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Gopher Resource Discusses Increasing Productivity with Logi Analytics

Gopher Resource, the preferred lead recycling company in North America, discusses how an inventory management system built with Logi Info ensured effective communication between plant floor and executive offices.

Gopher Resource owns and operates thriving, ecologically oriented businesses designed to reclaim hazardous but valuable matericals and put them to new uses. The preferred lead recycling company in North America, Gopher Resources Lead Recycling Services processes and recycles more than 10 million spend lead-acid batteries and other lead-bearing materials each year.

The Challenge

“Gopher Resource recycles lead from auto batteries and other sources. We differ from traditional manufacturers in that we first break something apart to make the raw material that we ultimately sell. Our factories run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year and generate massive amounts of data; 5,000 to 10,000 data points per second,” stated Brian Hanley, Sr. Applications Programmer, Gopher Resource.

“Historically, that data has been very inaccessible. There was a hodgepodge of reporting including Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Lotus Notes, and custom ASP .NET, but there was no single cohesive platform or strategy. I joined the company recently and immediately needed a quick and nimble platform to build reports and applications to support decision making.

This ability to feed data back into the business about what's happening on the plant floor gives us an incredible advantage

Brian Hanley - Sr. Applications Programmer

The Solution

“I don’t look at BI as simply a reporting platform where we serve data to users and they read it. We want it to be transactional in nature. We want to support decision making by enabling users to take action when they encounter the data. To that end, we wanted an application platform that enabled us to give users the ability to take action right away and we didn’t want to have to bolt together several platforms in order to make that happen.

“With SQL Server Reporting Services already in place, we considered leveraging that. Additionally, I have extensive experience with Actuate. I worked for them for nearly six years, so we considered that along with other open source vendors.

“We ended up seeing the various components of the Logi platform as being the logical choice to suit all of our needs, both in the reporting and applications building spaces. We found that with Logi Info, accessing our data was straightforward and easy. We also liked the unique ability to write back to the database and accept user input without a lot of hassle. We were very impressed with Logi and moved quickly.

The Results

“Within days of purchasing Logi Info, Gopher Resource had reports up and running. After just a few months, we now have three to four major applications being used daily by the business. The result is a cohesive business intelligence platform that is growing and maturing each and every day that I come to work,” explained Mr. Hanley.

Inventory Management System to Enhance Just in Time Manufacturing

“We’ve developed an inventory management application for executives to see what the furnaces are producing for lead output from raw materials. Using a calendar control with conditional styling that Logi easily enables, I’m able to communicate to the business users whether or not, on any given day, one or both of our two furnaces made their forecast.”1

“We built a daily production summary report that shows production for the previous three days, with red flags to indicate items that were manually corrected. Clicking reveals details about the operations during each shift window. A flag may indicate an issue such as a scale going down, preventing the weighing of output and the need to correct figures manually.”

“Historically speaking, there was no good way to communicate issues like that from the plant floor to the executive offices. Now a shift supervisor can effectively manage the inventory so the business is always in sync with what they’re doing. This is invaluable when you’re dealing with Just in Time manufacturing.”

“This ability to feed data back into the business about what’s happening on the plant floor in real time gives the business an incredible advantage. The ability to understand what we can and can’t promise to customers has been increased dramatically.”2

Lab Analysis Results

“We have a very busy lab here that analyzes many different metrics from the plant. We’ve been able to give the lab a series of very easy to use forms to input those results into. We then store them on the database and are able to summarize those results in an easy to read way, including summary information and drill through to details.”

Migrating from SSRS and Lotus Notes

“We have now migrated completely off our Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and are currently hosting all of that content on Logi. That migration was a fairly efficient and effective thing to do and we were able to give our users a much more engaging experience with the data, rather than the static reports they had with SSRS.

“Additionally, we’re using Logi on a daily basis as the go-to source for relieving our dependency on Lotus Notes. A lot of the forms-based mini-applications that were in Lotus Notes are being moved directly onto the BI platform and there’s no intermediary needed.”

SharePoint Portal Integration

“Our production portal is now hosted on SharePoint. Using a Web part, we’re able to display a different KPI at the top of the page to each user based on their area of focus. This keeps the user’s experience fresh by melding the BI platform and SharePoint seamlessly.”

Easy Security Integration

“We rely on Active Directory to handle our access control and since we have a decent group policy in place, integrating security with Logi was a matter of minutes,” concluded Mr. Hanley.

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