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Unprecedented Plant Management Efficiency at Much Less the Cost than Typical ERP System

  • July 01 2002, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWERS: David Smith, director of systems architecture, and David Radmilovich, director of operations, for Aramark Uniform Services.

BACKGROUND: Over the past five decades, Aramark has established itself as the global leader in managed services. Aramark manages and provides services such as uniform and corporate apparel, food services, education, facilities management and business services. Aramark Uniform Services is a billion dollar, full-service, employee uniform solution, providing garment and ancillary item rental/direct sale to a wide range of customers throughout the continental U.S. More than 70 laundry plants and 132 satellite plants and depots launder, repair and service these items for more than 300,000 customers.

PLATFORMS: Windows 2000, SQL Server 2000 with Analysis Services, Compaq ProLiant 8500 Server, Citrix Server and ProClarity Analytics Platform 4.0.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Aramark Uniform Services (AUS) has traditionally been a very distributed company, including IT services. Each facility has its own hardware and software, severely limiting the central office's ability to monitor activities and produce consolidated reporting. There were limited consolidated reports and data for the enterprise. The systems producing these reports were built nearly 20 years ago; and system usage has been sporadic, with management relying on batch reports to provide raw statistics. For the first time, with ProClarity, Aramark has access to consolidated data from all facilities and can analyze efficiencies and monitor trends from plant to plant. ProClarity enabled Aramark to leverage its legacy transactional system and still accomplish everything we wanted, including reporting and analytics.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The ProClarity rich client was deployed to more than one hundred users of the system. As Aramark's WAN connections varied from facility to facility, Citrix clients were deployed to each remote desktop with ProClarity sitting on a Citrix Server in the corporate office. Multiple ProClarity books were prebuilt to capture key performance measurements. Monthly facility rankings and performance metrics are published nationally. The solution is scheduled to deliver annualized savings to Aramark of several million dollars!

STRENGTHS: ProClarity is an easy-to-use presentation tool with powerful graphical and data representations. Extensive Web-based and personal training was provided. The system, from hardware and software planning and procurement through delivery, was implemented within four months. With ProClarity, central office operations can monitor the distributed environment, develop standards across all facilities and respond to any facility irregularity.

WEAKNESSES: Due to Aramark's distributed environment, it wasn't an option to standardize on the desktop version of ProClarity. However, the end users wanted rich client capabilities within ProClarity. Facility bandwidth was also problematic; thus Citrix clients were installed on the desktop with ProClarity residing on a central server.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Instead of paying millions for a new ERP and business intelligence system, Aramark chose to enhance its legacy system by overlaying it with ProClarity. ProClarity has provided Aramark with a lot of flexibility in terms of what we can do to meet current and future needs. Compared to alternatives, ProClarity was extremely cost effective. ProClarity, coupled with SQL Server 2000 and Analysis Services and the Compaq and Citrix hardware and software, not only exceeded the performance of all other products, but was also the least expensive and most functionally rich solution evaluated.

DELIVERABLES: The data warehouse and ProClarity project began in May. By October, Aramark users were able to get information and track individual plant performance at market center, group, regional and corporate levels. Now, in just minutes, Aramark executives can bore down into the specifics of a root problem for any location and, with a consolidated view, can analyze data and efficiencies across all facilities. By receiving detailed, consolidated and continually updated reports, executives can not only monitor the performance of each individual facility, but also can instantly identify inefficiency and address it with specific action.

VENDOR SUPPORT: ProClarity provided complete support for this product implementation. A third- party vendor, Intelli-Mine, Inc., assisted in the development of the data warehouse and also installed the ProClarity software for Aramark. The product implementation was flawless, and ProClarity provided Aramark with easy-to-use user manuals.

DOCUMENTATION: The ProClarity product documentation is clear and straightforward to use. The supplied hardcopy manual and PDF were sufficient to get the system implemented properly. The product has been easy to use, and the documentation has not been needed since the first initial weeks.

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