Client: G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers
Headquarters Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers distributes Pepsi products in Ohio and Kentucky. The company used Microsoft Dynamics GP for corporate finances, but each bottling plant used an IBM AS/400 system for payroll, Sage Abra for human resources (HR), and Simas for accounting. As a result, G&J Pepsi incurred unnecessary costs due to duplicate systems and lacked holistic insight into operations. To solve this, the company extended Microsoft Dynamics GP with the payroll and HR modules to consolidate business functions at the corporate level and create a foundation for a Microsoft-based business intelligence solution. To bring key reports and information from these solutions to employees across the company, G&J Pepsi uses Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. From this work, the company has enhanced business insight and projects an annual savings of more than U.S.$560,000 in increased productivity.
Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers distributes Pepsi products across Ohio and Kentucky. G&J Pepsi is one of the largest Pepsi bottlers in the United States, with 1,700 employees.
G&J Pepsi is organized into four divisions, including a corporate office and three bottling plants. Each division has traditionally managed operations autonomously of each other. At the corporate level, G&J Pepsi used Microsoft Dynamics GP for corporate finances, but each bottling plant used an IBM AS/400 system for payroll, Sage Abra for human resources (HR) management, and Simas for financial accounting. Because these systems ran on separate databases, business leaders could not easily perform advanced reporting and HR and payroll staff resorted to manual reentry of employee data.
“We tried making interfaces for Sage Abra that would integrate HR and payroll, but it was not as smooth as it needed to be,” says Chris Witzgall, VP of Information Services for G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers. “We needed a system that was fully integrated.”
With data isolated in disparate systems – or copied manually from one application to another – errors occurred frequently enough that employees needed to call their counterparts in other divisions to verify information. “The HR and payroll integration that we had in place was clunky, and we could not always trust the information we worked with,” says Hope Clevenger, Corporate Benefits and Payroll Manager for G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers. “If I needed to look up someone’s pay, I had to contact the IT department or the HR department at a division.”
Company leaders understood that deploying a full-featured enterprise resource planning solution would centralize management of business data, provide functionality across all business management functions, and eliminate many of these operational issues. In addition, the right solution could significantly reduce costs by enabling G&J Pepsi to consolidate HR, payroll, and finances at the corporate level while eliminating the need to license and maintain separate hardware and software across many divisions.
G&J Pepsi hoped to streamline and automate many administrative processes, eliminate data reentry, and enhance decision making and reporting. And, once the company finished consolidating its administrative systems, G&J Pepsi looked forward to the possibility of providing self-service functionality for payroll and benefits to employees as well as key information to vendors.
G&J Pepsi considered deploying a newer version of Sage Abra with integrated payroll, but decided instead to extend its existing implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP to include payroll and HR. Witzgall explains the decision: “We looked at the newer Sage Abra system, but Microsoft provided us with better value overall. For the price and the feature set available, there really is no better business management system than Microsoft Dynamics GP.”
To extend Microsoft Dynamics GP, G&J Pepsi engaged with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Socius and deployed the Payroll and Advanced HR modules for Microsoft Dynamics GP. This enabled G&J Pepsi to move HR and payroll functions to the corporate level. In future work, G&J Pepsi will migrate general ledger data from its AS/400 systems at each division to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, enabling the company to centralize financial management by using Microsoft Dynamics GP as well. Because payroll, HR, and financial data will all be stored on a single SQL Server 2005 database, G&J Pepsi will have the information in place to gain holistic insight into operations and perform advanced reporting. Although the flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics GP enables G&J Pepsi to consolidate business management, improve insight, and reduce costs, the interoperability of the solution with other Microsoft products enables G&J Pepsi to take these savings even further. For example, by using Microsoft Dynamics GP, G&J Pepsi can take advantage of its existing IT assets, including SQL Server 2005, Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007, and the Microsoft Office suite.
