Hikal Creates ERP Chemistry On Linux

by Hinesh Jethwani    Aug 17, 2004

Hikal Industries — Navi Mumbai based agrochemicals and pharmaceutical manufacturer - has taken the mission critical plunge with Linux. The company has purchased Oracle E-Business suite, and plans to host the centralized ERP on Red Hat servers.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Falgun Shukla, GM-IT, Hikal Ltd., said, “We purchased Oracle E-business suite in June this year, and have started the implementation process for the same. Oracle Consulting Group is in charge of the integration, and we plan to host the ERP on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server 3 (RHEL AS V.3 Update 2). Currently, training of all department heads from different locations is being conducted. ”

So why did Hikal choose Linux for running its mission critical applications, as against Microsoft, Unix (Solaris, AIX, etc.)? Shukla replied, “I personally feel that Unix is a stronger operating system than Windows; but then again, its proprietary and not very user friendly. Linux is the operating system that combines the sturdiness of Unix, simultaneously providing a fair degree of user friendliness. We have setup a clustered environment with failsafe redundancy, to ensure that our Linux investment pays better dividends than Microsoft.”

Hikal evaluated BaaN, Orion, SAP and many local vendors before finally opting for Oracle, as it suited its requirements perfectly, claimed Shukla. The company has already purchased 60 licenses of E-business suite, and plans to scale up to 100 by the end of this year.

“Linux has the in built scalability and security that protects our servers from virus attacks. The OS offers scalability for horizontal as well as vertical growth,” added Shukla.

On the client side however, the story is completely different. Hikal has 175 desktops and 50 thin clients, based on Window 2000 and MS Office.

“Approximately six locations will connect to a central hub hosting the ERP, using a combination of leased lines, ISDNs and VSATs. The implementation will use a big bang approach split up into two phases: Phase I will go live on December 31st and will basically involve the implementation of inventory processes. Oracle to Cash, Procurement to Pay, Finance, etc. will be implemented in this phase,” explained Shukla.

Hikal has already ordered four IBM servers, one storage box, one auto tape backup and the necessary SAN switches. The company opted for IBM over HP, as the former offered storage solutions that were more suited to its application, claimed Shukla. Hikal’s mailing solution is based on Lotus Notes. The introduction of the ERP will also see restructuring of the legacy environment - the Foxpro database will be converted to Oracle 9i. The total budget allocated to the ERP is approximated to be somewhere around Rs 5 crore.

Since Hikal uses technology to both monitor and control the production of chemicals, the ERP will also have to be integrated to the company’s existing control room modules. This is an area where few manufacturers have ventured with their ERP, claimed Shukla.

“Plan to Produce processes will go live in Phase II, which is slated for February 2005. This phase will also see the integration of the ERP with our Programming Logic Control (PLC) and Distributed Control Systems (DCS). So the implementation technique can be summarized as a piecemeal approach towards processes, but modules will be flagged off in a big bang fashion simultaneously across all locations,” he added.

Regarding the future roadmap, Shukla concluded, “We are planning to purchase security products like firewalls, IDS, IPS, etc, this year.”

Tags: Hikal