The Hillman Group’s “killer” business intelligence application from Information Builders yields $131,000 savings in two months

Business Intelligence Network™ Research Report Cites Success of Hardware Supplier’s WebFOCUS Operational and GIS-Based BI Tools and Plans for Predictive BI Model

NEW YORK, NY, May 9, 2007 -- Information Builders, the leader in production business intelligence (BI) solutions, today announced that The Hillman Group, a top supplier of hardware items and a manufacturer and distributor of key duplication and engraving systems, has achieved significant ROI in only two months with its WebFOCUS application. The company plans to roll out a predictive business intelligence system in the coming year. [Editor’s Note: Background and ROI figures were reported in the Business Intelligence Network’s 2007 research report: Using Operational Business Intelligence for Intra-Day Analysis and Decision Making, available at]

Founded in 1964, Hillman is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has more than 1,800 employees, including 675 direct sales and service people. The company’s annual revenues have quadrupled over the past 10 years, with revenue in 2005 of $383 million. The company has 12 distribution centers in North America with customers spanning home centers to grocery chains.

In 1995, Hillman determined that future revenue and product growth would be driven by acquisition. To prepare for this growth and improve information delivery, they needed to update legacy technology and integrate disparate systems. Hillman chose WebFOCUS as its enterprise BI standard given its simple and direct access to live real-time data housed in disparate transaction systems through Information Builders’ iWay adapters. It was also the least expensive solution and included development and implementation support to further assure a fast ramp up.

“The goal was to implement an enterprise portal with BI as the ‘killer application’ to provide business value and drive user acceptance,” commented Jim Honerkamp, vice president and CIO of IT, The Hillman Group. “The most important success factor was getting the executive group to buy into the new WebFOCUS portal and trust the data presented. It all seemed too good to be true.”

Within two years, Hillman has begun Release 3 of its BI platform and applications. Its operational BI solution is a virtual data warehouse with an integrated view of operational and financial data. More than 800 users, including 500 remote employees, access WebFOCUS reports via their browser and can easily conduct queries, change formats, drill down, and export data. Hillman also implemented a geographic information system (GIS)-based BI application, which displays its 12 distribution centers, overlays with UPS zone maps, and includes upcoming product shipment data.

Benefits and ROI

Hillman’s killer WebFOCUS application has sped decision-making based on real-time data, empowered business users, and helped managers better identify and address problems. WebFOCUS’ GIS integration has enabled cost-effective decisions about shipments. Hillman has already realized hard-dollar returns by being able to rebut vendor fines when accused of sending an incomplete order. For a recent two-month period, Hillman used the BI fill-rate reporting system to analyze instances to prove that it had not short-shipped, saving $131,000 in fines.

“Hillman has demonstrated the enormous progress a company can make in a short time if it is willing to honestly assess business problems and take the steps necessary to make changes,” said Gerald Cohen, CEO of Information Builders. “By optimizing the functionality in WebFOCUS, an innovative BI platform suited to accommodate growth, Hillman will continue to distinguish itself in an increasingly competitive industry, while realizing significant returns on its BI investment.”

Predictive BI and More on the Horizon

This year, Hillman will move beyond first-generation, reactive BI applications to predictive BI. The company’s current BI analysis and reporting focuses on supply-chain business indicators, including revenues, orders, and freight cost. With a more predictive model, the company will be able to react to leading indicators such as raw-material costs before a negative impact on lagging indicators such as product margin occurs. The company is also expanding its GIS-based analysis and reporting to aid the field service team and minimize drive time and fuel costs.

About The Hillman Group

Based in Cincinnati, OH, The Hillman Group sells to hardware stores, home centers, pet suppliers, mass merchants, and other retail outlets principally in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America. Their product line includes thousands of small parts such as fasteners and related hardware items, keys, key duplication systems, and identification items, such as tags, letters, numbers and signs. Hillman provides services including design and installation of merchandizing systems and maintenance of appropriate in-store inventory levels.

About Information Builders

Information Builders, an innovator for more than 30 years, makes the most widely deployed business intelligence (BI) solution and is the leader in production BI. WebFOCUS, the company's flagship product, is a comprehensive and fully integrated business intelligence platform whose architecture and simplicity permeate every level of the extended enterprise – executive, analytical, and operational. Developed with all users in mind – regardless of technical skills – it is the most secure and flexible solution in the market, helping organizations build applications that have no barriers, and scale from a dozen to hundreds of thousands of users. Information Builders is the only vendor to offer its own integration solution with iWay Software. The seamless integration with WebFOCUS creates unrivaled access to any information source.

Information Builders' award-winning technology has successfully provided quality software and superior services to more than 12,000 customers, including most of the Fortune 100 and U.S. federal government agencies. Headquartered in New York City with 90 offices worldwide, the company employs 1,500 people and has more than 350 business partners.

Information Builders
Kathleen Moran, 212-736-4433

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