AT A GLANCE
- Precision Parts
- A need for an automated and easier reporting system
- Epicor ERP, Epicor Business Intelligence
- Monitor KPIs easily
- Increase visibility across the business
- Gain better customer satisfaction
- Improve sales
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The choice of Epicor’s Business Intelligence has given Precision Parts the ability to ad-hoc analyse reports to make strategic decisions by mapping and monitoring data against defined KPIs.
Precision Parts is an all-Australian company based in Wagga Wagga NSW, Australia and is the market leader in harmonic balancer manufacturing. A harmonic balancer is a device connected to the crankshaft of an engine to reduce torsional vibration.
COGITA worked with Precision Parts implementing Epicor ERP, which went live in October 2006. During implementation of Epicor ERP, COGITA’s consultants recommended the Epicor Business Intelligence tool based on the needs and expectations Precision Parts had formulated.
The knowledge and experience that COGITA’s consultants showed through the demonstration process combined with the real need for an automated and easier reporting system, made Business Intelligence and COGITA the best solution for Precision Parts.
From an investment perspective, Precision Parts bought only minimal “writer” licenses and more “reader” licenses.
The Business Intelligence tool was initially purchased because of the Balanced Scorecard. Without Business Intelligence, Precision Parts would likely have remained with Excel as their reporting tool. Some of their reporting may have been achieved through Epicor ERP dashboards, however, to use the dashboards effectively, a more powerful computer and more resource would have been required to generate the results. Business Intelligence on the other hand does the processing overnight in a scheduled update so does not draw down on system resources like the online dashboards.
Epicor’s Business Intelligence gives the ability to ad hoc analyse reports to make strategic decisions on the underlying data, mapping and monitoring those against defined KPIs. For ownership or finance users, it is about creating high level KPIs that can be tracked and managed through visual snapshot dashboards with the ability to view high level but drill right through to the underlying data.
Business Intelligence creates an immediate view of the business and provides “time” during the month to act upon that information rather than waiting for the monthly reports by which time it may be too late. Rolling through the business each departmental head has interactive dashboards for their specific KPIs. Epicor’s Business Intelligence is a tool to monitor and analyse KPIs rather than track reports. By setting alerts and pre-defined metrics, whether that is projected cash flow or parts in stock the KPI owner is aware immediately.
Analysis and happy customers
Precision Parts’ main objective was to obtain simple reports to analyse and provide meaningful data to the Board of Directors. The “emphasis is on analysis rather than reporting”, says Daryl Day, Managing Director.
Reports can be run from anywhere anytime. This has made things a lot easier for Ken Reynolds, Founder of the company and currently a board director. Ken only wants to know a couple of key things – lost sales, budgeted sales, order intake. All the information he needs is just a mouse click away. Three reports are all he needs to clearly understand where the business is at, anytime.
The ability to track and record the cause of claims is a great benefit of Epicor’s Business Intelligence. With 45 reasons code and many warranty codes available to flag against a transaction, Business Intelligence can help understand the claim issue, the return products and therefore reduce casting faults. Customer service can then speak knowledgeably to the customer.
A number of statistics can be issued; this helps to put the complaint into perspective for the customers and takes some heat out of the discussion. The customer service representative is then able to discuss with the client the available options.
Epicor’s Business Intelligence produces very simple reports to quickly analyse the production line and schedule it better, instantly. Individual resources know exactly what is on their list to do and what is coming next. Reducing the manufacturing lead time was clearly stated as one of the objectives when implementing Business Intelligence. By tracking when a job starts and finishes in different areas of the factory, Precision Parts has been able to reduce the manufacturing lead time in one of their areas by 1/3 representing a reduction of 7 to 10 days. In another smaller area, the lead time has halved down to 3 or 4 days.
Other reports in the production are helping track supplier performance used for international products coming in from China and Taiwan and for local suppliers, putting Precision Parts in a stronger position when negotiating contracts.
Included in the KPIs is tracking what the mean average stock should be in the warehouse against the actual mean average stock. Knowing of any discrepancies, Precision Parts then take whatever measures are needed to get the stock average back in line.
A specific objective for Precision Parts was to grow sales in certain territories so a Business Intelligence analysis was created to show how they are tracking by territory and against their plan.
“The main challenge with getting Epicor’s Business Intelligence operational was time and resources,“says Day. “It took us 12 months to get Epicor’s Business Intelligence where it is now and our return through realised benefits has definitely more than covered that upfront investment. Knowing what you want to see as outputs and what is going into Epicor ERP as inputs, understanding the raw data and the ERP skeleton is key to generating good analyses.
“We would definitely recommend BI to other people – but you have to understand the need to allocate time and resources into creating the reports. Not having Epicor ERP knowledge you won’t maximize the benefits from Business Intelligence.” says Day.