REVIEWER: Peter Marshall, CFO of Cumberland Packing Corporation.

BACKGROUND: Cumberland Packing Corporation, based in Brooklyn, New York, is a private, family-owned company with a long track record of innovation and safety. The company was the first to package sugar in packets and is the inventor, manufacturer and marketer of Sweet'N Low Zero Calorie Sweetener. The ubiquitous pink packet was introduced to consumers nearly 50 years ago and is an American staple. We produce more than 33 million packets of Sweet'N Low every day, making it the number one packet seller, far exceeding any other brand of sugar substitute.

PLATFORM:  Windows 2000 Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Cumberland Packing turned to a business intelligence (BI) and business performance management application for two primary reasons: to gain better information management and to improve the company's analysis and reporting process. Consumers' changing dietary trends and food fads require us to make quick decisions, and these evaluations need to be fueled by detailed information. We wanted to understand the impact of buying fluctuations, patterns and changes to the competitive landscape. Additionally, a great deal of operating information was trapped in our enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, and analysis and reporting on that information was extremely difficult. We wanted a BI and performance management solution to access that data and to reduce the labor-intensive report gathering process, leaving more time for strategic analysis and decision-making.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Applix TM1 is a BI application that enables budgeting, planning, forecasting, reporting and analysis on both financial information and operational information. It brings a multidimensional approach, allowing us to examine the same information in different views. Additionally, TM1 has a unique feature - a reliance on in-memory processing and calculations - which enables us to quickly recalculate information. Lastly, TM1 comes with Turbo Integrator, which provides the application with import and export capabilities to and from our ERP system, allowing for a seamless flow of information that is automatically downloaded nightly.

STRENGTHS: TM1's multidimensional approach enables us to look at financial and operational information by division, geography, product, customer and distribution channel. This level of detail helps us to have better and more detailed analysis and reporting. The flexibility of TM1's in-memory recalculations enables our team to handle the myriad of requests from line-of-business managers and executives with greater speed and a greater level of detail.

WEAKNESSES: As we began to expand our use of TM1, we needed to add the supporting hardware. While we like that it has far surpassed our goals for the project and that it will be used for more projects, our initial view of TM1 resulted in us underestimating its usage. 

SELECTION CRITERIA: We looked at several BI and performance management offerings in the market. However, we determined that several of these were simply too inefficient from a software solution standpoint: while they offered the functionality we needed, many of their functions were covered only in separate modules or different applications that needed integration on the back end. TM1, on the other hand, offered us analysis and reporting capabilities as well as budgeting and planning all in a single application. We liked the power and simplicity of a comprehensive solution within TM1.

DELIVERABLES: Within three months of selecting TM1, we achieved our business goal of reducing reporting cycles, while also gaining time. The extra time and TM1 enable us to perform strategic analysis by a number of differing factors. The multiview and various layers of analysis pave the way for more strategic decision-making. Last, by consolidating actual operational information from the ERP system into TM1, we have a single source of the truth.

VENDOR SUPPORT: After selecting TM1, we turned to Revelwood, an Applix solution partner, for expertise and guidance in developing the multidimensional TM1 cubes and the rules to process the calculations. Within two weeks, the first application for reporting was up and running.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is complete and easy to understand.

TM1 Version 8.4.2
Applix, Inc.
289 Turnpike Road
Westborough, MA 01581
(508) 870-0300

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