German cosmetics company migrates early to SAP S/4HANA to support growth

Family-run consumer goods company Mann & Schröder Cosmetics has grown significantly since it was established, now offering its Made in Germany quality personal care products in more than 70 countries across 4 continents. After moving its legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to SAP, the company wanted to prepare early for migration to SAP S/4HANA ahead of the 2027 support deadline and make more efficient use of limited IT resources. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, supported by Red Hat Satellite, the company created a reliable, easy-to-manage foundation for its growing SAP landscape to continue meeting business demands.

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  • Established reliable foundation for SAP S/4HANA in advance of 2027 migration deadline
  • Simplified server management for its small IT team
  • Gained responsiveness to scale IT with business growth

Meeting increasing demand — and a vendor deadline

Mann & Schröder Cosmetics began in 1951, when Hans Schröder and electrician Eugen Mann set up a chemical factory in Siegelsbach, Germany. Seven years later, the company launched the world’s first hairspray, followed by its first body care brand in 1968. In 2003, the family-run company opened an additional production facility in Hüffenhardt to meet growing demand for its Made in Germany products. Today, Mann & Schröder Cosmetics is a mid-size consumer goods manufacturer that exports more than 2,000 hair and body care products to more than 70 countries.

Technology has become increasingly critical to the company’s successful growth, but expanding IT systems to meet new business needs was challenging for its small IT department. Additionally, the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, based on a Visual Basic application supported by an Oracle database, was not built to scale.

“Our company was growing dynamically,” said Yvonne Purkert, SAP Project Manager at Mann & Schröder Cosmetics. “One of our biggest challenges was our multisystem landscape. New servers needed to be set up and provisioned quickly to support our growth.” 

In 2016, Mann & Schröder Cosmetics transitioned to SAP ERP. However, companies using this software risk losing support if they do not migrate to SAP S/4HANA by 2027. To prepare, Mann & Schröder Cosmetics began seeking a solution that would not only create a foundation for migration but also provide the services needed to run the SAP HANA in-memory database and make the most efficient use of its limited IT resources to meet growing demand.

Deploying a reliable foundation from a trusted partner

After evaluating several solutions, Mann & Schröder Cosmetics decided to add 2 Red Hat products to its enterprise open source Linux environment:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, an enterprise operating system optimized for SAP application and data management workloads.
  • Red Hat Satellite, an easy-to-use system management solution that helps the company’s IT team efficiently manage and update its Red Hat technology.

“We were able to do all the installation ourselves because it was so easy to add these Red Hat solutions to our existing IT landscape,” said Adrian Dexheimer, Head of IT at Mann & Schröder Cosmetics. 

The company has now successfully transitioned to SAP S/4HANA years ahead of the vendor’s deadline as an early user of SAP S/4HANA in a production environment. Its SAP environment now includes 10 SAP HANA instances distributed across more than 40 virtual machines (VMs) deployed on Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers. 

Simplifying growth with integrated solutions

Established a robust, stable foundation for SAP S/4HANA

With Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, Mann & Schröder Cosmetics can take advantage of SAP-specific technical components, high-availability solutions, and management capabilities to create an effective server environment for testing current and future releases of the SAP HANA database.

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions provides an easy-to-use and reliable foundation for SAP HANA. Once you’ve installed it, it just runs,” said Dexheimer. “Installing new server instances is very straightforward. We know we can easily build a sandbox environment to explore any big changes coming in new versions of HANA.”

Simplified server management

The company’s small IT team uses Red Hat’s system management tools and features to quickly update server instances and keep them running efficiently to focus instead on new installations. 

“Red Hat Satellite identifies where patches have not been installed,” said Dexheimer. “We can bundle all our server instances, whether or not they’re hosted on HANA, and install updates across all of them at the same time. It’s very fast.”

As a result, IT staff can proactively prepare the company’s IT environment for changing business conditions. “With Red Hat, we can grow our IT systems as our company grows,” says Dexheimer. “Our IT department can act, not only react. That’s a key capability to our continued market leadership.” 

Gained responsiveness to meet growing demand

Additionally, Red Hat Satellite helps Mann & Schröder Cosmetics’ IT department responsively scale systems to meet growing business needs. With the script-based automation capabilities built into Red Hat Satellite, new Red Hat Enterprise Linux server instances optimized for SAP can be built in less than 4 hours. 

“We can mount all kinds of shared drives, including those on Windows or other Linux operating system versions,” said Dexheimer.

Using this capability, the company has built several new server instances in recent months, including adding SAP BW/4HANA (Business Warehouse) data storage solution and SAP Human Capital Management (SAP HCM or SAP-HR) to its IT landscape. These additions help the company analyze company data to continue optimizing its operations and stay competitive.

Continuing to grow

Mann & Schröder Cosmetics plans to use its adaptable, scalable IT foundation, supported by efficient management capabilities, to meet future business needs and is confident its SAP systems can meet any future business needs.

“Our current and future priority is sustainability. We’ve set an ambitious target to pass the ISO 50001 energy audit in 2019, a standard that goes above the legal minimum in terms of energy footprint and reduction targets,” said Dexheimer. “We’re confident our SAP systems can support this goal.”

About Mann & Schröder Cosmetics

Mann & Schröder COSMETICS is a medium-sized consumer goods company operating internationally. The company has established a name for premium haircare and body care products of “Made in Germany” quality. Our core business consists of two strands. Firstly, we have been developing creative brand concepts for almost 70 years. Secondly, we produce body care products for the private labels of drugstores, discount stores and food retailers. We do all this in Germany at our two main sites in Siegelsbach and Hüffenhardt.