Taking Advantage of the RoleTailored Interface
Although a learning curve is inherent to any new system, employees in HR and payroll have found the RoleTailored interface particularly helpful in becoming proficient with Microsoft Dynamics GP. The RoleTailored interfaces present only the functionality these individuals need to perform their specific tasks or job functions.
“If you saw everything in Microsoft Dynamics GP, it could be overwhelming,” says Clevenger. “The RoleTailored interface provides us with just the pieces we need and work with on a day-to-day basis.”
Building a Microsoft-Based Business Intelligence Solution
By centralizing key information with Microsoft Dynamics GP, G&J Pepsi is in the process of building a more comprehensive business intelligence solution with help from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner PCMS IT Advisor Group. Building on G&J Pepsi’s existing deployment of Office SharePoint Server, PCMS implemented Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server for advanced business analysis. In future work, Office PerformancePoint Server will aggregate information from Microsoft Dynamics GP and other line-of-business systems. G&J Pepsi employees access both Microsoft Dynamics GP and Office PerformancePoint Server reports and information through Office SharePoint Server dashboards and document libraries. Employees can then explore the data further by using a PivotTable in Microsoft Office Excel. G&J Pepsi also takes advantage of a range of refreshable, out-of-the-box reports in Microsoft Dynamics GP. These reports are refreshed after the nightly processing of the company’s AS/400 systems at each bottling plant.
Extending Business Management Functionality Companywide
G&J Pepsi is also in the process of providing self-service payroll functionality to 1,600 employees across the company. To do so, G&J Pepsi is working with Socius to implement Business Portal for Microsoft Dynamics GP. Once deployed, the Web portal will enable employees to retrieve their payroll information, including check stubs, W-2 forms, hours worked, paid time off, and more. Employees will also be able to update their benefits for the following year. Managers a G&J Pepsi will use Business Portal to create schedules for employees that employees can then access.
G&J Pepsi also plans to enable job applicants to submit job applications through Business Portal so that hiring managers can track those applications in Microsoft Dynamics GP. Employees will also be able to submit their training – such as that required for forklift drivers – which administrative staff will track by using the solution. In later efforts, G&J Pepsi also plans to provide RSS feeds from the solution to its vendors, such as its dental insurance provider, eliminating hours of data entry.
Although G&J Pepsi is still deploying some of the solution, the company expects to realize significant improvements in productivity and a considerable cost savings because of Microsoft Dynamics GP and other Microsoft technologies. Combining these savings with the centralized business information needed for advanced reporting and analysis, G&J Pepsi is poised to further enhance its competitive edge in the bottling and distribution industry.
Perform Better Reporting and Enforce Financial Control
With Microsoft Dynamics GP in place, G&J Pepsi now benefits from far greater and faster reporting. Says Clevenger, “Now, when the CFO asks us to track data and turn around a report, we don’t need to go to three departments to get the information and put it into a PivotTable; all the information we need is available right in Microsoft Dynamics GP.” Along with easier reporting, moving to a central solution has enabled G&J Pepsi to enforce greater financial control and make better-informed decisions on information that it can trust. Says Clevenger, “Microsoft Dynamics GP makes it easy to trace changes and drill down to investigate financial details. With a central system, I will be able to perform better auditing. For example, I will be able to verify that we are contributing the appropriate amounts to employees’ 401(k)s.”
Centralize Administrative Duties
By extending Microsoft Dynamics GP to include HR and payroll functions, G&J Pepsi was able to centralize these duties at the company’s corporate level. All corporate HR staff were able to take on the additional duties of payroll within their normal workloads. This transfer of duties has an inherent learning curve. But, because staff members only need to learn one system, and because that system provides a role-tailored experience, employees can quickly switch between the tools they need. In the future, G&J Pepsi plans to take advantage of Microsoft Dynamics GP to bring all accounting duties to the corporate level as well, improving insight into operations and driving new levels of productivity.
Save $560,000 Annually
By taking full advantage of Microsoft Dynamics GP and other Microsoft products and technologies, G&J Pepsi projects an annual savings of more than U.S.$560,000 in overall productivity gains. Increased productivity will result from: