News

Non-Profit Automates to Save Time & Money

Client: The Food Bank For New York City's mission is to end hunger by organizing food, information and support for community survival and dignity. Working to end food poverty and increase access to affordable, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs, the Food Banks initiatives focus on direct services, food sourcing and distribution, nutrition and health education, financial empowerment, disaster relief and policy and research. To address the issue of the 3.3 million New Yorkers who experience difficulty affording food, the Food Bank procures and distributes food to a network of approximately 1,000 food assistance programs citywide.

Problem: Of the 1,000 programs to which the Food Bank grants food, each is thoroughly inspected at least every other year. This process involves sending a Community Program Specialist (CPS) to the location and reviewing hundreds of details and documenting everything  on paper. Each CPS would make up to four site visits per day and afterwards retype all collected information into Excel or Word files, which were then sent to managers for review. Documents would be returned for follow up, then updated, e-mailed again, and so on, until an inspection was approved and closed. Finding old inspection information involved delving into paper file folders and looking for what you wanted.

Solution: Proximo developed the Agency Relations (AR) System. The Agency Relations department uses a central intranet portal to schedule CPS staff to visit specific programs on specific dates. Each CPS has his or her own tablet PC, to which these schedules are transmitted. The CPS then travels with no paper  to do their inspections. They have access to a history of site visits, contacts, maps, grants, and forms. Since they need to be mobile, the tablet PC application works while disconnected from the Internet. When the CPS roams in range of a wireless network or connects via a land line, all completed forms are automatically uploaded to the central database, and new scheduling information is downloaded. The Agency Relations department can review inspection forms online, approve, reject, or request more information.

Result: A CPS has access to data in real-time, carries less weight to each site visit, and has their data entry time cut in half. With online access, the Agency Relations department has cut the review and approval process from fifteen to two minutes per form. With many visits requiring fifteen forms and over 800 visits per year, 2600 hours of labor are being saved per year. The return on investment (ROI) is 100% in less than a year.

SAP integration with L'Oreal's Front-Office Systems

Client: L'Oreal USA, Luxury Products Division, the world's leading beauty company.

Problem: The Company needed to migrate from Lawson and its home-grown ERP system on the AS400 to SAP, the world's leading ERP systems solution. In order to do this Proximo needed to design and build an integration platform. Extensive data analysis, file mappings and documentation of business rules were necessary to plan the integration process.

Solution: Proximo designed an integration platform by which

  • data could be transferred between SAP and over 50 legacy applications
  • applications were combined to align with the new constraints
  • new front-ends were developed that would act as the sole 'feeder' applications

Result: L'Oreal was able to maintain all of the required front office systems. This minimized the costs of the project, since re-building the applications and retraining the users would have cost millions of dollars more.

To read more in-depth technical information on this project, click here.

A Trade Association Automates Paper-Intensive Process

Client: Personal Care Products Council (the Council), a trade association that provides a complete range of services that support the personal care products industry’s needs and interests in the scientific, legal, regulatory, legislative, and international fields. The organization has 600 member companies.

Problem: Every year the organization was accepting 2,000 applications per year for “INCI” names – a system of standardized names for ingredients in cosmetics and toiletries. All ingredients in all products in the United States are named via an extensive submission and review process managed by the Council. All applications were managed via paper forms and fax communications.

Solution: Proximo created a centralized database and web-site. Companies around the world can register on the web and submit applications online, including all technical information and drawings of molecular diagrams. The entire process of review, follow-up, and approval is managed via the system. Eventually, the system was modified to permit the Council to charge for the applications via online credit card payments and to export the approved applications to a publications database managed by the association.

Result: The INCI Application system, which now contains over 8,000 applications, has enabled the Council to save multiple person-days per month of effort by moving away from a paper-based system, to process more applications in less time, and to save a significant amount of money on postage for multiple correspondences for every one of those 8,000 applications..

A Trade Association Gets a 145,000-Document File-Sharing System

Client: International Copper Association Ltd. (ICA), a trade association that promotes the use of copper worldwide. The organization has 175 employees in 25 offices on six continents.

Problem: Every year the organization was producing thousands of documents containing data about copper. However, it had no efficient way of sharing such material among its 25 offices. In many cases, the staff in one office wasn’t aware of the information available in other offices.

Solution: Proximo created a centralized file-sharing database. Employees in ICA’s various offices now upload documents to the secure system via the Internet. The system then indexes the files, making them completely searchable (Google-style). With this system, an employee in Shanghai can search the database for “copper recycling” and instantly view dozens of relevant documents created by colleagues in distant offices including Singapore, New York, Santiago and Brussels.

Result: The file-sharing system, which now contains over 145,000 documents, has enabled ICA to overcome a major communications problem resulting from its geographic disparity. The organization can now fulfill its mission more cost-effectively.

Proximo Plugs a $930,000 Leak for L’Oreal

Client: L’Oréal USA, Luxury Products Division, the world's leading beauty company

Background:The company employs over 8,000 beauty consultants that work at more than 2,000 retail cosmetics counters across the country. L’Oréal and the individual retailer split the payment of wages to these beauty consultants.

Problem: Due to an inadequate record-keeping system, L’Oréal was paying vastly more than their share of the consultants’ wages.

