REVIEWER: Matt Rhoades, team leader ­ Advanced Technology Development for Henkel Consumer Adhesives.

BACKGROUND: Headquartered in Avon, Ohio, and a subsidiary of $10 billion Henkel Group, Henkel Consumer Adhesives is a $315 million global marketer and distributor of consumer products, including Duck brand duct tape, adhesives, packing materials and glue through major retailers in mass market, hardware/home center and commercial office products and office superstore channels. Henkel Consumer Adhesives develops, markets and distributes its products to 2,000 leading retail clients including Wal-Mart, Target, Staples, Lowe's and OfficeMax. Most recently, Henkel Consumer Adhesives was showcased on MSNBC and CNN when Tom Ridge, Director of Homeland Security, told Americans to go buy Duck tape. We've been shipping Duck tape non- stop ever since!


PROBLEM SOLVED: Because different parts of the organizations were running different ERP applications, access to information was becoming more difficult on a daily basis, often taking weeks to get answers to business questions. Henkel Consumer Adhesives needed to streamline and upgrade its IT infrastructure with a single, consolidated data warehouse. Henkel formed the North America Data Warehouse Shared Services team to build a single source of information and control costs.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Oracle9i Database provides a scalable solution for managing terabytes of data, complex analytical processing, and large number of end users. Oracle9i provides a single source of truth for fast and accurate decision making. Henkel Consumer Adhesives has realized more than $1 million in savings and reached ROI in one year. In one case, a Henkel executive was able to make a decision in two weeks of analysis that saved the company $1 million in warehouse and distribution costs. Before the implementation of this solution, the executive had given up after several months of effort. An outside consultant had asked for $150,000 to perform the analysis.

STRENGTHS: The scalability of Oracle9i Database is key in accommodating growth and protecting the data warehouse investment. Another key strength is the tight integration of Oracle9i Database with Oracle business intelligence tools, which allowed Henkel to quick deploy a business intelligence solution whereby users can easily access, analyze and share information.

WEAKNESSES: Integration with more third-party products such as Microsoft tools would be nice to have. Oracle supplies a native ODBC drivers as well as .NET Data Providers, which is a good start. Although Oracle9i makes great strides to simplify the tools, with ultimate flexibility comes complexity. You still need an Oracle DBA around, but Oracle9i has definitely made life a little easier.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Scalability was a critical factor in Henkel's decision. The company's store of business data was growing exponentially ­ from 100 gigabytes a few years ago to more than 1.7 terabytes today. There's no way we could have built this on a SQL Server or a multidimensional OLAP engine. The scalability's just not there. Additionally, deploying the data warehouse with Oracle was fast and affordable because Henkel could leverage employees already skilled in Oracle. No extra hardware or IT staff was required.

DELIVERABLES: The system provides a full 360- degree view of the business, everything from sales, inventory and A/R to customer and product profitability. All monthly financial reporting is done through the data warehouse.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Oracle really acted as our partner on this whole project and provided both excellent technical support and feedback to help us ensure the success of the project.

DOCUMENTATION:Oracle provides good solid documentation for the Oracle9i Database as well as many online resources such as Oracle Technet (OTN) and Metalink.

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