Lone Star Steel
Even though Lone Star is the leader in its niche, particularly in terms of manufacturing and order fulfillment quality, steel is primarily a commodity and the market is extremely price-sensitive. To compete effectively and maintain its leadership position, Lone Star adopted a business model that allows it to run more efficiently than its competitors and maintain its market advantage. The model depends on the ability of Lone Star’s managers to get real-time data that will let them adjust manufacturing “on-the-fly” based on orders, inventory, factory capacity and other factors.
But Lone Star’s databases couldn’t meet the company’s detailed reporting needs. The old Prism system relied on batching data, which led to discrepancies when the same report was run at different times by different users. Some tables had been customized many times over the years, generating multiple variants, which also resulted in discrepant reports.
Even without the problem of duplicate tables, the system couldn’t provide the reporting flexibility the company required. The IT department was too busy to respond quickly to requests for new reports or queries, and only a handful of employees outside IT knew how to write queries themselves.
While upgrading the Prism system to Oracle, Lone Star realized its need for a more efficient reporting solution. There were initially about 200 reports that had to be created in the new Oracle platform. Hiring consultants to recreate each report not only would have been costly and time-consuming, but also would have required consultant or IT department involvement every time a report had to be customized.
To supplement its operational reporting requirements, Lone Star implemented the Noetix Enterprise Technology Suite. Noetix can easily map and identify data in a company’s unique configuration of Oracle Applications and repackage the resulting data objects in a set of user-friendly, plug-and-play business views. With its ability to integrate multiple data sources, translate obscure field names into ordinary business terms, and deliver reports to any Web-enabled interface, Noetix facilitates the creation and distribution of new reports.
Noetix enables Lone Star’s line of business users to easily generate new reports, pulling data from a variety of sources including inventory, purchasing and general ledger. The company is planning to implement Noetix for manufacturing and sales as well.
Each report is distributed over the company intranet into the individual folders of every employee who needs it. Noetix’s browser-based reporting tool makes it easy to check on a report from anywhere—just go to the right URL and click on the “refresh” button—and the results are always consistent. Report results can seamlessly be exported to Microsoft Excel and updated dynamically using Excel’s “Refresh Data” feature. Different employees can use the same report, yet filter it to show their own expenditures from the warehouse in order to track—day by day or even minute by minute—a specific cost center’s productivity for the month. Everyone from mill workers to senior management can get the accurate information they need, when they need it.
Lone Star can also use the reports to calculate the yield and productivity of each of its six manufacturing areas. And once the manufacturing module is implemented, it should be possible to drill down further in the productivity reports to find room for improvement – for example, to determine what caused a delay in processing an order.
Special Project Manager
Lone Star Steel
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