Implemention Technology
Business Intelligence
  Oracle Discoverer
  Oracle OLAP Express Server
Data Modeling
  Oracle Data Mart Designer
Data Migration
  Ardent DataStage
Warehouse Engine
  Compaq Proliant 6000 Server

Manco, Inc., a Henkel Group company, develops and markets a full line of innovative, do-it-yourself adhesives, office stationery and products for the home. Manco's customers include major worldwide retailers such as Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware, Lowe's and Target.

Headquartered in Avon, Ohio, Manco sales were $180 million in 1998. The company's mission statement is to build a global consumer products company that provides quality products and great customer service.

The Business Drivers

Manco recognized the competitive importance to reduce costs, improve shipment turnaround, identify high-revenue opportunities and allocate funds appropriately. The company achieved these goals by developing application data marts for specific functions: Oracle Financial Analyzer for budgeting, financial analysis, forecasting and product and customer profitability; and Oracle Data Mart Suite to create additional application marts for marketing and distribution including Point-of-Sale Mart, Shipment History Mart and Open Order Analysis Mart.

Prior to implementation of Oracle Financial Analyzer and Oracle Data Mart Suite, Manco spent hours extracting data from flat files and preparing all functional analysis within spreadsheets. The process of using a spreadsheet for the budgeting function, for example, required approximately 600 workforce hours to complete each year. In another example, spreadsheet development and analysis for forecasting typically required eight to ten workforce hours each week. It's also important to note that results from the functional analysis were hampered by the limited capabilities provided within Excel.

Oracle Financial Analyzer incorporates all of the functionality required by Manco including financial reporting, analysis and forecasting. Oracle's suite of products ensured that Manco achieved three critical system success factors: performance, flexibility and ease of use. Additionally, the products secured Manco's investment for the future, demonstrating scalability as system growth requirements increased.

By running on Oracle Express Server, Manco capitalized on an OLAP server possessing an advanced calculation engine and data cache optimized to support mathematical, financial, statistical and time-series manipulations as well as forecasting, modeling and multi- user "what-if" scenarios. The Oracle Express Server's calculation engine combined with Oracle Financial Analyzer's set of robust functions provided Manco with a solution that answers 95 percent of requested queries successfully in three to five seconds. It's important to note that no excessive caching was required to achieve immediate responses to complex analysis.

On the relational side, the Oracle Data Mart Suite offered the features needed to develop the relational application marts. Oracle Data Mart Designer provided a consistent and convenient mechanism for defining objects without manual entry of SQL commands. Oracle7 Enterprise Edition database and Oracle Discoverer, an award-winning query and analysis tool for end users, enabled immediate development of critical reports and immediate access to information through a step-by-step wizard interface for ad hoc requirements. Ardent's DataStage product was used for data migration

Manco's business intelligence solution runs on a single Compaq Proliant 6000 server with four 200 MHz processors and one gigabyte of memory. The system currently uses 165 gigabytes of disk space, which was initially setup in a RAID5 configuration, but the company quickly realized that they could further speed I/O rates using a mirrored configuration across multiple controllers.

Using Oracle Financial Analyzer on Oracle Express Server as well as Oracle Data Mart Suite, Manco replaced the costly spreadsheet development process with a system designed to maximize analysis time. Once deployed, the entire hybrid solution saved 400 preparation hours per year for budgeting and 300 hours for forecasting.

Of course, Manco needed more than budgeting and forecasting analysis ­ other areas that required immediate attention included shipment history, financial modeling, consumption analysis, point-of-sale analysis and product and customer profitability analysis.

The company found its solution through development of application marts that were created according to function. Shipment History Mart and Open Order Mart provide the user with the ability to analyze internal processes, the Point-of-Sale Mart assists the sales and marketing department in meeting their requirements and Oracle Financial Analyzer enables product and customer profitability analysis via a profit and loss statement. This truly provides a 360-degree perspective for the business.

One of the more interesting applications that has proven to be very successful is the Consumption Analysis Mart on the relational side, which helps supplement the forecasting process in Oracle Financial Analyzer. Forecasting and sales divisions can now view consumption information starting at a business unit or customer level and drill down to specific products to make immediate adjustments to the forecast. This drill-down capability ensures low inventory levels which helps save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Manco also recently deployed the profit and loss (P&L) statement application built within Oracle Financial Analyzer. It comprises 150 line items including gross sales, costs and adjustments down to net profit. The P&L cube consists of three views ­ customer, product and time ­ and enables marketing and sales divisions to drill down and view the P&L information for specific customers and products within any desired time range. In a matter of minutes, Manco can identify its most profitable and costly products and customers, saving millions in reduced product costs and increasing revenues.

Because customer service is a top priority for Manco, their analytic solution must provide users with powerful tools for monitoring service levels in addition to allowing them to drill down and obtain information about specific customers, products and invoices ­ ultimately enabling Manco to determine the condition of select client accounts. This capability allows the company to manage its customer relationships by enabling users to quickly resolve service issues before they become obvious to the client.

The Oracle products selected by Manco have created the foundation for analytic analysis. Oracle Financial Analyzer and Oracle Data Mart Suite have provided Manco with the required toolset to increase revenue and improve customer relationships. Because Manco designed a hybrid solution which combined the most powerful, scalable and easy-to-use tools, the company ensured that users can view data in its simplest or most detailed form. Further, users can capitalize on the performance gains associated with the Oracle OLAP Express Server, while obtaining detailed information for analysis and improved decision making from Oracle's relational database, Oracle7.

Additionally, developing a P&L statement within Oracle Financial Analyzer represented an especially innovative approach for creating a Product and Customer Profitability application mart, further demonstrating the expansive scope of analysis easily performed within the product. By merging daily sales activity with a monthly general ledger extraction, Manco was able to obtain all of the sales, costs and adjustments down to specific customers and products and present it to users in an easy-to-use multidimensional client application.

The Advice

During any major systems implementation, users are absolutely key to the success of the project. The highest performing, easiest- to-use system in the world will still fail if it doesn't provide the necessary functionality to support the business. Therefore, take the time to meet with the users and understand their information requirements ­ it's the top project investment you'll make.

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