LOral to manage customer forecasting with Cognos

Cognos, a leading business intelligence and performance management solutions provider, has announced that LOral UK has selected Cognos Planning to automate existing spreadsheet-based business processes and improve reporting efficiencies.
The cosmetics manufacturer, working with Cognos partner BI Inform, has chosen Cognos Planning to drive the development of joint business plans for major retailers that sell its range of LOral Paris, Garnier and Maybelline products.
LOral UKs national accounts team, which works with retailers including Tesco, Asda, Boots and Morrisons, is using Cognos to improve the planning and forecasting information available. By taking customers electronic point of sale (EPOS) data, the national accounts team can develop unit, sales and profit margin projections including built-in key performance indictors that are tailored to each customers individual requirements. In addition, scenario modelling can be used to forecast the success of customer or LOral-led promotions and look at how seasonal variations may impact on sales and profits.
Previously, LOral had been using spreadsheets but, given the range of products and level of sales in the UK, these had become difficult to manage and highly admin intensive. Account managers were often tied to their desks, reconciling manual analysis.
The spreadsheets that the national accounts team had been using prior to the rollout of Cognos Planning had become gargantuan and difficult to manage, explained Keith Mattocks, project leader, sales and marketing IT at LOral UK. Not only that, every time a new scenario needed to be created, our account managers had to start again from scratch. This meant spending hours reworking the spreadsheets and inputting new data.
Cognos initial demonstration of what its technology could do literally sold it on the spot, Mattocks continued. We can now demonstrate to customers the effect of various different scenarios much more quickly than before, in minutes rather than hours. This gives them the information they need to make vital decisions in the fast moving retail sector.
LOral is well respected for its technological innovation and its approach to working with its major retail partners is no different, said Graham Walter, vice-president of Cognos UK, Middle East and South Africa. This is a classic story of a company struggling with spreadsheets and turning to Cognos to provide a secure, spreadsheet-like environment that is robust for the enterprise, yet an easy-to-use tool for the rep on the street.

LOral, working with BI Inform, took the classic project route developing the technology spec from the ground up. Following an initial review of the business need, workshops were held with potential users to set the project requirements ensuring a solution was developed to meet their needs.
The rollout of the Cognos application began in October 2006 and was completed by the end of the year.
Cognos is a recognised leader in delivering performance management solutions for the consumer goods industry. In fact, 19 of the top 20 consumer goods companies in the world use Cognos.

About Cognos
Cognos, the world leader in business intelligence and performance management solutions, provides world-class enterprise planning and BI software and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance.
Cognos brings together technology, analytical applications, best practices, and a broad network of partners to give customers a complete performance system. The Cognos performance system is an open and adaptive solution that leverages an organisations ERP, packaged applications, and database investments. It gives customers the ability to answer the questions How are we doing? Why are we on or off track? What should we do about it? and enables them to understand and monitor current performance while planning future business strategies.

Cognos serves more than 23,000 customers in more than 135 countries, and its top 100 enterprise customers consistently outperform market indexes. Cognos performance management solutions and services are also available from more than 3,000 worldwide partners and resellers.

About LOral UK
LOral is the worlds number one cosmetics company, present in over 130 countries with 52,000 employees world-wide and a turnover of 14.5 billion euros in 2005, an increase of 4.8% on 2004 on a like-for-like basis.  LOral is the only cosmetics group that is present in every distribution channel: mass market, hair salons, department stores, pharmacy and mail order.  Its brand portfolio includes LOral Paris, Garnier, Maybelline, Soft Sheen Carson, Matrix, Redken, L'Oral Professionnel, Krastase, Vichy, La Roche-Posay, Lancme, Biotherm, Kiehls, Shu Uemura and Armani, Cacharel and Ralph Lauren fragrances.

LOral has been present in the UK for more than 70 years. Today LOral UK is the fourth largest subsidiary of LOral in Europe and the fifth world-wide. 

LOral UK is a major player in the UK cosmetics market, with an annual turnover in 2005 of 602 million (an increase of 3.7% on 2004). 

67% of women in the UK use one or more LOral product.

Overall, LOral employs over 2,500 people in the UK who work across five sites including: a manufacturing and distribution centre in Llantrisant, South Wales; two distribution centres in Manchester; and the headquarters in Hammersmith.

About BI Inform
Established in 1997, BI-Inform is a leading business intelligence and enterprise planning consultancy and Cognos Gold partner specialising in delivering corporate performance management solutions.

BI-Informs success is built on delivering projects with a best practice approach, using Cognos best of breed solutions. We provide the highest quality consultancy services and ongoing support. Our mission is to support your information project from scoping the business requirements all the way through implementation and development to its successful completion, giving you the confidence to make better decisions every day.

BI-Inform has developed performance management solutions using Cognos technology to over 200 organisations, but mainly specialising in retail and manufacturing.

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