The Top-Down Approach

Dec. 14, 2006
Manufacturer of coated steel started deploying business intelligence at the executive level and plans to extend it to other stakeholders.

Sometimes enterprise resource planning systems can provide too much of a good thing. At least that seems to be the problem executives at Kalama, Wash.-based Steelscape Inc. were faced with. The SAP data warehouse that Steelscape, a producer of metallic-coated and custom-painted steel coils, uses provides too many fields for users to choose from, says Hector Marquez, director of business systems for Steelscape.

"It presents the user with so many options that sometimes it's hard for them to look into the same information that the other guy is looking at," relates Marquez.

In order to break the data down into a more user-friendly format, the company implemented a business intelligence (BI) solution called Artus by Atlanta-based Bitam Inc. With Artus each vice president within Steelscape can access dashboards that provide them with the most important data, according to Marquez. Now, executives can see key metrics for sales, purchasing or operations in color-coded dashboards that highlight performance in red, yellow or green.

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"It's a very VP-oriented dashboard, so it has consolidated information, giving the overall status of sales prices by regions, by sales managers and after that, once we launched it we started getting lots of requests from the managers and below for them to be able to see what their VPs are seeing."

To that end, Steelscape is in the process of sharing BI data with the company's manufacturing operations and logistics department. This will allow senior managers and those below them to answer questions that the executive level may have about certain performance indicators, Marquez says.

"By addressing the top management, we're introducing it to the whole company because the senior managers and all his director managers want it and whoever below him wants it because they're going to be asked about something or some indicator or some aspect of their work."

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Former Managing Editor

Former Managing Editor Jon Katz covered leadership and strategy, tackling subjects such as lean manufacturing leadership, strategy development and deployment, corporate culture, corporate social responsibility, and growth strategies. As well, he provided news and analysis of successful companies in the chemical and energy industries, including oil and gas, renewable and alternative.

Jon worked as an intern for IndustryWeek before serving as a reporter for The Morning Journal and then as an associate editor for Penton Media’s Supply Chain Technology News.

Jon received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Kent State University and is a die-hard Cleveland sports fan.

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