CATEGORY: Business Performance Management
REVIEWER: Lester Holley, manager of budgeting and corporate analysis for The Woodbridge Group.
BACKGROUND: The Woodbridge Group, headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, is a leading manufacturer of automotive urethane technologies and a specialist in just-in-time assembly and sequencing systems. The Woodbridge Group has 59 facilities in 53 cities in 15 countries including North and South America, Europe, Australia and Japan.
PLATFORMS: Applix TM1 sits on an HP Net Server LC3 with a P2 450 processor. The system runs on Windows 2000 Advanced Server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: The Woodbridge Group first turned to TM1 to help reduce the labor intensive process of collecting information from multiple plants and tracking costing information. Not only does the TM1-based business performance management (BPM) system do that, but it also enabled us to automate the data retrieval process, perform financial consolidations across multiple dimensions and perform ad hoc reporting. Additionally, we are able to create new queries and reports and run them as needed based on updates from the plants and facilities.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: TM1 is a proven engine for BPM and analytics. We initially selected TM1 in 1994; through the years, the product has grown both with technological advancements and with our own needs. As a result of TM1's multidimensional architecture, we are able to store 12 distinct "cubes" and consolidate more than 100 entities. In total, TM1 has been flexible enough to scale to our growing business. Today, we perform a number of financial and operational analyses with TM1. We estimate that we save 100 person-days per year in reporting. Our time is now spent in value- added analysis instead of data collection and cleansing. We can now develop reports in one day, when these activities previously took us eight to ten days to accomplish.
STRENGTHS: TM1 allows the users to get right to the base data. Many competing products do not allow the users to work directly with the engine. Because TM1 is a tool, it gives us the flexibility within finance and the business units to create our own applications needed to perform sophisticated analysis.
WEAKNESSES: The flexibility of the tool comes with a downside it requires more maintenance. However, we've found this is an acceptable trade-off for us.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We evaluated a number of products and selected TM1 based on its price/performance ratio. From our initial purchase, The Woodbridge Group's use of TM1 has mushroomed throughout the company. We now use TM1 not just in finance, but also in operations.
DELIVERABLES: Today, The Woodbridge Group relies on TM1 for analysis in finance, purchasing, quality, sales, health and safety environment compliance and scoreboarding of multiple functions. One of the most significant deliverables from the system is short turnaround for monthly reporting. Because the data represents multiple functional groups, we typically have at least three or four users working with the system and analyzing business performance information.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Over the years, Applix has been very, very good to work with. For example, as our team builds new cubes, we can send them to Applix support for review. The support team has a strong understanding of analytic applications and can always find a solution to any problem we encounter. We also have worked with two Applix partners: Revelwood and Creeth, Richman & Associates. Both of these organizations have provided consulting for us and both are excellent resources for developing, deploying and maintaining TM1-based applications.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation for TM1 is extensive, but very intuitive and logical. It follows through and helps users find the answers they seek.
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