Automaker revs up reporting with BI platform

Reporting times fall from six days to two hours

Automotive manufacturer MTU Detroit Diesel Australia (MTUDDA) has implemented a new Business Intelligence (BI) platform to improve communication between its 19 remote sites and 110 nationwide dealers.

The company distributes diesel engines, automatic transmissions, and aftermarket products across the Asia Pacific. It represents brands including MTU, Detroit Diesel, Mercedes-Benz, Lombardini and Mobil.

The company's finance and accounting manager Steven Delianachi said the project stalled when its initial project consultant deployed the new system over its data warehouse, which pulled information from its restrictive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system ASW.

"The partner we used was not accredited by Cognos Services, nor were the consultants Cognos Academy Certified," Delianchi said.

"The legacy system [has] major limitations. Our long-term strategy is to replace ASW, but until this happens we wanted to improve our current reporting structure to unlock the full potential of Cognos BI."

According to Delianchi, it took up to six days for the company's financial reports to reach executives and remote offices, which were compiled and distributed manually.

Access to reports, which were stored on compact discs, was difficult and wasted space, even though the system was implemented four years ago to replace an archaic paper-based system.

"It took up to one-and-a-half days to prepare, run and check reports when we closed the books each month. We then used to print, bind and send the reports out to all the various decision makers, which took up to four-and-a-half days," Delianachi said.

"We recognized the need to start a change management process on how our people thought about the business."

MTUDDA deployed Cognos Solutions Implementation Methodology templates with the BI platform to speed up implementation, and used Cognos Training to brief the systems' 50 users on the Web-based reporting portal.

Delianachi said the time to create and distribute reports has dropped from from six days to two hours, and hardware operation costs have decreased due to more efficient storage systems.

Reporting is more accurate because the Web portal's privilege system restricts data modification.

MTUDDA IT Manager, Greg Trevena, said the company will expand the system to facilitate 70 users within 12 months.

He said the platform will be extended into other company departments, outside of finance, while the ERP system will be ditched to facilitate balanced scorecarding.

The company evaluated solutions from Cognos, Business Objects and Oracle.

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