REVIEWER: Ralph Hromisin, chief financial officer for Benco Dental.

BACKGROUND: Benco Dental is the nation's largest independent distributor of dental supplies and equipment. Founded in 1930, Benco Dental grew from a small family operation in Philadelphia to one of 37 regional showrooms and four distribution centers serving 20,000 customers in 24 states.

PLATFORMS: Extensity MPC runs on Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services.

PROBLEM SOLVED: While facing increased competition, tightening margins and limited manpower, Benco Dental needed to help managers plan strategically and capitalize on volumes of data trapped in old spreadsheet, transaction and ERP systems. After achieving these goals that resulted in a shortened budget cycle and faster distribution of critical financial data, Benco Dental needed to manage profitability at a deeper, more efficient level to link performance management with strategic planning.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With Extensity MPC's budgeting and flexible reporting capabilities, we were able to get down to a level of detail that our ERP systems could not handle. Previously, the management team would have a difficult time reaching a consensus because they all had different data. Now, we receive a monthly email alerting everyone that actual results are available and a reminder to review them. After streamlining our processes with MPC, we were able to reduce the monthly close cycle from 15 to nine days, reduce the monthly reporting cycle from five days to an instant, change regional P&L reporting from quarterly to monthly, reduce budgeting cycle man hours from 1,500 to 800 and enable sales and gross profit reporting by sales representative as well as perform quarterly forecasting - both of which were previously next to impossible. With our quicker reaction time because of more useful and complete data, we're now able to be proactive and spot trends sooner. Benco Dental also improved accountability and strengthened ownership of the budget throughout the organization. Our managers can now tell us their plans for the next quarter as opposed to our predicting them.

STRENGTHS: Extensity MPC's open architecture enabled an easy and cost-effective integration with our Microsoft SQL system. MPC's budgeting capabilities and incredible reporting flexibility allowed us to get to a level of detail that is most useful to help improve performance, and its powerful functionality helped us streamline and refine processes throughout the company. Everyone also found MPC easy to use.

WEAKNESSES: At this time, system response time is not optimized. Also, we would like more flexibility in Formula Builder to support the budget drivers.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Benco Dental evaluated products from four other major vendors but selected Extensity MPC. We wanted something with a proven track record and good references. Extensity delivered with a modular, Web-based, single-source design that was unlike what we saw from the others.

DELIVERABLES: Benco Dental's outputs include shortened and enhanced budgeting and reporting processes; a single, centralized data source enabling one consistent version of data for budgeting and reporting; automatic email alerts showing deviations from performance expectations to allow time to fix the problem or take advantage of an opportunity; a customized dashboard tool for managers to capture a snapshot of performance in real time; an ad hoc reporting tool for multidimensional analysis; and a long-term financial model for strategic planning.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Our Extensity consultants had expert subject-matter knowledge. We developed a trust in Extensity because they had absolute commitment to the success of the application and worked hand in hand with our team toward common goals. Post-implementation, we've experienced the same high quality of support from Extensity. After four years, Extensity is still committed to getting problems solved to our satisfaction.

DOCUMENTATION: Relying on the documentation to implement and run the product from inception would have been a highly challenging task for a financial staff. Recognizing that, Extensity provided a training program that proved useful in building our technical knowledge base. Now that we are using the system, we regularly rely on the documentation and Extensity's Web site to troubleshoot and make changes to the product. 

Extensity MPC
Extensity (formerly Geac)
66 Perimeter Center East
Atlanta, GA 30346
(404) 239-2000

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