BACKGROUND: InFocus is the worldwide leader in data/video projection. Founded in 1986, InFocus continues to be an innovator of presentation technology, being first to market with such breakthroughs as the flat panel overhead display and the data/video projector. InFocus makes a variety of full- featured projectors for every need.
PLATFORMS: Gateway 400 MHz Pentium Pro and Windows NT 4.0.
PROBLEM SOLVED: InFocus recognized a need to more efficiently and effectively analyze manufacturing and quality assurance data. They implemented Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 and Knosys ProClarity at their Wilsonville, Oregon, headquarters to solve their problem in the most cost-effective, scalable and customizable manner. InFocus decision- makers use ProClarity to analyze combined manufacturing, technical support call and failure/repair data. Before ProClarity was implemented, transactional reporting was an extremely cumbersome manual process that forced a test engineer to spend days creating reports. The solution allows InFocus to pull together quality information from multiple sources in a simple and intuitive way. Prior to ProClarity, individual Microsoft Access queries were written to access data in three different databases: production, factory repair and warranty claims. The results were manipulated by hand to produce holistic quality data views, typically consuming two to three days. Today, most ad hoc questions are answered in seconds with ProClarity.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: InFocus is very pleased with the results of implementing ProClarity and has realized three main benefits as a result. First, InFocus users now have near real-time access to manufacturing and quality assurance data. Second, it takes less time to extract meaning from the combined data in a single view. As a result, better decision making is much faster. Data from multiple sources can now be quickly aggregated with Microsoft DTS (Data Transformation Services) and cubes built with OLAP Services for near real-time delivery to decision-makers using ProClarity. Finally, InFocus users can now easily access data that wasn't previously available. In combination with a new manufacturing system recently brought online, the solution provides users with access to significantly more data than ever before.
STRENGTHS: ProClarity allows decision-makers in InFocus' quality department to easily spot trends and patterns in the data ultimately being able to respond quicker to issues and make necessary changes to the manufacturing process. Simplified data presentation means executive decision-makers gain a better understanding of the entire manufacturing process. This streamlined tracking of production trends has reduced the time needed to identify failure points and improved mean time between failure (MTBF) ratings. What's more, ProClarity's Office 2000 integration is ideal for communicating data across the InFocus organization in popular formats including Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel. InFocus is seeing improved product quality, faster time to corrective action, fewer repeat manufacturing errors and improved component accountability.
WEAKNESSES: The charting and graphing capabilities of ProClarity are excellent, but not quite as flexible as those in Microsoft Office 2000.
SELECTION CRITERIA: InFocus initially selected Knosys due to the richness and performance relative to the cost and implementation time. InFocus continued its commitment by upgrading to ProClarity because of Knosys' commitment to the Microsoft architecture, and specifically to SQL Server 7.0 OLAP/DTS capabilities. InFocus learned that Microsoft and Knosys could help them take advantage of the masses of data collected on a daily basis, by building multidimensional business models using Microsoft OLAP Services with SQL Server 7.0. ProClarity provided an extremely cost-effective means to do so.
DELIVERABLES: Transactional data for the quality department is stored in three separate relational databases, then combined in SQL Server 7.0 using Data Transformation Services (DTS). Next, cubes are built using OLAP Services. InFocus decision-makers use ProClarity to easily analyze aggregated manufacturing and quality data with near real-time access. With ProClarity, InFocus decision-makers have access to significantly more data than ever before, resulting in faster, more informed decision making.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Knosys has been extremely supportive, in both pre- and post-sales support. The work that InFocus has done with Knosys professional services has been extremely valuable. That said, we have not required extensive support or professional services the product has been very robust and easy to use.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is extremely thorough and easy for our users to understand.
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