California-based VIZIO is the number-one seller of LCD televisions in the United States. To keep up with business growth, the company sought new technology to help forecast sales and manage the supply chain. VIZIO implemented a Microsoft master
data solution that offers more accurate, timely product data and improves the company’s forecasting ability. The solution also saves VIZIO U.S.$100,000 each year and gives employees familiar Microsoft-based data management tools.
VIZIO is a leading producer of high-definition televisions (HDTVs), Blu-ray disk players, home theater systems, and other consumer electronics. The company has annual sales of $2.5 billion.
||With SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services, our data quality is significantly better. With more accurate data, our product and sales forecasts will be better, and our sales will be higher.
| Pete Girgis
Vice President of IT
Over the past seven years, VIZIO has experienced significant business growth. To keep up with this growth, the company needed a more sophisticated forecast and price management approach. “We have to be able to forecast the right product at the right place and
time to increase our sales,” says Pete Girgis, Vice President of IT, VIZIO.
However, this was difficult because the firm’s existing SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system did not provide optimal planning management and forecasting. Also, the company wanted to gain more from its Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software environment.
“It took significant manual effort to enter product data into spreadsheets,” says Girgis. “We also had a limited ability to track changes from historical data.”
The ERP system, meanwhile, was populated with critical data from disparate databases. Girgis says, “All of our master data—such as detailed specifications on our televisions, supplier and customer contact information, and supply tracking—came from different
sources. That often meant inaccurate data, duplicate records, and multiple points of failure.”
For VIZIO, that resulted in a credibility gap with customers. “If we tell our customers we’ll ship a certain quantity of LCD televisions by a certain date and that doesn’t happen, that’s a big problem for our business,” says Girgis.
To improve its forecast and data accuracy, make processes more scalable, and reduce multiple manual entry points, VIZIO began looking for a new master data solution in November 2011.
At first, VIZIO evaluated solutions from several vendors, including SAP and Microsoft. Ultimately, the company chose Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise data management software. “Microsoft offers excellent products with a great total cost of ownership,”
says Girgis. “We were very confident in our decision.”
Starting in early 2012, VIZIO began implementing a new central master data solution based on SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. The solution uses SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services to enforce supply chain management processes and validations, while providing
VIZIO with up-to-date, accurate master data. The solution also includes the SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services Add-In for Excel. Using this tool, VIZIO employees can collect product, supplier, and customer data and publish it to the central database from
within Microsoft Excel 2010.
The solution currently has 15 primary users who input and maintain master data and 30 secondary users who consume the data. Eventually, many more VIZIO employees will use the solution.
VIZIO will also likely implement SQL Server 2012 Data Quality Services, which profiles, cleanses, and matches data. Additionally, the company plans to use SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services for improved data analysis capabilities.
The SQL Server 2012 solution gives VIZIO more accurate, timely master data and improves the company’s ability to forecast. VIZIO also saves $100,000 each year and the company’s workers can take advantage of familiar Microsoft tools.
Provides More Accurate Data and Better Forecasting Ability
With SQL Server 2012, VIZIO now has a centralized solution for managing its master data. SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services gives the company more accurate, updated data on product specifications and supplier information while eliminating the previous
multiple points of failure. The company also has a better ability to track changes from historical data. “With SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services, our data quality is significantly better,” says Girgis. “With more accurate data, our product and sales forecasts
will be better, and our sales will be higher.”
VIZIO also expects to be more competitive. “Our ability to be proactive and flexible when it comes to pricing our products is what differentiates us from our competitors,” states Girgis. “The SQL Server 2012 solution will help us be more proactive in making
aggressive pricing moves, so we can be more competitive.”
Saves $100,000 Annually
VIZIO will also save money because the new solution improves the efficiency of the company’s master data management processes. “Having better data and a reduced reliance on manual processes will translate into large dollar savings in our supply chain, because
we can be more consistent in understanding the accuracy and timeliness of our data,” Girgis says. “We will definitely save $100,000 a year, and probably more than that, as a result.”
Once the full solution is implemented, including SQL Server 2012 Data Quality Services and SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services, VIZIO expects to eventually save millions of dollars by further improving supply chain efficiency. “Our business is about moving
volumes of products, and the ability to reduce even one day out of our supply chain will result in millions of dollars saved,” says Girgis.
Increases Efficiency with Familiar Data Management Tools
Using the SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services Add-In for Excel, VIZIO workers can take advantage of familiar tools to access and manage master data from directly within Excel 2010. “VIZIO is a heavy user of Microsoft Excel 2010. The SQL Server 2012 Master
Data Services Add-In for Excel was one of the main reasons we implemented this solution,” says Girgis. “Our employees can now have fast access to master data through Excel, and that familiarity will make them much more efficient in managing data.”
Girgis adds that the combination of SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services, Data Quality Services, and Analysis Services will give the company a strategic advantage it lacked before. “With Microsoft SQL Server 2012, VIZIO has the technology to improve forecast
accuracy and to migrate from a tactically focused forecasting team to one that is more analytical,” Girgis says. “It positions us very well for the future.”
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