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Naturally Fresh Improves Data Access, Reduces Report Transaction Times With Microsoft Software


Naturally Fresh Inc., a maker of dips, sauces and dressings, recently rolled out a business intelligence (BI) solution based on Microsoft® software and has already saved $320,000 in the first year. Based on Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005, Naturally Fresh’s BI implementation helped the company cut data access time from minutes to seconds, enabling better and faster decisions by its employees.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Naturally Fresh sought a solution that would decrease report pull times and increase the accuracy of various company information delivered to its 375 employees. Before the company selected Microsoft technology, it took its staff 45 minutes to produce reports. With the new solution, it takes users only two to three seconds to pull a single report, and all essential key performance indicator (KPI) reports can be pulled in 10 seconds. The end result is that Naturally Fresh has fully connected its business reporting processes with its 245,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and 28 distribution centers across the United States.

“The reporting tools we have with the Microsoft solution are so powerful that we can slice and dice the data at least four levels beyond where we could before,” said Joe Stell, director of information systems at Naturally Fresh. “In the past, it took very long to get our data, and then we had to rerun reports to figure out which data to believe. Not anymore.”

Before selecting Microsoft’s BI solution, Naturally Fresh considered a range of database and reporting options. After comparing Microsoft SQL Server 2005 to other products, Naturally Fresh found Microsoft’s BI functionality to be affordable, easy to use and able to snap into the company’s existing Windows® environment.

“We knew that everything we needed we could get in a Microsoft-based business intelligence solution,” Stell said. “We compared Microsoft with other solutions, and found that those solutions would acquire additional costs for a database administrator, licensing fees and maintenance costs. We already had the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 skills in-house.”

The software also allows employees access to current and accurate data coming from the plant floor and distribution centers. Employees are now able to access reports via the Internet from remote locations — at home, on business trips or at customer sites.

“It was important to Naturally Fresh that employees be able to access information easily on the plant floor and from remote locations,” said George Taylor, director of U.S. consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry solutions at Microsoft Corp. “By opening business communication and information streams to employees, CPG companies such as Naturally Fresh are empowering their people to collaborate and make better-informed decisions.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


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