Case Study | Merrifield Garden Center
Merrifield Garden Center, the First to Run SAP on Public Cloud
Migrated to AWS
Reduction in month-end close
In 2022, Merrifield Garden Center celebrates the 10th anniversary of migrating and running their SAP production landscape on Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the first SAP in production on the public cloud in history.
If I could give one piece of advice to those considering cloud- don’t be afraid. Cloud was an unknown back then, but we dove in.
– Lynn Warhurst
Merrifield Garden Center first opened on April 9, 1971, in Merrifield, Virginia by late founders Bob Warhurst and Buddy Williams, in a quaint red barn with a small store and less than one acre of plants. With a reputation for outstanding customer service and exceptional quality, by 1979 they opened a second location on 33 acres. Today, it has expanded to three nurseries in Virginia with 7,500 varieties of trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials with over 200,000 SKUs.
“Merrifield Garden Center continues to honor our founders’ legacy by supplying our local community as well as buyers from all over the country with superior plants, gardening tools, and service,” said Lynn, Warhurst, Chief Financial Officer of Merrifield who has been with the company for 44 years, responsible for company-wide operations and oversight beyond the financials.
Before adopting SAP, Merrifield Garden Centers used an industry-specific, Unix-based application called ‘Keep It Simple Software’ with servers on-premises. After 20 years, it became slow, outdated, and would lose data randomly, initiating Warhurst and Bryan Moore, IT Manager of Merrifield, to select SAP in 2011 as their enterprise software. Looking for an available, scalable, and secure solution for their new mission-critical systems, Warhurst and Moore took a chance on cloud and initiated a conversation with AWS – who introduced them to Protera Founder and President, Patrick Osterhaus.
Since 2011, Protera and AWS have provided complete cloud services and cloud management portfolio providing enterprise customers running SAP fast, flexible access to the cloud with options for ECC, HANA, S/4HANA, entire data center transformations, and now, RISE with SAP. Protera is an Advanced tier APN Partner with competencies in SAP and Managed Services.
As the earliest adopter of SAP on AWS, the Merrifield team took a leap of faith. Merrifield became completely electronic with all systems tied together from point of sale to the backend, with all inventory, receipts, payables, and supply chain streamlined and visible. “With SAP on AWS, we have the space to grow, securely, and improve our team’s day-to-day experience, our suppliers, and the end customer,” says Moore. “We are a 7-day a week business in high demand, and with Protera managing our SAP on AWS every challenge is solved, every question is answered, and we are constantly looking for what we can improve or innovate next.”
Merrifield has achieved significant success since being the first to run production SAP on AWS. “We have reduced month-end close by 30% and achieved a 75% performance improvement in our purchase order productivity,” says Warhurst. “We have a scalable, available solution, managed by a trusted partner, and if I could give one piece of advice to those considering cloud- don’t be afraid. Cloud was an unknown back then, but we dove in.”