The Chupa Chups Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of confectionery products, with year-on-year sales increasing at a rate of more than 10 percent. The Chupa Chups Group owns factories in Spain, France, Russia, China and Mexico, with current projects in Brazil as well as commercial companies in Spain, Germany, the U.S., Brazil, Russia, England, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Australia. Chupa Chups specializes in diverse confectionery products which have been developed using their own technology and marketed under the brands: Chupa Chups, Smint and Crazy Planet. The Chupa Chups Group's international business is especially important, particularly because 92 percent of the company's revenue comes from outside of Spain.

The idea to investigate analytic tools began with our apparent cross- company need to simplify the access and interpretation of departmental information and provide a holistic view of the company's operations to all divisions. While we had a centralized place to store our data, it was extremely difficult –­ if not impossible –­ to utilize that information in a way that could provide users with quick, visible results for their functional roles and/or maximize their ability to exploit the information that was available (through reporting, analysis, etc). As a company with multiple products being distributed through several channels of distribution and geographic locations, this type of information, when made available in the right format, becomes a source of strategic advantage.

After an internal review, we uncovered mission-critical needs in several areas. Sales and distribution required the ability to maximize reaction time to market fluctuations (inventory, sales, pricing, etc.). Finance required the ability for both users and management to access reports for financial analysis. Profitability analysis capabilities were required to determine which products and clients in which divisions and regions are most profitable. Management required tools to facilitate better decision making along with Web-based access and write-back capability for forecasting, budgeting, planning, etc. Integration with our legacy ERP system was also a requirement.

We assembled a cross-functional team which included representatives from sales, operations, IT and project management, along with Board M.I.T. Solution Partner, SdG Consulting, to manage the analysis phase. We developed a list of short-term goals which were consistent with the input we received from all departments (i.e., quick, easy access to the "right" information, ease of report development, etc.) and began a more detailed analysis of our information and the tools that would meet our requirements.

Housed in our SAP system, we had information on products, clients, inventory, consumption, overages and inventory turns ­ all of which was segmented by market, division and region. However, this data was not in a format that would allow us to easily extract it for the purposes of analysis (only simple reporting), especially the department-specific analysis we were trying to deliver. Because of this and the fact that we needed the ability to look at the data from several different perspectives, we decided to purchase a solution that provided multidimensional analysis capability and would allow for rapid and easy customization, as the solutions had to work for multiple departments.

We decided on Board M.I.T. from Orenburg, a leading decision-support and business intelligence toolkit for developing analytic applications, primarily for its native (data) simulation capabilities and flexible/customizable design. This would allow all departments to use a common system. Because of Board's programming-free design, impact on IT for development and maintenance was minimized. With Board, we were able to get all of the necessary data out of SAP and into a tool that would quickly provide users a single, unified view of key departmental information which could be leveraged in sales, finance, operations and across management teams. By leveraging the Board M.I.T. WebServer product and its unique "write-back" capabilities (Board has it's own MDDB which allows write-back to the database), we could easily perform complex analysis activities, using information we already had but which was previously "stuck" in our ERP system.

With our business growing rapidly on a worldwide basis, having Board M.I.T. is a real competitive advantage. The result of this complex project is an exhaustive study of sales and related variables that allow us to analyze the evolution, tendency, forecast and degree of execution of the forecasts, by client, division or region. Going forward, we will no longer have to base our operational decisions on "gut feel," but on real-time information that can be used to support our direction.

Orenburg's BOARD Management Intelligence Toolkit (M.I.T.) offers a unique and programming-free way to deliver sophisticated BI and Analytical Application solutions. Board M.I.T. enables rapid development of customized, complex analytic solutions for sales, finance, marketing, production and much more ­ as well as integrated decision support for ERP, CRM and SCM solutions.

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