REVIEWER: Debbie Pastura, assistant corporate controller for Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. is among the largest privately owned waste and recycling companies in the U.S. Founded in 1932 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, the family-run business serves hundreds of thousands of residential, commercial and industrial customers. It owns or operates nine landfills, several transfer stations and six recycling centers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

PLATFORMS: MS SQL Server accessing a SQL database and Windows 2003 OS.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As our business expanded, so did our information management challenges. A key problem for us was how to efficiently collect budget data from different parts of the business spread across three states. We were using a spreadsheet-based process where information was manually collected from hundreds of people on an ongoing basis. It was time-consuming and inefficient. Additionally, people wanted to be able to analyze their budget values dynamically instead of using the static operational reports they were used to.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Rumpke began the implementation of the Cognos Planning and PowerPlay products in February 2004. With Cognos, we have not only streamlined our budgeting process, but we have also decreased month-end processing time from days to just a few hours. We have discovered unprecedented capabilities in allocations, top-down and bottom-up changes, and the ability to quickly roll up the various regional budgets into an overall corporate budget. The Web-based platform allows different regions of the company to produce their own plans. The organization uses consolidation at the corporate level to create consistent, interconnected planning models that accurately reflect cross-functional dependencies. This Cognos Planning allowed us to streamline budgets and forecasts and has also reduced the administrative burden on the finance department, so staff can spend more time on value-added analysis. Now, finance delivers financial statements and also provides analytics in areas such as productivity and payroll. We even have the ability to perform financial analysis by district - something that was nearly impossible before. In terms of operations, users can analyze things such as truck weights and materials as well as the status of each landfill. Our finance team is now able to proactively provide insightful analytics for overall productivity, payroll and landfill status by line of business. Cognos Planning is being embraced company-wide as financial analysts as well as executives use the Cognos software at Rumpke.

STRENGTHS: The Cognos solution provides us with a graphically appealing view into our operations, allowing for business decisions to be based on a single, fact-based version of the truth. This functionality has allowed us to get a better handle on our business. Also, the Web-based platform is very helpful because it allows multiple users in multiple locations to be able to create their own plans.

WEAKNESSES: Because of the size of the models we use in our planning process, the initial execution (opening up) of our budget model seems slow. However, if you compare it to the time that it took to open, save and link previous spreadsheets and models, we are actually saving time.

SELECTION CRITERIA: One of the reasons we chose Cognos is because we had used some of their products with positive results in the past. Also, we knew that the Web-enabled system would provide easier and broader access to information. In addition to this, Cognos made it easy to compare and manipulate data across many dimensions and perspectives. Compared to other companies, the training was easier and we were very impressed with their partners.

DELIVERABLES: Cognos Planning helps us to create powerful business modeling and calculations through detailed reports. Flexible security provides as much or as little access as is required by each user in the enterprise.

VENDOR SUPPORT: For this implementation we worked with a Cognos platinum reseller who managed the software implementation. Both Cognos and the reseller were very helpful in working with us to get our system up and running.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation was not an issue during implementation.

Cognos Planning
Cognos, Incorporated
3755 Riverside Drive
Ottawa, ON, Canada K1G 4K9
(613) 738-1440

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