Relying on Cutting Edge Numbers
3000-based FMS II gives Swiss Army Knife parts maker
Before the HP 3000 took over financials at Hitchiner
economic planning included debate. Company officials
discussing the future, however often they were
well accounting figures portrayed its present business
Hitchiner is the biggest maker of commercial investment
for industry, wax-cast metal parts used in some of the
best-known products. Victorinox has had Hitchiner casting its
metal components for Swiss Army Knives for years. Parts of
golf club heads and Odyssey putters roll off Hitchiner lines.
Every Pratt & Whitney jet engine, and every helicopter
made in the US, has Hitchiner parts in it. Winchester
full of parts cast from the Milford, N.H.-based
Casting an accurate snapshot of all this enterprise was more of
a problem. According to Douglas Place, director of
financial results used to come in from a handful of
minicomputer systems spread across the company. The lack of
in reporting led to many a sharp debate over accounting numbers
during executive meetings.
You used to go to a high-level staff meeting or a
the board of directors and you fought more about what the
are, versus the strategies the numbers are telling
said. My first role here was to bring some
credibility to the
I identified five different modules that we
We felt it was best to stay on the HP 3000 platform,
if we wanted the integration with the shop floor and our other
When I came to Hitchiner, we had a patchwork of
systems one vendor for AP, one for GL, one for AR,
and so on,
Place said. Hitchiner has remote operations in the Midwest and
in South America, which made getting reliable financials more
complex. The accounting department also depended a lot on help
from the MIS department, Place said.
HQ: Milford, N.H.
HP 3000s: Series 987, Series 928
User base: In the hundreds
Desktops: PCs with Lotus 1-2-3
MPE Solutions: FMS II, Mitchell Humphrey
& Co.; DataExpress, M.B.
Performs: Financial accounting, budgeting
and inventory control
for the largest maker of parts for products
such as Swiss Army
Knives, Callaway golf clubs and Winchester
The director instituted better methods through the FMS II
from Mitchell Humphrey & Co. (800.237.0028,
An HP 3000 software provider for more than 20 years, Mitchell
Humphreys software gave Hitchiner a way to integrate
with the rest of its systems. It also reduced the
dependency on MIS.
Place said Hitchiner needed modules for inventory, purchase
general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable in its
system. He likes the integration between these modules and
software, provided through an FMS II feature called
really transparent and smooth, he said. These
are the hooks
theyve built-in to integrate with other software, and
One of the third-party HP 3000 packages hooked up to FMS II
working hard for Hitchiner is M.B. Foster Associates
With its user base in the hundreds, almost exclusively working
at PC desktops, the company is putting client server
into the hands of 80 active users of FMS II. Place likes
the two HP 3000 tools work together.
Its a great report writer for us, he
said. Having the hooks
back and forth between the two products makes it real easy. We
do variance reports on a week-to-week basis, and general ledger
is set up to be a month-end tool. Through DataExpress we
all the debits and credits from the general ledger, because
allowed to put in the beginning and ending post-dates of all of
our transactions. We then run weekly variance reports through
our ledger by using DataExpress.
The ease of integration means that DataExpress can help
shop floor reporting and work-in-progress reporting.
extremely well with this system, Place said.
Because of FMS
II's powerful account structure and alternate roll ups, we are
able to generate reports and inquiries from data stored in both
Having an easily integrated financial tool helped Hitchiner
deliver financial information with a minimum of MIS assistance.
FMS II met my main objectives for a new system
ease of navigation, and the capability to run reports and
data without needing to bog down MIS with requests,
I believe accounting should be responsible for
and reporting on all of our financial data without
Every time we added or sold a division, or added new
we had to get MIS involved, Place said. We have
with them now. Its user friendly to the point that we
our own maintenance. The only thing the MIS department does is
the backups at night.
Place said his companys implementation of the
tool was thorough. He didnt accept the chart of
the prior systems, but started from scratch with a new one.
changed our entire chart of accounts to work with their
Place said. No one is even questioning the utility
we derived from that.
Hitchiner increased productivity by tapping the FMS II
ability to let users debit and credit through common PC tools
such as Lotus 1-2-3, Place said. Its a
tremendous tool, he
said. Im a big user of Lotus myself, and I
dont want to key
in, extract and upload and download things. Even using
you have to use several iterations to get things down to your
desktop. Here I can grab anything I want.
Because of the speed of the new process, closing the
books now takes a little more than four days instead of the
nine. People would argue about what the variance was,
period cost was, because we didnt have clear
said. Were now closing our third year without
questioning a number. When I give them the financials, they
it. Our prior software didnt give us that. Mitchell
was a very big player in that.
Copyright 1998 The 3000 NewsWire. All rights