Associated Foods is a full-service wholesale distributor to 600 independently owned supermarkets and retailers for the western region of the U.S. They provide distribution, real estate analysis, market research, store engineering and more.
For years, Associated Foods struggled with reporting in Oracle E-Business Suite. A few frustrated users joined together to launch a program to find a robust reporting solution that could meet their needs and get them out of their cumbersome manual processes.
After implementing Hubble, Associated Foods:
- Cut reporting time by 50% by eliminating 30 hours of manual work per month
- Provided one single, real-time view for their Corporate Stores Report, which used to be a multi-tab manual report created in Excel
- Rolled out the reports to the business in a user-friendly fashion, for the whole business to turn information into insights
- Created an ability for end users to easily filter and manipulate reports on the fly
Associated Foods struggles to see meaningful information
In 2008, Associated Foods purchased Oracle E-Business Suite as their ERP. The reporting tools provided by Oracle proved difficult almost immediately. Even the most basic reports, like their quarterly Corporate Stores Report, were requiring a lot of manual effort and time that the finance department just didn’t have.
When Brad Forsberg joined Associated Foods as the Division Controller in 2009, he saw how badly the team was struggling to get meaningful information. He knew there was more data available in Oracle then they currently had visibility to, so he created a custom solution to reach other tables. However, it turned out that solution wasn’t scalable. Consolidations or filtering was out of the question, and it was very rare that they received the business information they needed in a format they could use.
“We were spending all our time exporting text documents into Excel and manipulating reports month after month. We had no way to really analyze the data. I felt like a report writer.” – Brad Forsberg, Division Controller
Associated Foods chooses Hubble: A single, real-time information source
Although the custom solution Brad built didn’t provide the business everything they needed, it opened up everyone’s eyes to the fact that there has to be a better way than native Oracle reports. As a result, a few passionate users got together to launch a program to find a robust, third-party real-time reporting solution for Oracle E-Business Suite. These folks were internal mavericks that were avid about changing the status quo.
During this process, Associated Foods sought out Hubble’s financial reporting because the risk of not having a single-source of information that put everyone on the same page was becoming too high. All their departments desperately needed access to timely, reliable answers to everyday business questions. Alan Whitman, Wholesale Controller, says, “What we needed was interactive, real-time information at our fingertips, not a bunch of reports and spreadsheets to sift through and manually consolidate”. When they saw what Hubble could do, they jumped on it.
“Once we saw what we could do with our ERP data in Hubble, it would have been irresponsible for us not to explore it.” - Alan Whitman, Wholesale Controller at Associated Foods
How Associated Foods used Hubble to drive information throughout the whole company
Hubble’s financial reporting solution makes it easy to run reports or inquires in seconds, but it also serves as the gateway to deliver accurate, timely information to the whole business. As soon as Associated Foods purchased Hubble, they immediately began reaping benefits. Since Hubble sits right on top of their ERP, Oracle E-Business Suite, implementation took just an hour. And because Hubble understands all the underlying security and intelligence, end users can run reports instantly.
With all that ERP data now in one single view that end users have access to, Associated Foods can build simple hierarchies which everyone in the business can use regularly. For specific reports, like the Daily Sales, information is now available on-demand for every part of the organization. Executives can now compare current year to same day in previous year – a critical feature that was lacking with their old tool. They no longer need to do a Monday manual catch-up, since they can easily access real-time information with just a click of a button in Hubble. In fact, Associated Foods has eliminated 30 hours per month on manual report creation alone.
Hubble is more than a reporting tool for Associated Foods
Not only does Hubble help Associated Foods with faster consolidation of monthly and quarterly reports, the real benefits they’ve found is the visibility it gives them into their whole business. Instead of sifting through reports, users can easily find the data they are looking for. Any discrepancies are displayed immediately for them, and users can drill down, up, and across right to source data – the confidence they have in what they see is outstanding.
Whitman says, with Hubble, “Information is no longer a struggle. The business has better insight into how the grocery stores are performing, which store is buying more of a particular food item, and so much more.”
Hubble’s rapid adoption plan
Once Associated Foods decided to purchase Hubble’s financial reporting solution, a dedicated product specialist came and spent a day with them. The software was installed in an hour. By lunchtime, the product specialist was showing them reports over their live data.
“I was blown away when we first saw Hubble. Our product specialist took live data and in a manner of minutes threw together a P&L that ran in seconds. It was more information than we had ever seen in Oracle.” – Brad Forsberg
The Hubble support team offered ongoing resources to help Associated Foods get on-board with their unique needs. Associated Foods was confident that anything they weren’t able to do themselves, they could simply call Hubble support and receive a response that day.
Hubble helps Associated Foods drive business performance
Associated Foods implemented Hubble based off a need for a real-time reporting tool. But since go-live in October 2012, Hubble has become an avenue for sharing detailed and consolidated analysis to the whole business. Hubble has moved beyond a report creation tool to a solution that helps them gain meaningful insights through ad hoc inquiries without requiring IT. Their next step is to take a look at Hubble’s real-time planning solution for their budgeting process.
“We don’t even log into Oracle anymore to get information. We get it all from Hubble. I start Hubble in the morning and it’s on all day.” – Brad Forsberg
Request a Hubble demo to learn more about how a single, real-time source of information could help you.