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Benetton Sportsystem Discovers Advantages
of Desktop Data Analysis Using DI-Diver


Benetton Sportsystem (BSS), headquartered in Bordentown, NJ, maintains raw data on an AS/400, runs DI-Atlantis on Windows NT, and users access information from Windows 98 clients using DI-Diver. They use Dimensional Insight architecture to look at corporate data(open orders, SKU level inventory, shipment dollars, margins, net billings, Sales Rep commissions, warehouse transactions, warehouse performance, etc.) for five brands: Prince, Rollerblade, Nordica, Ektelon, and Killer Loop.

 

Square Peg in a Round Hole


BSS started with one brand, Prince. When they began to include a number of brands, they realized that each additional brand caused a new set of reporting requirements. The IT Department built on existing Prince reports, which greatly increased programming time because they had to merge businesses that had been run differently for years. As the company expanded, they knew they needed something that was flexible enough to fulfill different reporting requirements, and also allow BSS to look at all corporate data in a consistentformat.

 

Teach a Person to Fish


Lon Burke, Applications Manager, maintains about 20 DI-Data Models to support 100 users. The Models contain two years worth of product information and are updated nightly. Models, accessible by the DI-Diver client, categorize information by where the sale was made, the brand, and the salesperson responsible for the account. Products are broken down by units, sell price, list price, and cost. Users may create columns for their own calculations. Models also contain customer address information and products by the brand (such as Prince), the category of the product (footwear, strings, machines, racquets), and the model and size, down to the SKU level. “They can see that whole structure. They can go down to the order number for a customer. Salespeople connect to the network and there’s a download process that sends data which only pertains to them.” says Burke. “It helps the end user because they don't have to wait for us, and we don't have to be bombarded with ad-hoc report requests.”

 

“Change is Bad”


“‘Diving into the data’ is something new for our users, but that’s been alleviated by the fact
that DI-Diver is so easy to use. People go in who haven’t used it before and pull up the exact
data they want. I tell them to believe in the data they are seeing in DI-Diver, and most people
are comfortable with that,” says Burke.

“One of my biggest obstacles was reproducing reports just as they looked when they were printed from the AS/400,” explains Burke, “but even that issue can be addressed through the use of the data extracts used to build Diver models.” Cosmo Digneo, Manager of Financial Analysis and Planning, says, “Actually, it’s much easier now, it’s a lot less paper than before. There’s more information than we used to receive on paper.”

 

Sales and Marketing


A common use for Sales and Marketing is to access shipment and open order information. It’s important for the sales team to be able to see orders day to day, in real time, and have the ability to look at products at the SKU level. “Sales Representatives in the field analyze account activity to determine what they have to do next for a given account or sales program,” explains Toula Zotos, Director of Sales Administration. “They use DI-Diver to find what should be selling where. Twice a year they have booking programs for the next season's product. For Prince, in particular, a very small percentage is from advance booking, and a larger portion is from normal fill-in business, which goes directly into Customer Service. DI-Diver allows the Sales Reps to see what's been happening with a given account either under an entire brand or a particular product category within that brand.”

 

Finance


Finance is usually interested in shipment dollars and cost. In the past, BSS ran a Net Billings paper report once a month, which would list products that were shipped and returned. The report would be 500 pages long. “Now, with DI-Diver we can get to the same information and it’s much smaller, easier, and quicker to get to than printing out reports,” explains Cosmo Digneo. “The Net Billings report – the paper version – would only run at the month’s end. If we needed to look at something during the month, it would be a special request to Lon.”

“I dive on financial information, but I also have access to information that our sales side sees, such as open orders, and our inventory position. If something looks a little off comparing to last year or last month, such as actual shipments versus a projection or budget, I will dive further into the product group level to see if it’s a specific model of product that is driving the difference. With DI-Diver, we do projections throughout the year,” says Digneo. When Cosmo is looking at a DI-Diver Net Billings report, he can see on his screen what was shipped for the current year. From there, he has the opportunity to investigate product lines and orders over time. “We can also look at it from the brand level for Prince, Rollerblade, Nordica, Ektelon, and Killer Loop. If overall Prince is behind projection or looks behind or ahead from last year, that’s when I’ll dive further down to racquets and down to model levels. DI-Diver gives us a lot more access to information that would have taken at least a day to get to before via paper reports off the AS/400.”

 

Other Departments


In addition to Finance, and Sales & Marketing, Diver is also used by the Inventory Requirements Planning department, Customer Service, and the Credit department. IRP has the ability to view information about purchase orders and can display actual inventory levels. Customer Service uses DI-Diver to track shipping performance. The Credit Department uses DI-Diver to view customer A/R aging figures. Each department has their own specific needs, and Diver is able to provide a solution.

 

Corporate Usage


“The Vice Presidents for our five major brands recently projected sales for the next quarter,” explains Digneo. “We take the last four months of actuals (shipped and open orders from January through the end of April, for example) and projected sales from May through December. Sometimes there are questions. DI-Diver is good for double-checking the details of projections. If a model of racquet was projected by a sales Rep to only sell 1,000 units, and YTD April Shipped and Open is already 2,000 units, the first question is about the Sales Rep’s projection, because it seems too low. The flip side is finding a Sales Rep’s projection of 10,000 units, when only 50 have been shipped.

ROI


“Time is being saved because before we had to manually input pieces of data to a spreadsheet. Now the data is available on DI-Diver, and there is no need to create a spreadsheet. If time is money, we're saving money. On that same note, the IT department is saving programming costs with regard to ad hoc reporting; he doesn’t have to run a report every time we have a thought,” explains Zotos.

“I know the Rep mailings that we did with paper, not only the cost of the paper, but also the cost
of postage, it was an incredible amount of money. One year of fedexing paper and mailings is
probably over the price of the original product. We definitely won,” says Burke.
Technical Support and Training

“Technical support has been great. The problems I’ve had have been minimal. Nothing has
come close to stopping operation, but anytime something did come up, response was very fast.
I’ve never been disappointed with technical support,” says Burke.
“We have to train more user's at all levels to think in DI-Diver terms. As a result of a recent
meeting, we started to prepare in-house, customized training. It’s easier for people who
understand DI-Diver to communicate and share data with each other,” explains Zotos.

 

Future Plans


In the future, Burke is planning on reporting, using DI-Diver, sales and inventory data based on
the rules of BSS’s parent company in Italy. He will incorporate their management procedures when determining those sales and inventory figures.

Burke plans to integrate Dimensional Insight’s Mapping feature, which will give users the ability to display geographic data, such as City, State, Zip, or County, in the form of a map.
When users click on the actual items of interest on the map, DI-Diver will display more detailed
information.

BSS will also be upgrading to DiveLine, a Dimensional Insight product that provides better security and administration capabilities, and unified access for all types of users.

Copyright 2008. Inroads Ltd, Hong Kong.