Early last year, Albright's department built online analytical processing multidimensional databases containing purchasing, inventory, sales, and order-booking data using Cognos Inc.'s PowerPlay software. Those databases are updated every night.
"It gives the whole staff the ability to do their jobs just a little bit better than they could in the past," Albright says. His department is building a data warehouse with three years of historical sales and purchasing data for even more effective analysis. Manufacturing and capacity-planning multidimensional databases for production managers are on the drawing boards, as are plans to provide Web access to the system.