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Florida's Natural Growers Tracks and Analyzes Efficiency, Revenue and Expenses with DI-Atlantis

Published
  • October 01 1999, 1:00am EDT

BACKGROUND: Established in 1933, Florida's Natural Growers, Inc. manufactures and distributes juice around the world.

PLATFORMS: Florida's Natural Growers, Inc. runs DI-Atlantis on Windows NT, and users access data models with DI-Diver from Microsoft Windows 95 clients on a Novell network. Also, DI-WebDiver runs on a corporate intranet using Windows NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Our standard sales reporting system was robust, but we were constantly having to upgrade the HP 9000s as the sales department grew. People were running reports to retrieve just a few numbers at a time. For example, they would create a hard-copy report to see what, when and how many products a broker sold and then throw out the paper. Now, with DI-Diver, the sales department is able to answer those quick questions online without slowing down the entire system by using the HP 9000s. We quickly recognized that other departments would benefit from the functionality of DI-Diver.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We use DI-Atlantis and DI-Diver to track and analyze efficiency, revenue and expense throughout the company. In manufacturing, we track line efficiencies and downtime on a daily basis. In production departments, products and locations are bar coded, so we scan all transactions and download the information to be accessible by DI-Diver. We analyze information down to the user level to see who is doing what and how much time is spent on a particular job. That information can be cross-referenced with a record status to see how many times sales changed an order in the middle of loading and unloading. We also use DI-Diver to allocate budgets to 149 centers (glass production, concentrate production, sales, administration, etc.) based on historical data for electricity, steam generation, waste treatment and refrigeration. There are 24,000 general ledger accounts, so in the past, compiling a quarterly budget would take 10 days. Now it takes only two days. Preparing quarterly reports for senior management now takes less than a day, as opposed to a week. If the number of units produced increases, senior management wants to know if the percentage of income and expense is also being followed. A correlation between payroll expense and sales or finding out the cost for a group of centers is quickly attainable with DI-Diver. We are able to combine the individual data models to see the trends at the corporate level.

STRENGTHS: DI-Atlantis' greatest strength is the lack of IS intervention. The models are created, turned over to the users for approval and all reporting from that point is handled by the user. Speed and flexibility are also strong points of the product. If we build a multidimensional model and it's not exactly what we want, it's easy to go back and manipulate the model by swapping a dimension, adding an info field or changing a calculated column. All of this is accomplished with a simple Windows interface. On the user side, DI-Diver allows fast access to large amounts of historical data and the ability to view information by any conceivable category. We're building models that hold information from 376,000 invoices in accounts payable. Users are able to quickly get the invoice, even though the database covers a four-year period.

WEAKNESSES: It is not possible to export a DI-Diver report to an Excel schedule. We can export the data in a tabular form, but we would like to be able to export a custom-formatted report.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Other business intelligence solutions were extremely hard to administer, required a substantial amount of time to implement and the price was extreme. Dimensional Insight fulfilled our needs. The solution could be developed quickly at a reasonable cost, and we didn't have to invest time in SQL training.

DELIVERABLES: Sixty users access 24 models representing five years of data for sales, budgeting, accounts payable, general ledger and manufacturing. Twelve models are updated nightly, and the others are updated weekly or monthly. Supervisors use the models to quickly access details. Upper management is interested in summary level trends and statistical data. The budgeting department receives a constant variety of requests and creates 10 to 15 customized reports per week.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support has been fantastic.

DOCUMENTATION: Dimensional Insight provides complete and comprehensive documentation.

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