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Graham Improves Decision Making at Every Level with Centralized Reporting from dynaSight

  • May 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

CATEGORY: Business Intelligence

REVIEWER: Jeff Rishel, director of IT for Graham Packaging.

BACKGROUND: Graham Packaging is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of customized blow modeled plastic containers for the branded food and beverage, household and personal care, and automotive lubricants markets, with 56 plants throughout North America, Europe and South America.

PLATFORMS: Graham Packaging is running arcplan dynaSight on a Windows NT environment. Users access dynaSight via a Web browser.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In 1998, changing global business processes, customization and continued expansion led Graham Packaging to invest millions in a new ERP system, SAP R/3. It managed orders, HR, distribution, financials and production, and improved our operations in many areas, but we were left asking why and how. We needed to understand the details behind the numbers, not to mention obtain some relief for our finance and accounting departments from time-consuming report creation on anything from key performance indicators on sales and inventory to aging. This encompassed running various reports from Hyperion and SAP, doing downloads and exports and finally verification by our analysts to check for errors added in the process. Our dynaSight front-end application centralized reporting and added that depth we needed - all via a Web browser. We continue to implement new reporting in all areas to replace manual reports. With its drill-down to source capability, more time can be spent on analysis and taking action rather than data retrieval and validation. It's really put the "wow" into our SAP R/3 system, making it a much more accessible, valuable and powerful a tool for all levels of the company.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: dynaSight is an easy-to-use and flexible platform. Its development environment enables me to create the query parameters for the entire scope of the company's KPIs in the amount of time it used to take an analyst to create a single report. It is dynamic and sustains the questioning our analysts require for decision support, and its navigation is considerably more intuitive with SAP data than standard front-end offerings. Easy access to information with drill-down capability helps the sales force market more strategically and keep objectives aligned with the bottom line. The solution enables across-the-board analysis of plant efficiency and machine utilization. One example of improvement: we reduced aging by 10 percent right away. The first thing our CFO and COO look at each morning is their dynaSight front end. From their executive dashboards, they can drill down into multiple dimensions regarding customers, plants, etc. Decisions are that much easier.

STRENGTHS: dynaSight differentiates itself from competitive offerings with two key strengths. It draws data directly from the source, and it doesn't matter if it's from one or multiple back ends, eliminating any downloading or keying of information to create reports. Its flexibility and graphical nature help our users to customize their views; they can see the numbers and really understand how they got them.

WEAKNESSES: Our users feel the printing of graphics could be easier, and I'm told that's been improved in the recent release.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our SAP consultant, ICM America, recommended we evaluate BI platforms to gain insight into portions of our business impacted by R/3, and the arcplan dynaSight product was our top pick. We required a Web-based, front-end analytic solution that enabled direct access to many different data sources, including Hyperion Enterprise and Microsoft SQL Server, in addition to SAP R/3. It gave us quick and simple analysis and professional visualization of data for every hierarchical level of our organization. It also accommodates the company's rapid growth.

DELIVERABLES: Graham is using the solution for reporting across the enterprise including financial, distribution, production, machine time, inventory and HR in addition to data mining and online analytical processing.

VENDOR SUPPORT: arcplan and ICM were great, and our dynaSight implementation took less than a month! We were working with it immediately. Every question that I've had has been answered. arcplan also recently began to offer telephone support in addition to their online support, which has helped to further improve their support offering.

DOCUMENTATION: I live by the documentation, and the online documentation is great. There are so many examples and tips that I've never taken training on it.

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