Orchestrating complex supply chains
REWE digital GmbH provides IT systems and solutions to REWE Group, one of Europe’s leading retail and tourism companies that serve millions of customers worldwide. Food retail represents the company’s largest core business, and the REWE digital business unit manages its IT systems. Through its sophisticated and powerful system architecture, REWE digital continuously optimizes and adapts to new technological developments.
Control-M, BMC’s market-leading application and data workflow orchestration platform, plays a vital role in REWE digital in integrating and simplifying an increasingly complex network of supply chain systems. With Control-M, the company’s retail processes flow smoothly across systems, with end-to-end transparency, scalability, 24x7 reliability, and 100 percent uptime in production.
Building an automation foundation for business
To modernize the entire IT organization and better align with business needs, REWE digital has divided its large hierarchical IT departments into smaller teams, each assigned to specific business products.
Workload automation is one of these products. REWE digital has always recognized the importance of integrating and automating applications across systems and, over time, has adopted and tested solutions from different vendors. It also spent significant time modernizing its production environment, migrating SAP® applications off the mainframe, replacing COBOL applications with Java, and replacing a fully mainframe-based production system with a hybrid system. It still relies heavily on the mainframe while embracing open systems expansion.
During the transformation, and while another vendor’s enterprise workload automation solution was in place, a strategic question emerged: “What automation platform will help us best sustain our transformation efforts and accelerate future business modernization initiatives?”
After conducting extensive market research, REWE chose Control-M for its:
- Robust mainframe application and data workflow orchestration capabilities
- Reliability with mainframe and open systems management
- Intuitive graphical interface
- Personalized self-service features for employees across the organization
Once the decision was made, the next question was: “How do we migrate our current environment to Control-M with no downtime?”
REWE digital partnered with BMC and apsware, a longtime BMC partner with extensive workload automation experience and a solid record of successful Control-M migrations, to plan and execute the migration.
The team started the migration project with a thorough preparation phase, which included analyzing existing workflows and planning and setting up the new environment with established naming conventions and best practices. Understanding and embracing Control-M’s methodology during the migration was essential to leverage the platform’s capabilities fully.
Due to the size and complexity of the source environment, the rest of the migration process was planned out in phases. Each phase focused on optimal packages that REWE digital experts identified by analyzing the source vendor workflows. After migrating packages, the validation of all workflow attributes was automated with ad-hoc written procedures integrated into apsware knowledge at each migration.
REWE digital and apsware achieved an automated conversion rate of around 99 percent. This dramatically reduced the risk of errors as so few objects required manual intervention.
And so, at 23:59 on the go-live date, the original vendor’s workload automation tool ran its last workflows. One minute later, at 00:00, Control-M launched all workflows, managing orders to all fulfillment centers for the company’s markets. The entire distribution system was shifted with zero downtime.
In addition, Beta 92 and 93, Beta Systems’ mainframe products for log management, output management, and archiving, were migrated to Control-M Output Management. This consolidated application and data workflow orchestration and other automation products into one platform.
Getting the right products to the right place at the right time
Control-M also helped streamline supply chain processes for REWE digital. To stay competitive in the digital era, retailers must implement a supply chain strategy that focuses on optimizing and diversifying the assortment of stores, based on location-specific dynamics.
REWE digital logistics strategy offers a sophisticated assortment service that analyzes local conditions, customer behavior, and future weather patterns to predict which items customers will want and where they will want to make their purchases. The fact that foods are perishable significantly complicates the process.
With an in-house workforce of approximately 2,000 IT specialists, REWE digital has implemented all the supply chain logistics functions, including fulfillment, packing, and distribution. The teams are built to be agile so they can quickly adapt, innovate, and stay ahead of the competition.
It’s no easy task, though. Data from external suppliers, storage and fulfillment centers, and markets must be continuously integrated throughout the supply chain. REWE relies on Control-M to orchestrate end-to-end workflows across home-made applications, the mainframe, SAP, and data technologies. Control-M provides visibility, traceability, and auditability at every step of the process.
As a result, 7,500 supermarkets, markets, and PENNY stores in Europe are supplied with thousands of products by 250 storage centers. That means the right quantities of food get to the right stores at the right time to satisfy customer demand.
Looking to the future
REWE digital expects its IT environment to change dramatically as it embraces new cloud technologies. Because Control-M can run workflows across leading cloud platforms and in hybrid environments, it will continue to be the company’s central automation and orchestration platform. It will also help REWE integrate new technologies like Apache Airflow and resolve dependencies from the mainframe to the cloud.
“After a flawless migration to Control-M, we are moving into the future, integrating new technologies into a rock-solid application and data workflow orchestration environment.”— Frank Rothmann, Senior Product Owner, REWE digital