These are three critical areas for manufacturers in the current economic climate as they seek new business insights to help re-think factory decisions, prioritize initiatives that maximize customer service, and increase visibility to their global supply chains.

Prior to the implementation, GP Batteries used a spreadsheet-based reporting process which required manual data entry and took as long as two weeks to pull sales forecasting information manually through the spreadsheets. By the time the reports were delivered to the management team, the data was already out of date. With headquarters in Hong Kong, production facilities in the North and South-East Asia region, and sales offices in major cities worldwide, the co-ordination between manufacturing and sales was adversely affected, which in turn caused operational inefficiencies.

To support its long term growth, GP Batteries recognized it required new abilities to transform data from disparate spreadsheets into relevant and timely business information for consistent execution of decision-making across manufacturing, sales and all other departments as market conditions change. Following the evaluation of the offerings from IBM and other companies including Microsoft and Oracle, GP Batteries turned to IBM for an advanced performance management system in a single platform consisting of IBM Cognos 8 BI, Cognos TM1 and Cognos 8 Controller running on four IBM System x3650 servers.

With the new business insights gained, GP batteries will be able to improve its sales planning and forecasting capabilities by translating the results of “what-if” scenario planning, forecasting and business modeling into action plans to maintain organizational agility. They will be able to drill down to the store-keeping unit (SKU) level in real-time, as well as review a dashboard of cross-business performance indicators.

In addition, the improvements to the company’s financial reporting capability — with integrated information from data collection to financial consolidation and output — will help the financial and accounting team close the books faster.

“Our standardization on IBM software for performance management will help improve the strategic decision making across the organization and streamline our external reporting and compliance processes,” said Michael Wong, Director of Information Technology (MIS department), GP Batteries.

“The IBM Cognos team has been able to provide a single vendor solution for the whole performance management suite, eliminating the need for us to communicate with different vendors and the complexity of having to integrate several different solutions. They understood our business needs and have been working closely with us to meet our requirements,” he added.

As a result of the implementation, GP Batteries has also been able to deploy their staff more effectively to manage all IT requirements.

“Companies now recognize the need to use information more effectively in order to successfully compete in today’s dynamic and challenging global economy,” said Cindy Cheng, Executive, Cognos, Software Group, IBM China/Hong Kong Limited. “As leading multinational companies like GP Batteries manage their headquarters, manufacturing plants and sales offices across multiple locations and time zones, they are seeking smarter ways to leverage information to improve their organizational effectiveness and competitiveness, as well as to capture new opportunities in these challenging times.”