Published on 13-Oct-2011
Validated on 01 Apr 2013
"The transformation of our data is nothing short of incredible. Our business stakeholders across all functional areas now have the information they need to effect real change. They are more engaged, informed and active with analytics, which has delivered quantifiable business impact. " - Gaurav Sharma, Business Intelligence Manager, Becker Underwood
Business Intelligence, Information Integration, Performance Management, Smarter Analytics, Smarter Analytics - Transform financial processes, Optimizing IT
Becker Underwood is a global multinational company founded in 1982 with offices in nine different countries, on five continents, and customers in fifty-four countries. The company develops and produces a wide range of agricultural and horticultural solutions for turf management, agriculture, seed treatment, vegetation management, forestry, pest control, and many other industries.
Business objectives included: Reduce number of reporting systems, streamline infrastructure, and optimize data assets for global consistency and timeliness. Implement a well-researched, end-to-end enterprise performance information system for business intelligence, planning, and financial consolidation. Improve supply chain operations for inventory optimization. Synchronize global communication and collaboration both internally and externally with customers and suppliers.
True to their culture of innovation and always thinking ahead, Becker Underwood deeply researched and implemented an enterprise business analytics system that would support their global business intelligence, planning, and financial consolidation demands.
The global organization has consistent information for improved collaboration leading to more customer-focused product improvements, better customer service, and shorter lead times. Elimination of previous manual efforts and spreadsheets has significantly increased productivity which allows FTEs to focus more time on analytics — delivering improved decisions and outcomes. Enhancements in reporting capabilities has streamlined the report production environment, improved maintenance, and reduced reports from approximately 450 down to 50 in a single business area.
Using IBM Business Analytics to streamline global operations and refine supply chain management results in average annual benefits of $1M
Over the years, Becker Underwood has expanded its global business operations through acquisitions and organic growth from new product offerings. While this steady growth helped the company to meet market and customer needs, over the span of time it resulted in silos of disparate applications and systems spread across multiple offices around the globe.
Becker Underwood was faced with the challenge of addressing the business demands for more visibility and accuracy into the data for operations while trying to create a level of consistency between all global locations in a timely manner. This provided the catalyst to research and align the business processes as well as implement an enterprise performance information system as a key enabler of the business strategy. Executive management made a strategic decision that it was critical to focus on one vendor to support its full analytic vision and strategy.
Focus on Business Impact
True to their culture of innovation and always thinking ahead, Becker Underwood deeply researched and implemented an enterprise business analytics system that would support their global business intelligence, planning, and financial consolidation demands. It was imperative to deploy a single, enterprise platform that would extend the portal, ERP, and CRM infrastructure to deliver a global source of consistent tools and information for enhanced planning and global decision-making across all business areas in the organization.
Creating a more intelligent supply chain for inventory optimization was a key business initiative targeted by management. Improved production planning, increased inventory turns, and reduced inventory levels were the components of the strategy. Previous spreadsheet-based budgeting and planning processes utilizing historical data were replaced with a consolidated, global view of forecast and planning data with visibility into current order data. The solution impacted users across the sales, marketing, finance, procurement, and operations organizations.
Business Value Outcomes
A Nucleus Research ROI study reveals that the streamlined global operations and enhancements in supply chain operations have resulted in tangible ROI results of 383% within 4 months, with an average annual net benefit of nearly $1M from the investment in IBM Business Analytics:
|Return on Investment Summary:||Total Three-Year Benefits:|
|Annual ROI: 383%||Direct: $2,174,500|
|Payback period: 4 months||Indirect: $620,481|
|Average annual benefit: $931,660||Total: $2,794,981|
“Our investment in business intelligence and analytics has really paid dividends for our Company. The forecasting and planning processes between our operations and sales teams now run much more seamlessly, and the real time information that is available to us is invaluable in running our business efficiently. These are innovations that we have come to rely on, have adopted quickly, and have become an integral part of our Company.”
- — Peter Innes, Chief Executive Officer, Becker Underwood
Improved forecast accuracy of 10-15% has improved Becker Underwood’s ability to manage and control its inventory and overall supply chain, resulting in direct cost savings due to greater inventory turns and lower inventory levels.
