Wood Distributor Shaves Inefficiencies with IBI Solution
July 13, 2010 Alex Woodie
Canadian wood products distributor Goodfellow has gained new insight into its i/OS-resident business data and further honed its just-in-time approach to managing the supply chain as the result of a new business intelligence application based on the WebFOCUS technology from Information Builders (IBI), the vendor announced last week.
As a wholesaler and distributor of wood and wood by-products, Goodfellow understands it is subject to seasonal swings in demand. Nobody builds in the north in the winter, for example. But when the recent North American housing boom came to a screeching halt–and the associated demand for building materials with it–the Quebec company was able to weather the downturn better than others, an advantage that Information Builders attributes in part to Goodfellow’s better reporting and BI capabilities.
Before implementing WebFOCUS, the $500-million (Canadian) company’s IT department was responsible for building queries from the company’s various iSeries applications, and serving those reports to Goodfellow managers, who would make critical business decisions, such as how much finished wood siding to keep on hand to satisfy expected demand.
As it is so often the case at so many companies, Goodfellow’s IT staffers were overwhelmed with user requests for reports, and as a result it consumed much of their time, which can almost always be better spent doing something else.
So Goodfellow installed WebFOCUS (which IBM also sells as DB2 Web Query) as a way to speed the distribution of reports, as well as empowering users to explore information on their own. The company’s IT staff is still responsible for creating standard reports for business functions like shipping, accounts payable, accounts receivables, and orders. But the WebFOCUS dashboards make it easier and intuitive for more advanced users to customize their views of the data and make good decisions based on it than they could before.
Goodfellow IT director Graham Rattray says the IBI software has been a success. “WebFOCUS helps us access, analyze, and distribute information throughout our company a hundred times better than we could do before,” he says in a press release. In particular, the software has helped the company maintain precise inventory levels and record accurate sales information, he says.
IBI president and CEO Gerald Cohen says WebFOCUS could have made the difference between whether Goodfellow survived or thrived as a result of the economic downturn. “Many building supply companies were forced to shut their doors, but Goodfellow learned how to maximize efficiency to keep its business afloat,” Cohen says in a press release. “Thanks to its unique BI environment, Goodfellow will emerge from the economic recession in a position of strength.”
WebFOCUS runs on i/OS, z/OS, Windows, Linux, and Unix. For more information, see www.informationbuilders.com.