Electronics Distributor Solves Migration, Logistics, and Billing Problems
The customer is a leading, global independent distributors of semiconductors, electronic components, and computer products to the world’s major manufacturers. This multinational organization relies on the ability to quickly and accurately report, analyze, plan and forecast across its entire global enterprise. On time delivery of components to customers is a critical business event for the client and a principle reason why the client is a leading company in the electronics distribution industry.
The analysis of continuously changing operational data is routine; planning and developing “what-if” scenarios for operations and logistics must be conducted not just annually, but on a daily and weekly basis. Data from multiple sources is constantly being entered by myriad users; the data is then manipulated and accessed as orders are placed to buy, sell, and deliver electronic components around the clock through numerous global offices and warehouses.
- A lack of transparency into freight data lead to significant billing allocation issues, a lack of control over expenses, and delays in internal departmental’ budgeting. The customers standard reports only enabled limited visibility into the business leaving key insights buried;
- Significant opacity into actual freight costs developed because of the multiple sources and means by which charge data were handled;
- There was concern over the continuity of knowledge and information at both inter- and intra-department levels. Additionally, knowledge and data sharing were limited and as a result, hindered productivity and responsiveness;
- Due to the absence of a BI platform, freight and inventory levels along with their associated costs were extremely difficult to manage effectively due to the lack of real-time interconnectivity of data across departments as well as locations; and
- The business stake-holders did not have visibility into the inventory and freight related data;
- Accurately planning and forecasting based on available data was becoming an impossible task to accomplish because of the number of disparate data sources; and
- There was increasing concern over data validity due to data opacity;
- Data opacity and resulting billing problems were estimated to be costing the client one-half of a million dollars in 2007.
The initiative is to deliver an end-to-end enterprise performance management (EPM) solution to increase cross business unit data sharing and as a result, enhance the customer’s agility to maximize short- and mid-term market opportunities given the real-time nature of the client’s business.
- Delivered an end-to-end EPM solution, its accompanying infrastructure and data integration services;
- Integration of the Accounting and Finance Departments with that of Operations in order to improve strategic planning, forecasting (including rolling forecast capabilities), analytics and various reporting for freight and inventory;
- Provide real-time internal data for financial and operational planning to reduce data latency and accelerate response time-to-market opportunities;
- Establish mechanisms for knowledge sharing to increase productivity of the workforce;
- Addresses BI performance issues resulting from disparate systems that were not interconnected;
- Provide back up and lock down document functionality that traditional spreadsheets are not capable of;
- Resolve conflicting cross-departmental data issues to simplify Inter-department reporting; and
- Establish a single version of truth by implementing a suite of tools for use in extracting, reporting, analyzing and forecasting the existing data while at the same time, compiling and cohering that data
PREDICTif was chosen first to evaluate a number of technologies to be used for the initiative. After a careful product selection process, IBM’s Cognos tool set was selected due to its capabilities that allowed for real-time data drill-down and analyses, rolling forecasts, multi-level management tasking, visibility, interaction across departments and management levels.
PREDICTif then architected, designed and implemented a solution to address a set of logistics and billing related issues based on PREDICTif’ proven BI and EPM solution offerings. PREDICTif’s ability to provide an immediate implementation of Cognos TM1 mapped to a short-term scalable plan was of paramount importance to the customer as short term return on investment was a critical variable in the decision making process related to engaging with a solutions provider.
The PREDICTif team, comprised of financial and operational business experts, Data and BI solutions architects, along with PMI® certified consultants, adopted a proven project delivery methodology. The methodology consists of three main phases: Foundation, Implementation and Evolution. The Foundation Phase establishes the project readiness in terms of people, infrastructure and processes. The Implementation Phase entails a typical project lifecycle that constitutes many steps including requirement gathering, design, development, testing and deployment. The Evolution Phase establishes the customer’s self sufficiency in terms of the abilities to support, maintain and upgrade the delivered solution. The solution provided:
- Real-time access to multiple data sources from a single point
- Agile forecasting and reporting
- Product specific drill-down capabilities
- Multi-level management reach and connectivity
- The interconnection of operational and financial data across multiple departments
- The ability for Client executives along with managers across departments to interact and manipulate data collaboratively, approve or amend changes, forecasts, and formulate budgets in real-time
PREDICTif established an IBM Cognos BI and TM1 infrastructure that the customer uses to enhance their operational excellence processes in order to drive maximum business value.
- Delivered an IBM Cognos TM1 user-friendly Freight Analysis Model that was first deployed on a 32-bit environment and later upgraded to a full 64-bit environment for enhanced performance;
- Created a new suite of analysis, forecasting, and reporting tools providing visibility into the inventory and freight data across multiple dimensions. This transparency allows executives and managers to connect different data elements in order to meet various business needs, such as allocating freight costs to different parties as well as building strategic plans and forecasting with precision;
- Offered end users the ability not only to view and analyze reports, but also to accurately view the impact of changes to freight and inventory mix and thereby create rolling forecasts to better manage operations and budgets;
- Achieved improved ROI as a result of enhanced analytic capabilities, forecasting and reporting across the enterprise because the data is no longer opaque;
- Ushered in a new dimension of responsiveness by delivering a flexible, real-time environment for the organization in order to perform multiple business functions and improve strategic planning in real-time for immediate and future cycles.