RESEARCH & RESOURCES

CASE STUDY - Rite Hite Corporation Evolves to Enterprise Business Intelligence

Commentary by Tony Stokman, Director of Planning, Analysis and Reporting, Rite-Hite Corporation

Rite-Hite Corporation, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the worldwide leader in the development, manufacture, and sale of loading dock safety systems and industrial door solutions. Rite-Hite’s complete product line includes hydraulic, mechanical and airpowered dock levelers, vehicle restraints, truck levelers, dock seals and shelters, high speed doors, cooler/freezer doors, traffic/ impact doors, and a complete line of aftermarket parts, accessories, and service. Rite-Hite directly employs approximately 1,600 worldwide, and maintains more than 30 different representative organizations at more than 100 locations throughout Asia, Europe, and North and South America.

Challenges

Prior to 2003, Rite-Hite executives and management relied upon multiple systems, in addition to spreadsheet experts, for reporting and analysis. Efforts were redundant, untimely, and inaccurate. Rite-Hite eventually came to the conclusion that a business intelligence (BI) solution was needed to replace all of its reporting and analysis tools.

Rite-Hite’s goal was to build a one-stop-shop for all data that would replace historical reporting tools and reports and deliver intuitive executive dashboards to the user community. Rite-Hite personnel wanted a BI tool that was easy to use and delivered accurate and quick answers.

The BI Solution

After evaluating MicroStrategy and two other vendors, Rite-Hite chose MicroStrategy for its ease of use, spreadsheet-like functionality, speed to develop reports and perform analyses, and ability to bring in data from multiple data sources. MicroStrategy’s outstanding support staff and convenient training programs also impressed Rite-Hite.

Rite-Hite deployed its first MicroStrategy BI application in 2004, and it replaced most of its reporting and executive information systems. Over the next several years, the BI environment evolved into a multiple source platform delivering mission-critical reporting and alerting via dashboards and reports.

Improving access to trusted information and extending the BI environment across the enterprise is driving better decisions and business performance at Rite-Hite Corporation.

Today, Rite-Hite’s primary BI application is the sales and customer service application. Rite-Hite relies on this application to analyze data across the manufacturing, sales, and service areas for greater insights into profitability. Through relationship filtering, Rite-Hite can measure the profitability of its products and customers. This analysis is critical to pricing decisions and improves company personnel’s understanding of sales force productivity. Rite-Hite’s executives and senior management primarily use scorecards to monitor high-level corporate key performance indicators (KPIs) on a daily and monthly basis. They can interactively drill into lower levels of data and track performance trends across the organization to make better business decisions.

In addition, Rite-Hite has a manufacturing application that enables analysis of product mix, inventory levels, manufacturing quality, and warranty analysis information. Company personnel also use the manufacturing application to quickly learn the status of jobs that are held up within the ERP system, resulting in better customer support. Another major BI application is the general ledger, allowing employees to track balance sheet activity and analyze income statement information.

Benefits

The benefits of using MicroStrategy are abundant. Rite-Hite users can perform product analyses to determine what product line and category relationships are the most or least profitable. With the data, sales management can determine which salespeople or regions are top performers and what customers are being presented with the ideal product solution. For instance, alerts are sent out when a sale takes place and a complimentary product was not included on the sale.

In addition, enhanced reporting of Rite-Hite’s financial performance and trends has led to favorable cash flow for future investment in products. Because the report creation process has been cut drastically, the company can spend more time analyzing results and utilizing data proactively.

Improving access to trusted information and extending the BI environment across the enterprise is driving better decisions and business performance at Rite-Hite Corporation.

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