RESEARCH & RESOURCES

CASE STUDIES - Mold Masters Finds Right Fit with Cognos ReportNet

Mold-Masters is the global leader in hot runner technology. The company invests heavily in research and development and has more than 1,600 granted and pending international patents. They design and manufacture the industry’s most advanced hot runner systems, temperature controllers, and complete hot half solutions.

Commentary by Val Swift, IT Manager, Mold-Masters

casestudy Mold masters

Mold-Masters® is the global leader in hot runner technology. The company invests heavily in research and development and has more than 1,600 granted and pending international patents. They design and manufacture the industry’s most advanced hot runner systems, temperature controllers, and complete hot half solutions. They offer unparalleled products and service in over 40 countries, with facilities in North America, South America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.

When it came time for the company to turn the rich data in their SAP R/3 system into rich reports, the company selected SAP BW and Cognos ReportNet.

Challenges Faced

Since 1999, Mold-Masters has been committed to using SAP R/3 for its ERP. They have implemented the solution in the U.S., the UK, and Germany, and are currently implementing it in China. They have also invested in SAP BW as their data warehouse. With the host of data generated by this system, the company wanted to turn this wealth of information into actionable reports.

While IT professionals at Mold-Masters felt SAP BW was the best data warehousing solution, they found they needed an enhanced solution for formatted reporting and ad hoc queries. They also required a better toolset for non-IT users and a solution that integrated non-SAP data sources such as MS SQL Server, MS Access, and other proprietary and transactional systems.

Prior to implementing ReportNet, sales reports were provided to users in the form of giant spreadsheets. Sales teams could then format these spreadsheets to view the information pertinent to their needs. These spreadsheets, in trying to be all things to all people, were cumbersome, confusing, and not very timely, and required additional data manipulation by users to become meaningful information. The result was a lack of focus in the reports, a low user adoption rate, and the opportunity for differing interpretations of the numbers they were generating.

ReportNet was able to integrate all their diverse data sources into a single report, and had the tools needed to empower all users, regardless of technical expertise. They were also impressed with the security and the multi-language capabilities inherent in the solution—features that would meet their global information-sharing requirements without having to build redundant systems or duplicate efforts.

Overview

Industry: Manufacturing

Information Needs

  • More focused information for multiple user groups
  • User self-service for management, sales, manufacturing, HR, and finance
  • Data from multiple sources in a single report
  • Simple yet powerful query and analysis capabilities for non-IT users

Challenges

  • Giant raw data spreadsheets for reporting caused:
    • A lack of user adoption
    • Inconsistent usage across sales
    • A lack of confidence in numbers
    • More workload for IT to generate, maintain, format, and distribute reports
  • Few IT resources to support increasing information needs

Solution: Cognos ReportNet

Benefits

  • 100 percent report usage across sales
  • More focused, comprehensive reports
  • Painless integration with SAP BW
  • Reduced report production time
  • Streamlined distribution
  • Reduced ad hoc information

“We were incredibly impressed with the performance of ReportNet,” says Val Swift, IT Manager at Mold-Masters. “We tested the solution rigorously and with users who were not experts in SAP. In our experience, no other add-on to SAP has been as painless.”

Once the decision was made to purchase ReportNet, the company decided on a two-phased approach to implementation. They began by implementing Cognos ReportNet with their Executive Information System. The goal of this project was to provide senior management in the areas of sales, manufacturing, HR, and finance with a dashboard with drillthroughs to detailed reports. This project entailed replacing the MS Access front-end with ReportNet and combining data from SAP BW and MS Access.

The second phase was the enhancement of the sales reporting infrastructure. The goal of this project was to reduce report production time, streamline distribution to the mobile sales force, and provide more flexible analysis without further burdening the IT group.

Benefits Realized

The company went live with the new system in March 2004, and the results have been dramatic. For the first time ever, the company has been able to combine MS Access, MS SQL Server, and SAP BW data on the same report. As it pertains to the Executive Information System and other reporting needs, the company now has reports that are easy to create, access, and analyze. They can now get immediate information comparing year-to-date versus previous year-to-date, and more.

The remote sales team sales department went from raw data spreadsheets, with inconsistent usage and adoption throughout the sales team, to nine different reports they can access. These reports provide information at the touch of a button that the sales teams could never access before.

Each sales rep now has a personalized point of entry to see reports targeted specifically to their needs. These reports can now answer the top 10–15 questions the sales reps have, including the provision of mission-critical information on customers, orders received, territory information, invoice status, and more.

With the new platform, the data in the system is updated nightly so the company can be confident they are acting on the most up-to-date information. The result of more targeted, timely information is that Mold-Masters has now achieved 100 percent report usage across sales.

One of the largest impacts for Mold-Masters is the effect Cognos ReportNet has had on their overworked IT department. With information now available to the sales force—how they want it, whenever they want it—they have reduced the number of ad hoc requests to IT for more information. By simplifying the data packages, and providing powerful yet simple ad hoc query functionality to business analysts, ad hoc requests can now be addressed within the sales department itself—not through IT.

Currently, the company is in the midst of extending the implementation of the solution to include the finance department, and is working toward having Cognos ReportNet available to the HR, quality management, manufacturing, and purchasing departments.

With Cognos ReportNet, we can access the critical information from the rich data housed in SAP BW as well as our non-SAP systems, providing us with a single view of our business performance. We looked at a number of competitive solutions, and discovered through a proof of concept that Cognos ReportNet demonstrated superior integration and time to deployment with SAP BW.
—Val Swift, IT Manager, Mold-Masters

“ReportNet is the solution for SAP BW,” says Swift. “It allows the value of the data to shine, while shielding users from the complexities of it. We have gotten more out of our investment in SAP by getting information directly into the hands of business users. We are now able to provide our executives and sales staff with all the information they need, when they need it. They can better understand the market and seize opportunities. Without ReportNet, this would not have been possible, particularly with the time and resources available.”

About Cognos

Cognos, the world leader in business intelligence and corporate performance management, delivers software and services that help companies drive, monitor, and understand corporate performance. Cognos delivers the next level of competitive advantage—corporate performance management (CPM)—achieved through the strategic application of BI on an enterprise scale. Its integrated CPM solution helps customers drive performance through planning; monitor performance through scorecarding; and understand performance through business intelligence. Cognos serves more than 23,000 customers in over 135 countries. Cognos enterprise business intelligence and performance management solutions and services are also available from more than 3,000 worldwide partners and resellers. For more information, visit the Cognos Web site at www.cognos.com.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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