Innocor, Inc. Gets Comfortable with Modern BI Tools
Find modern BI tools that could both speed up and expand financial and supply chain reporting
Implement Preferred Strategies QuickLaunch™ for Microsoft® Power BI
QuickLaunch has transformed how Innocor business users interact with data by enabling self-service BI
Innocor, Inc. strives to make the world a more comfortable place with their proven, innovative foam solutions. For more than 60 years, the company has been developing and producing advanced foam technologies for commercial and retail channels. Innocor’s foam solutions are used in bedding, mattresses, acoustics, auto/transportation, furniture, marine, medical, packaging, and other markets.
Running at the Speed of Business
Innocor runs a hosted JD Edwards ERP system, serving both the Innocor Comfort and Innocor Foam Technologies businesses. The company was using legacy enterprise performance management (EPM) software and reporting tools that just couldn’t keep up with their increasing demands for more—and more sophisticated—reporting and analytics. For example, Innocor had a month-to-date and year-to-date trial balance report running in JDE that not only took up to eight hours to complete, but also brought the system to its knees during close.
Analysts were maintaining tables and updating Excel spreadsheets manually. Some reports took weeks to complete, and were limited in scope due to the difficulty of accessing data. Management and business users couldn’t easily look at different angles or analyze “what if” scenarios. Innocor needed modern reporting and analytics tools that could move at the speed of their business.
Finding the Right Solution
Toward this goal, Innocor began to evaluate solutions. Microsoft® Dynamics CRM was already in use at the company, making Microsoft Power BI—full-featured, easy to use, and readily available—a logical choice as a visualization tool.
Connecting a visualization tool to JDE data, however, is no simple task. The Innocor team first became aware of Preferred Strategies at COLLABORATE 2017, and the complete solution became clear. QuickLaunch translates complex JDE data fields into business-friendly names, and includes dozens of pre-built reports and templates that produce many of the KPI dashboards management teams require. Innocor worked together closely with Preferred Strategies to implement Preferred Strategies™ QuickLaunch for Microsoft® Power BI.
Faster Financial Reporting Right out of the Box
Just a few days into the initial proof of concept phase of the project, the finance group was already running the trial balance report using QuickLaunch and Power BI. They were so comfortable with the new tools, producing reports in minutes that used to take hours or even days, that they told the ERP team “don’t even think about taking this away.” Because implementation of QuickLaunch and Power BI was so quick and easy, valuable consulting and IT time could be spent creating and refining reports for production. With the new tools, the breadth and speed of financial reporting dramatically increased, freeing up capacity in the job scheduler.
Increased User Engagement
The new initiative also had the result of expanding business user engagement in the company’s master data management (MDM) project. Now that users could easily access data through Power BI and do interesting things with that data, it became more important to them to improve data quality, for example consolidating redundant codes and cleaning up the address book. QuickLaunch and Power BI have also given Innocor more visibility into their underlying JDE system, exposing areas that require attention and driving optimization.
Because the new tools were so intuitive and easy to use, there was quick adoption during the initial beta period which only accelerated once the QuickLaunch for JDE and Power BI solution officially went live—a process that took just six weeks. Now the entire finance group, most business analysts, and plant accountants across the organization rely on QuickLaunch and Power BI to perform their day-to-day work. Users create and publish reports and dashboards to the internal SharePoint system where management and other users can review and interact with them on demand. And because the reports and dashboards are automatically updated, everyone trusts they are looking at the latest version of the data.
“For us, the ease of use of these tools and resulting user adoption was the key to success,” said Bill Lange, Director of ERP Applications for Innocor. “With QuickLaunch and Power BI our teams are able to produce more—and more valuable—reports and dashboards in dramatically less time.”
With the efficiencies and improvements in financial reporting, the company decided to extend the QuickLaunch and Power BI solution to other areas of the business. Using QuickLaunch and Power BI, analysts are able to calculate EBITDA at the plant level to better understand individual plant efficiency against more granular measures such labor, machine time, etc.
Innocor has also been able to use QuickLaunch and Power BI to combine other data sources, such as competitive pricing information, with their JD Edwards data to analyze pricing and customer “Stickiness.”
Next up, the company plans to bring the QuickLaunch and Power BI solution to Quality Control and Inventory Pricing. “It’s almost become an addiction,” said Bill Lange. “Everything is being solved with QuickLaunch and Power BI!”
Saving Time, Saving Money
In summary, QuickLaunch for JD Edwards and Power BI have allowed Innocor to sunset a number of legacy systems resulting in significant cost savings, plus streamlined IT maintenance. The solution enables faster and more accurate reporting and analytics, giving business users and management greater insight into their business than ever before.