REVIEWER: Jim Zetwick, business systems director of enabling services for Borden Foods.

BACKGROUND: Borden Foods is dedicated to building consumer-focused food brands serving people around the world, enriching their eating experience with great tasting, wholesome grain-based meal solutions. Borden Foods produces Creamette, Prince and Catelli pastas, Classico sauces, It's Pasta Anytime meals and Wyler's bouillon and soup mixes. Based in Columbus, Ohio, the company operates eight manufacturing plants in North America and Italy.

PLATFORMS: Borden Foods uses Oracle8., Hewlett-Packard UX 11.0 and UNIX.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Trade promotions are our third-largest profit/loss item, but we could not adequately evaluate our return on investment. We needed answers to questions such as: Did we get the return we expected from our newspaper insert in the northeast? Was the promotion too costly? Is our western sales team performing to target? Why isn't this grocery store in that city selling as much soup as we thought? Our goal was to use data captured in our transactional system to look at customer, product and regional profitability. We chose PeopleSoft Profitability Insight to effectively leverage our data to get the answers we need.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: PeopleSoft Profitability Insight gives us unique, user-defined perspectives on customer, product and geographic profitability, providing more and better information than we had from our manual spreadsheets. We use Profitability Insight as a sales- force tool to set targets and report actuals. Because it gives our sales force more targeted data, we can easily locate an under-performing account, product issue or trade promotion, learn why it's not working and fix it. We can identify marketing issues, product formulation issues, and distribution and warehousing costs. By pulling the top and bottom 25 performers on a number of measures, we can find out why a region or account isn't meeting expectations and what we can do to fix it. We keep finding new ways to analyze data and are requesting reports we hadn't considered before.

STRENGTHS: One of PeopleSoft Profitability Insight's key strengths is its consistent business definition of profitability, logic and transformation rules. Another strength is the variety of perspectives it provides, allowing us to view our company online in real time, from the top down, geographically and across product lines. Additionally, we can integrate multiple data points, pull information from disparate sources into one data warehouse and access it quickly. Profitability Insight is versatile and very powerful.

WEAKNESSES: We use both PeopleSoft's Profitability Insight and Balanced Scorecard, and they aren't well integrated, except by the underlying data source. Because each uses a different front end, we can't navigate between them without jumping out of one application and into the other. Our users also must understand two different navigation methods. We would prefer to navigate from one application to the other with ease.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Because we were already using PeopleSoft applications for financial and supply chain management, adding Profitability Insight was a comfortable choice. Our installed base was familiar with the PeopleSoft architecture. In addition, our other options did not offer mapping to Enterprise Warehouse, PeopleSoft's data warehouse.

DELIVERABLES: In the past, we pulled data onto spreadsheets from disparate sources using inconsistent business rules and logic. Each business unit created its reports independently. PeopleSoft Profitability Insight allows us to capture data from Enterprise Warehouse and use it to run reports on everything from product-level profitability in a California grocery to sales team performance. Data is stored in weekly aggregations. We run reports daily and receive information via our corporate intranet.

VENDOR SUPPORT: PeopleSoft Consulting (PSC) worked with Borden Foods to implement PeopleSoft Profitability Insight. We couldn't be more pleased with the support we received. The knowledgeable consultants had us up and running quickly. Because we were part of PeopleSoft's Early Adopter program for Profitability Insight, we were one of the first companies to implement the application and had weekly calls with the developers to discuss our progress. Not everything went smoothly. We had product and implementation issues, but the developers and consultants responded quickly. We worked as partners to resolve all the issues.

DOCUMENTATION: Overall, documentation for Profitability Insight was average to good. It was usable, but not as efficient as it could have been. As an Early Adopter participant, we worked with PeopleSoft on specific issues and provided recommendations.

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