP S/4HANA applications, including BusinessObjects, Sales and Distribution, Material Management, FICO, Warehouse Management, and more, on Google Cloud all managed by Managecore.

A faster, more dependable infrastructure with 80% improved performance

"We've experienced an 80% improvement in the speed of our SAP environment for a lower monthly cost than we saw with our previous provider," Wemple says about the migration to Google Cloud. "Our SAP applications are so much more reliable than they were previously. We've had no outages since we've gone live—that's just a perfect situation for us."

Without the need to maintain systems or worry about outages, FFF's IT team has more time and resources to focus on innovation and support. The move to Google Cloud also paves the way for further digital transformation, including advanced analytics and Internet of Things (IoT). "Since we went live on the Google Cloud in January 2019, we have expanded our footprint at Google Cloud," Wemple says. "We're now taking advantage of Google Cloud technology such as BigQuery, Cloud Data Fusion, Kubernetes Engine and IoT tools, just to name a few. Managecore has been helping us along the way, putting everything together."

In the end, Wemple says, having a dependable and responsive partner to host and manage its core systems lets FFF Enterprises get back to the crucial work at hand. "Our business is distributing lifesaving medical supplies with speed, reliability, and integrity," he says. "It is not to worry about our ERP system. For that reason and many more, we look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with Google Cloud."

To learn more about the ways FFF Enterprises improved the speed and reliability of its SAP enterprise applications, watch the story and read the case study. For more examples of SAP on Google Cloud customers, or view our YouTube channel.