Assessment: L’Oréal required a highly customized system to solve its unique business problem. Before building such a system, Proximo conducted an in-depth assessment of L’Oréal’s needs in order to understand:

  • The exact terms of L’Oréal’s complex wage-splitting relationship with its retailers
  • How the system would integrate with L’Oréal’s other databases
  • The ways in which the system would have to be flexible in order to accommodate future changes and growth

Solution: Upon completion of the assessment, Proximo designed and built a record-keeping system that allows L’Oréal to instantly see whether retailers are correctly billing them for the wages of beauty consultants. The system allows L’Oréal to check for billing discrepancies in a multitude of ways, including by store, region, manager and nationwide search.

Result: In the year prior to the system’s introduction, L’Oréal’s retailers overbilled them by $930,000. Thanks to the system that Proximo built, disproportionate wage expenditures have been reduced to nearly zero.

For-Profit Education Provider Identifies Students At-Risk of Dropping Out

Problem: Reduce the number of students dropping out by identifying the various groups of students most likely to do so, and the factors influencing each group.

Solution: Identified key segments in the student population and modeled their information to identify students who were most likely to become graduates vs. those likely to drop-out.

The factors that predicted which students were at risk of dropping out were identified and analyzed. Targeted programs were developed to enhance the likelihood of student success by focusing on those factors that could be addressed through intervention. The models permitted targeting of these intervention programs to at risk students.

Results: This information led to major wins for the client in four areas:

  • Acquisition efforts have been adjusted to target students who are likely to succeed.
  • Admission practices have also been changed to remove obstacles that created higher risk and to maximize student success.
  • Retention has been enhanced by providing support to at risk applicants, which has also resulted in improved ROI on acquisition dollars expended.
  • Intervention programs have been put in place to assist current students who are identified as at risk, prior to their dropping out.

Volvo Consolidates Its Customer Data and Increases New Car Sales by 15.6%

Client: Volvo Cars of North America, Inc., a division of the Ford Motor Company

Problem: The company wanted to begin a program of relationship marketing to sell additional products and services to their existing clientele. In order to do this, they needed to understand exactly who their clients were and what each had previously purchased from Volvo. This data existed; however, it resided in eight separate databases.

Solution: Proximo unified Volvo’s customer data into a single data-warehouse system that:

  • Extracts customer data from each of the eight databases on a regular basis
  • Cleans, standardizes and de-duplicates the data
  • Provides customer data to other processes that need it
  • Allows Volvo’s customer service department to instantly see the complete purchasing history of each of its clients
  • Allows Volvo’s marketing department to develop the customer relationship and retention programs required by the business

Result: The system allowed Volvo to successfully implement their relationship-marketing program. Since then, new car sales have grown 15.6%.

Business Intelligence White Paper

The Society for Neuroscience (“SfN”) is seeking a develop roadmap that will span approximately the next two years.  The roadmap will show how to implement a robust system of data management, analysis, and decision support. SfN has a need for an internal set of processes and/or technologies that will:

  • Facilitate the acquisition and analysis of all the information necessary to identify project/program opportunities and vulnerabilities
  • Provide project analytics and identify correlations and spot trends
  • Evaluate project health throughout the organization.

To reach this objective, SfN requires evaluation and a resulting White Paper that should outline the strategic approach, features, and prerequisites for the implementation of the system. The approach to be outlined in the paper should not only include the technical/infrastructure needs of such a system, but also recommend business processes for reporting and synthesis of data and information.

The Society for Neuroscience (“SfN”) is a nonprofit membership organization of scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous system. Since its inception in 1969, the Society has grown from 500 members to over 40,000. Today, SfN is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to advancing understanding of the brain and nervous system.  For more information, visit www.sfn.org

Proximo Consulting Services, Inc. (“Proximo”) has been in business for fifteen years and has a staff of twenty people.  We have performed work for associations of all types and sizes.  Proximo’s core competency is in the field of data management and business intelligence.  Helping our clients find out what data they have and how they can turn it into intelligence and use it to better run their organizations is what we do best.

Customer Satisfaction Dashboard

Proximo Consulting Services will be, with its strategic partner MineTech, implementing a dashboard and reporting system of customer satisfaction survey data for YouGov, a professional research organization.  The data integrated into the system will focus on data imported not only from Proximo’s Survey Incite platform but from other YouGov provided data sources. 

The dashboard itself will provide national summary information, scorecards, best practices, time-based satisfaction metrics, score mapping, and key driver information.  The system will be provided to YouGov’s staff and clients, and will be hosted by Proximo on its Nuvola Network. 

YouGov is a professional research and consulting organization, pioneering the use of technology to collect higher quality, in-depth data for companies, governments, and institutions so that they can better serve the people that sustain them. At YouGov America, we leverage our online sampling and research expertise to conduct polls and deliver insights for political, media, university, non-profit, and marketing organizations. For more information, visit www.yougov.com.

National Benchmarking Study

Proximo is pleased to announce that it will be working with the Asia Society on a national benchmarking study.  This will be the third year of this study, which will be used to understand where Asian Pacific American (APA) leaders are on the corporate leadership ladder at Fortune 500 companies, identifying which companies are perceived as best at promoting and developing their APA leaders and what are the best practices that are enabling them to successfully attract, develop and retain APA leaders. 

The Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of the United States and Asia. We seek to increase knowledge and enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of arts and culture, policy and business, and education.  For more information, please visit http://asiasociety.org/