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Hillman Group Unlocks Information for Large Data Migration Project With IBM Software


IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that The Hillman Group, a supplier of fasteners, key cutting machines and engraving equipment to national, regional and local retailers, has selected IBM Information Server to help ensure the quality and governance of data on tens of thousands of products ranging from keys to nuts and bolts, pet tags and signage.

The Hillman Group is using IBM’s information integration platform to support a large data migration for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project that will help the company keep pace with consumer demand and growth of the big box retail channel, as well as provide better insight into product information, sales transactions and inventory data.

“IBM Information Server is a critical tool for our global data synchronization and product information management initiatives,” said Jim Honerkamp, chief information officer, The Hillman Group. “Also, we are using it to move massive amounts of data into our advanced planning and scheduling applications from our transactional systems. Each night we move more than six million records in a very short window of time. Only IBM Information Server could pump that amount of data through our system in the limited time we have available, making it key to our information management infrastructure.”

The company sells products to hardware stores, home centers, pet suppliers, mass merchants and other retail outlets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South America. Working with more than 40,000 retail locations worldwide and distribution centers that process and ship more than 13,000 packages daily, Hillman Group was faced with managing a massive amount of data. The company required a single information integration solution to allow seamless movement of large quantities of sales transaction data, inventory orders, product and customer information from multiple ERP systems across the company into a new Oracle Enterprise One ERP application suite, while ensuring a high level of data quality.

IBM Information Server provides a flexible information integration platform that allows Hillman Group to efficiently review, cleanse and move data onto the new Oracle system while creating governance controls for information access. Meanwhile, support for near real-time movement of sales transaction data and inventory orders was also an important consideration.

Hillman is also in the process of using IBM Information Server’s Quality Stage module to unify all the company’s product information. This new master product information system provides a single point of truth about each product including master files on each product, all product attributes, dimensions, descriptions, as well as extended attributes such as images or third party marketing information. All changes and maintenance of the data occurs in this master product information system which then delivers the trusted information back into the ERP system as well as custom-built applications that rely on this data.

There are multiple ways to represent a one inch galvanized hex nut in a data warehouse field. A big box retailer may describe it one way, while a small regional hardware store describes it another, making it hard to conduct a query to show all the matching products in the inventory. Through the use of IBM Information Server, the Hillman Group will be able to match these various representations together to generate an agreed upon taxonomy of product names and descriptions, and cleanse the data to ensure a consistent view of product information throughout their system, providing increased responsiveness and a better view into their inventory.

IBM Information Server will also be used to ensure the accuracy, consistency and governance of Hillman’s information as the company undertakes the move to a services oriented architecture. “Global data synchronization goes hand-in-glove with electronic data interchange,” said Honerkamp. “Our information management organization is focused on data governance and IBM Information Server is critical to this initiative as well.” IBM’s information integration platform serves as a key part of a company-wide effort at Hillman Group to manage their information growth in order to support the rapid introduction of new products and the company’s global expansion strategy.

The Hillman Group is running IBM Information Server on high density IBM BladeCenter Servers running on Linux.

IBM Information Server is currently available from IBM and IBM Business Partners.

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