2 page Case Study - Posted 3/5/2013
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Manufacturer Boosts Performance, Improves Decision Making with New Data Warehouse
Georgia-Pacific is a leading producer of building products and paper goods for consumers worldwide. To address rapid business growth, the company’s Building Products unit needed a higher-performing, more scalable data warehouse. In response,
the firm implemented Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track data warehouse, which has greatly improved performance and provides faster and more reliable access to crucial business information. The solution also increases scalability and will offer a better view of
Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of building products, product packaging, and paper and consumer goods such as tissues, napkins, cups, and eating utensils.
One of the firm’s large divisions is the Building Products group, which produces plywood panels, lumber, chemicals, and other products used in the construction industry. A key task for this group is to effectively capture manufacturing-facility data and
deliver it to senior leaders for analysis. “Our senior leaders require solid analytical reports that provided information regarding production and inventory, orders and shipments, and how each segment is performing,” says Martin Graves, Database Technical
The existing data warehouse solution, however, did not offer the performance the company needed. “The amount of data in our Manufacturing environment was really growing, but we weren’t able to collect and analyze it quickly and get it to leadership promptly,”
says Graves. “They wanted to be able to make faster, analytical business decisions.”
Georgia-Pacific also needed a data warehouse solution that was more scalable to keep pace with growth. Graves says, “This solution can give us the flexibility to scale up or down.”
The company also sought a centralized business intelligence (BI) solution, which would bring together manufacturing data from disparate sources. “We have multiple segments within the Building Products group. To provide better overall visibility into what’s
happening in our manufacturing environment, we wanted a BI solution that would consolidate the data from all segments,” Graves says.
Georgia-Pacific started looking for a new data warehouse and BI solution in May 2011.
||With SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, our data warehouse performance is outstanding. We have seen a 37 percent increase in query performance, and larger and more complex queries are now available.
| Martin Graves
Database Technical Lead
A long-time user of Microsoft technologies, Georgia-Pacific knew it wanted to implement a Microsoft database solution. “We have used Microsoft SQL Server software for many years,” says Graves. “The reliability and pricing of Microsoft products have kept
Microsoft as our platform of choice.”
The company specifically decided to deploy Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, a solution that uses pretested reference architectures and best practices to help lower costs and boost performance.
Before deployment, the company visited the Microsoft Technology Center in Atlanta, Georgia. For several days in May 2011, Microsoft representatives led Georgia-Pacific through an Architecture Design Session about the Fast Track Data Warehouse solution.
Additionally, Microsoft helped design a centralized storage and BI system, based on SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, which combines manufacturing plant data with data from sales and other systems.
Georgia-Pacific implemented the Fast Track Data Warehouse and SQL Server 2008 R2 solution in July 2011, on HP ProLiant DL585 server computers. The solution is the primary data source for the company’s installations of SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services,
SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services, and SQL Server 2008 R2 Integration Services. Georgia-Pacific analysts use data collected in these technologies to create analytical reports.
The solution supports three databases, totaling about 750 gigabytes. Business analysts and executives receive updated product sales and customer data through Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
Once implemented, the BI solution will consolidate manufacturing plant and operational and sales data, making it visible to all internal users.
The new data warehouse solution has boosted performance and is contributing to quicker decision making at Georgia-Pacific. The solution also offers more scalability and will eventually provide a fuller view of the firm’s business.
Boosts Performance by 37 Percent
and Promotes More Informed Decisions
Thanks to implementing the new solution, Georgia-Pacific now has a better-performing, more powerful data warehouse. “With SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, our data warehouse performance is outstanding,” says Graves. “We have seen a 37 percent increase
in query performance, and larger and more complex queries are now available to many of our users.”
This means that the company’s analysts can share updated data much faster. “Our analysts can present more data to management in a shorter time frame,” Graves says. “Now, our senior leaders can compare historical sales numbers, and they can make quicker,
more-informed business decisions about their product lines.”
Increases Scalability and Flexibility
In addition, the solution gives Georgia-Pacific the ability to scale its database size up or down as needed, to support future business growth. “The SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse solution gave us the right environment for building a high-quality data
warehouse, and the technology will help us remain flexible, scalable, and quick to react to changes in the marketplace,” says Graves.
Will Provide Better Visibility into Manufacturing Data
When implemented in 2013, the new BI solution will offer Georgia-Pacific a central repository that gives employees a full view of the business. “Once the new SQL Server 2008 R2 BI solution is in place, we will have a unified view of all our manufacturing
production processes,” says Graves. “By having better visibility into manufacturing data, we’ll also have a much better view of the impact of both sales and production data on our business.”
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