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Business Intelligence Success at Biomet, Inc.

Written By: P. Catz
Published On: September 25 2001

Company   

Biomet, Inc. and its subsidiaries design, manufacture and market products used primarily by orthopedic medical specialists in both surgical and non-surgical therapy, including reconstructive and fixation devices, electrical bone growth stimulators, orthopedic support devices, operating room supplies, general surgical instruments, arthroscopy products, spinal implants, bone cements, bone substitute materials, and craniomaxillofacial implants and instruments. Biomet has corporate headquarters in Warsaw, Indiana, and manufacturing and/or office facilities in more than twenty-five locations worldwide and distributes its products in more than 100 countries.

Company Problem   

At Biomet, the drive towards customer service meant that instant access to sales information was critical. Business users and executives needed immediate and flexible access to their information to review sales shipments, revenues and margins (by product, product group/family, distributor, and customer), all over different time periods.

Critical sales information was locked away in the ERP database and was manually gathered, primarily through custom SQL queries. The process was burdensome, required detailed knowledge of the database and was time-consuming. The existing queries and reports resulted in only summary information, which raised more questions than answers. This in turn required additional queries to be developed by IT.

Solution   

Biomet launched a Business Intelligence project to provide its users with the information they demanded. Biomet found that potential solutions fell into two categories, tools and application products. "Most of the products we found were development tools. With them, we had to build our own solution, relying on our own technical staff for knowledge of our ERP system. We saw that as a long and expensive process" said Tom Orr, Biomet Project Leader. They also found some application products that provided a shrink-wrapped approach. Tom Orr explains, "It was interesting that all the demonstrations looked the same, the tool vendors were showing us what was possible with their tools while the application solutions showed us what they delivered."

Biomet licensed Vanguard Solutions Group's Graphical Performance Series (GPS), a business intelligence solution to tap into their existing ERP system. "GPS proved to be a complete application solution. It came pre-mapped to our ERP system with ready build information views for my users. I was able to install GPS, build the warehouse and have my users viewing the information all within two weeks. The new system proved very easy to use. Most users can begin using it after a 15-minute overview" states Orr.

Value   

Users now receive multi-dimensional cubes of customer and product information with the ability to sort, format, highlight exceptions, perform analysis and explore the information from multiple angles. These users include windows based users connected to the ERP system and remote, dial-up users, using a web browser.

Biomet's Business Intelligence project began providing a return on the investment to business users from the beginning. Benefits included a saving time and money, for example:

  • 320 hours compiling one quarterly report is now reduced to 2 hours per year generating monthly reports and multi-dimensional views.

  • Slashed 75% of the time required for typical financial analyst SQL development projects.

The new system also elevated opportunities, for example:

  • Users hone in on opportunities and issues quickly now that the old fixed format reports and queries have been replaced with multi-dimensional, multi-leveled OLAP views.

  • Sales results are analyzed to determine sales promotion impacts while there is time to react.

"The users are able to perform deeper analysis", says Tom Orr. "I give them a GPS cube and they are able to do their analysis without coming back to the Information Technologies department. Information is now a mouse click away!"

 
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