- Inventory turns increased 50% allowing the Becker Underwood team to reduce inventory levels and provide suppliers with more accurate and timely raw materials orders.
- Reduced inventory through better forecasting and production scheduling led to inventory reductions attributed to timely ordering of supplies and improved delivery of finished goods to its customers.
- Reduction in costs of goods procurement achieved through negotiation of better pricing with suppliers based on more accurate orders.
- Increased productivity across sales, marketing, and operations staff. The elimination of previous manual and spreadsheet-based processes has freed FTE resources for enhanced analysis and decision-making. With the improvements in forecasting information and the additional time available, Becker Underwood’s sales team now reviews rolling 12-month forecasts, previously unavailable due to reporting limitations.
- Executive vision and commitment to IT strategy delivered near-term quantifiable return on investment from business improvements
- The analytics-driven culture and the adoption of business analytics technology as a focal point in the business strategy has resulted in an ascension to Master level In the AQ Maturity Model
- Partnership across Finance, IT, and operational areas for each project has secured both IT success and business impact
Once Becker Underwood selected IBM Business Analytics for its global business intelligence, planning, and financial consolidation solution, it embarked on a multi-phased deployment strategy. The initial project was the widest in scope and included the development of a consistent, enterprise information foundation through a global data warehouse sourced from the ERP and CRM systems. The data warehouse priorities were based on business demands and started with the order to cash cycle and, ultimately, expanded to inventory production, general ledgers, and sales and operations. In parallel, planning and forecasting were implemented for finance and sales, replacing the previous spreadsheet-based processes and manual processes associated with a spreadsheet approach. Business intelligence was deployed and reporting was implemented across all of the functional areas of the data warehouse and planning. IT replaced a previous BI solution and streamlined the reporting in a functional area from approximately 450 reports down to 50. Globally, IT was able to deploy a consistent set of reports to all offices. Finally, the financial consolidation tool was implemented and financial reports rolled out globally. In addition to the reduction in reliance on spreadsheets, the organization saw immediate gains in data visibility and accuracy, improved collaboration across global teams, and productivity enhancements.
The next project phase built on the information and analytic foundation to focus on creating a more intelligent supply chain for inventory optimization. The objective was to improve cash flow through increased inventory turns and reduction in inventory. Again, spreadsheet-based approaches were replaced with planning and business intelligence capabilities based on current order data that has improved forecast accuracy by 10-15%. Metrics were introduced related to the objectives for forecast accuracy, inventory turns, and inventory levels. Downstream impact was to increase inventory turns by 50%. Forecasting, reporting, and analysis were delivered to the sales, marketing, finance, procurement, and operations organizations.
Ultimately, the projects have yielded a 383% ROI in IBM Business Analytics. Becker Underwood utilizes the entire range of information delivery and presentation capabilities for reports, metrics, scorecards, dashboards, and analysis. The precision in forecasting and planning has generated quantifiable outcomes. The IBM Business Analytics solution allows them to optimize all global data assets and extend their portal, ERP, and CRM infrastructure.
“We needed verification that forecast improvement would drive incremental improvement in our inventory turns....and Cognos validated that expectation”
- — Kerry Kness, Global Supply Chain Manager, Becker Underwood
About Nucleus Research
Nucleus Research provides investigative, case-based technology research and advisory services. Nucleus analysts investigate hundreds of deployments every year to deliver unique insight into the measurable value of technology. Founded in 2000, Nucleus Research is headquartered in Boston MA and provides services worldwide. For more information go to: http://www.nucleusresearch.com/
About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics software delivers actionable insights decision-makers need to achieve better business performance. IBM offers a comprehensive, unified portfolio of business intelligence, predictive and advanced analytics, financial performance and strategy management, governance, risk and compliance and analytic applications.
With IBM software, companies can spot trends, patterns and anomalies, compare “what if” scenarios, predict potential threats and opportunities, identify and manage key business risks and plan, budget and forecast resources. With these deep analytic capabilities our customers around the world can better understand, anticipate and shape business outcomes.
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