Industry: Automotive Manufacturing and Sales

Company Overview:

Japanese engineer, mechanic, and automobile enthusiast Soichiro Honda began his career mass-producing parts for Toyota. However, he soon decided to branch out with his own business, so he created the Honda Technical Research Institute nearly 70 years ago in 1946. The company began by building motorized bicycles from leftover World War II materials. It became the Honda Motor Company, Ltd. in 1949 and started making motorcycles.

By 1964, this corporation was the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Around this time, Honda expanded its operations into automobiles and luxury sports cars (under the brand name Acura). In 1995, Honda added aviation to its roster when it began development on the HondaJet, a small business aircraft. The corporation also manufactures scooters, electric generators, robotics, motors, tillers, lawn and garden equipment, water pumps, solar cells, and more.

Honda currently sells its products around the globe. In 2013, it exported more than 100,000 automobile models to the United States. In 2014, Honda generated $11.85 trillion in international revenue and $119 billion in America alone. The corporation and its suppliers currently employ more than 100,000 workers in the United States and tens of thousands more worldwide.

The Challenge:

Honda’s North American Finance division processes all car sales for the region. In handling this magnitude of accounts, the company developed a serious database dilemma. Due to a lack of IT organization and foresight, the North American Finance department had dozens of databases scattered across employee desktops and servers. To make this tangled technology mess even more complicated, only one key team member knew the secrets to managing many of these databases.

This cluster of loosely connected databases was disorganized and inefficient. The North American Finance division needed a cleaner, sleeker system to help them easily take care of sales. The catalyst for this change came when Honda decided to switch to a companywide business intelligence (BI) system. This meant that all divisions would need to use the same software to analyze raw data. The new setup would be more cohesive and effective, but the transition would require a great deal of work, especially for an already non-optimal set of databases. The North American Finance office brought in numerous programmers to tackle this gargantuan project, including Excel Consultant’s experienced team.

Our first task was to consolidate the Microsoft Access information from each and every one of the division’s databases. This was no small undertaking, since there were over 100 spread over various devices. Once we’d aggregated this data, we had to clean it up so it could be easily read and transferred. Next, we had to append it back to the databases in SQL Server, Microsoft’s enterprise-level database management system which is designed for many users and therefore much more appropriate for Honda North American Finance’s activities than Access, which we typically recommend for smaller networks. After moving the data to SQL Server, we had to integrate it with Honda’s new BI model.

This was one of the more difficult projects Excel Consultant has ever taken on. One of our experts helmed this assignment, which involved a team of 25 professional programmers and 50 to 100 dedicated staff in total. The Honda North American Finance office also provided several servers equipped with SQL Server. We also had to use a specialized program called Monarch, which reads report files and extracts data from them. This project took nine months of work at 60 hours per week (and many weekends) to complete (the entirety of the BI shift required three years). Pulling, manipulating, verifying, and migrating the information from disjointed databases often necessitated operating four computers simultaneously. In some cases, our programmers were literally dashing between four different desks to keep them operating. Honda North American Finance’s venture was an excellent test of our team’s tenacity and skill.

Key Client Benefits:

While this project was not at all straightforward, the benefits to Honda North American Finance were. After working tirelessly for the better part of a year, Excel Consultant left the division (and Honda as a whole) with a more functional, smooth-running database system. Creating, analyzing, processing, and storing automobile sales information became much simpler for employees. Shifting to a streamlined SQL Server and BI system also allowed Honda to better oversee sales from a global perspective. Excel Consultant is proud to have helped this international manufacturing powerhouse operate more successfully.

Our work with Honda North American Finance demonstrates our ability to resolve even the toughest database disasters. If you’d like to optimize your business’s software or servers, contact Excel Consultant today.

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