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Intermec Cleans Up Customer Files with D&B (Dun & Bradstreet) Solutions for SAP

  • Dennis E. Williams, Lindan Wharton
  • September 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

CATEGORY: Data administration, management, modeling and database performance.

REVIEWERS: Dennis E. Williams, director of sales operations, and Lindan Wharton, corporate credit collections manager, for Intermec.

BACKGROUND: Intermec Technologies Corp., a UNOVA Inc. company, is a leader in global supply chain solutions and in the development, manufacture and integration of wired and wireless automated data collection, Intellitag RFID (radio frequency identification), mobile computing systems, bar code printers and label media. The company's products and services are used by customers in many industries to improve productivity, quality and responsiveness of business operations from supply chain management and enterprise resource planning to field sales and service.


PROBLEM SOLVED: The primary problem D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions has helped us address is with invoicing. In 2001, we looked at the number of orders that we shipped and the number of invoices created, and we realized that there were almost two invoices issued per order - which meant we had approximately 40% duplication of our customer files. This created multiple issues for our sales and finance departments including improper credit analysis, inaccurate delivery of invoices which led to delays in payment and missed revenue opportunities from mining customer records. We needed to improve the accuracy of our customer files and get more complete information about customers in order to serve them better. Intermec's Procurement Team also uses D&B credit information to help evaluate and select vendors that will be good business partners. Today, with accurate and up-to-date data including SIC codes and the D&B D-U-N-S Number system from D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions, we have been able to significantly reduce the number of duplicate customer records in our system, which has a positive effect on our sales and finance activities.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: From a financial standpoint, we import D&B data and refresh it three or four times per year. We've developed a matrix based on specific D&B components which we then base our credit decisions upon. On the sales side, we use D&B data to verify correct mailing address and contact information, as well as to better understand the "family tree" relationships between divisions within customers. Additionally, we use the SIC codes from D&B to track our success and penetration within our key vertical markets.

STRENGTHS: With D&B's data, it is almost impossible to enter a duplicate customer record into our system. We now have one account per customer at that location, which has made a large difference from an invoicing and accounts receivable standpoint. Additionally, the hierarchical information that is built into the D&B database allows the tracking and reporting of information to be much more accurate and complete.

WEAKNESSES: In the near future, D&B will not be supporting our older interface design for importing D&B customer data into SAP 4.6c, and we will need to upgrade to their Global Packet Tool, which we hadn't planned for this year due to IT resource availability.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We were most impressed with the features and functionality of D&B's services including access to D&B content in real time, the ability to match against a global database of more than 84 million businesses and future integration with SAP.

DELIVERABLES: Based on D&B's matching and cleansing process, more than 70% of Intermec's customer files were identified with a confidence level of 90% or higher. As a result, we've been able to eliminate duplicate records, which helps us save in invoice mailing costs and increases employee productivity. Additionally, with D&B's D-U-N-S Number and SIC codes, we can identify the hierarchical relationships between divisions or sites within a corporation, providing us with a good first step in determining new prospects. Lastly, we also use the SIC codes to track the eight vertical markets that we sell into. We're able to match those with actual orders to determine in which markets we're growing.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The support Intermec receives from D&B employees is excellent. They respond quickly to any issue or questions we have, even if it's not directly related to our project. We can't say enough positive things about their support, especially from the D&B operations team.

DOCUMENTATION: Everything we have received from D&B, especially in terms of how to implement the data into SAP, has been sufficient.

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