Plano Molding has been supplying outdoor enthusiasts with equipment protection and storage solutions since 1952. They are the market-leading makers of tackle boxes, stowaways, gun cases, and plastic molded products.
With products, locations, and divisions spanning the globe, Plano needed a business intelligence solution to help them unify the company vision and ensure a single world view for all employees. The company adopted a reporting application that came with a bag of promises it simply couldn’t live up to. Overall, it required too much maintenance as a system and hand-holding for any employees outside of IT attempting to use it.
Plano was on the hunt for a BI platform that met the needs of Plano employees in every department when technology consulting firm Sikich recommended TARGIT Decision Suite.
“We had looked ... a number of other options,” says Mel Heckman, Director of Business Intelligence at Plano Molding. “TARGIT just had everything we were looking for.”
After a smooth implementation process, Plano started with sales and inventory data before fully pulling in finance and purchasing to become the company’s one, fully integrated BI and reporting system. TARGIT Decision Suite pulls data directly into cubes from internal data sources—AS/400 Oracle system—and external data sources—such as desktop Excel files—and integrates them into the data warehouse multiple times a day.
One customer, one view
Plano Molding continues to expand rapidly, and depends on TARGIT Decision Suite to help them seamlessly fold in every company acquisition as they happen. With acquisitions happening multiple times per year, this is a major project. Each company that is acquired comes with their own ERP system that is incapable of communicating with Plano’s own back-end ERP system. This made it impossible to be gain a full view of profitability across the board unless spreadsheets were merged by hand. This was time consuming, prone to human error, and static.
So Plano has implemented what they call One Customer One View. Employees use TARGIT Decision Suite to pull in all company data from newly acquired companies’ back-end systems such as QuickBooks, Great Planes, and other ERP systems, and mash it up with the data in Plano’s JD Edwards system to provide a single world view of the enterprise.
The company’s future plan is to use TARGIT Decision Suite to evaluate all acquisitions before they happen. In the same way Plano is now predicting the future with TARGIT’s “What If” functionality for product pricing and customer negotiations, the company plans to pull in all of an acquisition candidate’s data and place it on top of Plano’s own internal company data to analyze how the potential acquisitions could impact the business before it happens.
“We can see how an acquisition will affect the books down to a precise level before they sign on the dotted line,” says Heckman. “Twenty to 30 hours of ETL effort to get the data from a potential acquisition’s system can make the difference of $30 to 50 million. Making sense of acquisitions at this level with these analyses is huge.”
The BI Journey
“We’re still relatively early in our BI journey, but all the users who have grabbed hold of TARGIT and started to run with it are just enamored by the product and its ease of use,” says Heckman. “The ad-hoc capabilities and data drill-downs without having to go back to IT to ask for little tweaks make a huge difference.”
Today, Plano is progressing along their BI journey by focusing on changing the company culture around data. “This is a better way of looking at reporting and data analysis,” explains Heckman. “What’s helped most with spreading TARGIT adoption is that it’s really easy to use. You give them TARGIT with no training and they can work their way around it. Give them a little guidance and all of a sudden they can run with it and do some crazy stuff.”
Plano’s sales department uses TARGIT Decision Suite intimately every day. One of the most powerful capabilities TARGIT delivers to sales is the ability to see time. In other words, employees can instantly open an analysis to instantly see how the business is doing year over year, month over month, week over week, and even day over day.
Previously, Plano did not have the same level of instant insight into how products were selling. This alone has been a game changer. With TARGIT Decision Suite’s mobile client, sales members can pull up dashboards, reports, and analyses while on the road and visiting customers.
Wealth of knowledge
Overall, Plano Molding has been incredibly happy with the company’s BI strategy with TARGIT. And the business value extends beyond powerful technology. TARGIT provides access and relationships with BI specialists throughout the entirety of an organization’s BI project.
“The real sell is the technical people,” says Heckman. “The experiences we’ve had with the technical people have been great. Boe [TARGIT Chief Solutions Architect] came in and got us up and running in a financial cube in approximately a week. That’s all we needed. He pushed us in the right directions and then we had the skill sets to move forward.”
Indeed, TARGIT doesn’t just stop at TARGIT.
“The wealth of experience in TARGIT transcends just TARGIT,” Heckman concludes. “They have an incredible wealth of knowledge of BI in general.”