- Location: Chicago, IL
- Industry: Hotel
- Number of Locations: 45
- Web site: www.hyatt.com
"The Epicor consultants always have many years of experience with the product. Above all, they also know how hotel people think."
Woldgang P. Baermann, Assistant Director of Finance | Global Hyatt Corporation
"One spaghetti aglio e olio, please!"Order a portion of this simple pasta dish at a Hyatt hotel restaurant and you set in motion a chain of very different activities. Your order not only triggers an immediate response from waiters, chefs, and kitchen staff, it is also entered into the computerized system, which removes the ingredients from the inventory stock. This is just one of the hotel-specific functions of the Epicor solution.
Global Hyatt Corporation is one of the world's premier hotel companies with over 365 hotels in 45 countries worldwide that employs around 90,000 associates. The Hyatt story began in 1957 when it opened its first hotel at an airport in Los Angeles. 10 Hyatt hotels around Europe, in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Mainz, Zurich, Milan, Paris, London, and Birmingham, benefit from the services the Hyatt Shared Services Centre in Mainz has to offer. Additionally, seven independent companies within Global Hyatt Corporation, including the new brand Andaz ™, are managed via a central server at the Shared Services Centre in Mainz.
All data converge at the SSC
With the Shared Services Centre (SSC), Hyatt takes a centralized approach whereby all processing and administration activities that do not need to be processed locally are outsourced to Mainz. These include accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general ledger accounting, such as the posting, checking, and payment of all supplier bills. To relieve individual hotels from these time-consuming, labor-intensive tasks, Hyatt uses multi-client-enabled accounting software, allowing any number of hotels to be incorporated and managed within the system. Specifically, the hotel data converges into the Epicor centralized solution.
All the data from the connected hotel-specific systems are received via web services using Epicor Service Connect, and are then processed to update inventory, statistical, and accounting records. For example, daily revenue, statistical and settlement data is automatically interfaced to Epicor every night, ensuring that all accounting relevant information entered in the hotel-specific Opera software from Micros- Fidelio® is made available to the Accounts Department.
Epicor includes a requisitioning module, which enables the individual departments, such as the kitchens, housekeeping, or administration, to request goods and services. The system can also create helpful shopping lists that include the current inventory status.
Woldgang P. Baermann, assistant director of finance at Hyatt's SCC, said, "The next step could be a live connection to a procurement system that would deliver the required goods automatically without the need for a purchase order. The necessary interface could be provided in Epicor." Epicor also contains predefined export routines to send accounting data to consolidation systems such as Hyperion®.
An emergency decision
By implementing Epicor, Hyatt has managed to establish a standardized solution for accounting in all its hotels outside the U.S. The decision to do this 10 years ago was a necessary one. "When we were about to open further three hotels in Germany in 1998, we had already decided on an accounting solution that met our multi-client requirements. Unfortunately, the provider went bankrupt during the implementation phase, so we had to look for another solution as quickly as possible.," said Baermann. A hotel that Hyatt had just acquired for management in Almaty (Kazakhstan) was already working with Epicor and it was recommended that Hyatt consider it; a recommendation that was followed. This was partly because the Epicor solution is multi-client-capable, allowing it to be used for all the other hotels. Another reason was that the software had enough "hotel experience," making implementation relatively simple.
Finally, the crucial factor was the more favorable price compared with products such as Oracle or SAP®. After a decision-making and business requirement review process lasting one month, implementation of Epicor could begin.
"Compared with how we now add new hotels, the process then was a little more complicated," said Baermann. "To allow all four German Hyatt Hotels to access a central application, we had to use the Citrix® distribution software to provide applications on a distributed basis. The initial implementation process took a total of three months and Hyatt went live on January 2, 1998. There were no further technical problems when incorporating all the other hotels.
The only pre-requisite required, and that still remains important, is a certain amount of discipline when preparing the data. Careful import of established customers, suppliers with all bank details and of the warehouse items allows all the data to be transferred smoothly into Epicor."
From chef to business director
A new hotel can now be connected to the financial software within four to six weeks, including training sessions for hotel employees. Epicor sends one or two consultants to take on the technical side of the implementation and to train the staff. "The Epicor consultants always have many years of experience with the product. Above all, they also know how hotel people think. They understand the questions from the kitchen, the restaurant or the accounting department, and they also bring very helpful documentation along.
Of course, we also use our internal Epicor specialists for these training courses. For example, we have our own experts to deal with the software in every region apart from the U.S. (where we use Oracle Financials)," says Baermann. This allows a streamlined implementation of Epicor around the globe. Alongside Hyatt's internal experts and the Epicor consultants, every implementation project team also includes the finance director, the purchasing director, and the food & beverage director.
Because a greater proportion of Hyatt employees outside the U.S. work with the software, Epicor often receives a wide range of customer feedback from Hyatt users. The Shared Services Centre in Mainz is responsible for gathering all improvement suggestions. It also performs a preliminary check on them and forwards them at least once a year to the relevant key account processor in Epicor's Hospitality department. "Epicor does its best to meet requests where there are no technical conflicts between different modules that prevent their implementation," says Baermann.
Less workload, more security
The Epicor solution has greatly reduced the workload at the Shared Services Centre. The administration time needed to manage software related activities has decreased whilst the levels of control and security have been improved. Epicor allows role-based access to individual functions depending on the role of a given user, assisting with the implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley controls such as
segregation of duties.
The Shared Services Centre can now access important information from the software to create ad-hoc reports by using the SnapSearch feature, unlike with the previous version where all reports were hard-coded. If someone at Hyatt suddenly needs, for example, a list of all inventory items from a specific supplier along with the most recent price for those items, he or she can send a request to the Shared Services Centre and will receive the report within half an hour. If such a report is considered useful to the whole group of hotels linked to the Shared Services Centre, they can easily be deployed through the iScala® menu structure.
"We're very pleased with the Epicor solution, but we're also looking forward to Epicor's future developments," said Woldgang Baermann, giving a positive assessment of a ten-year business relationship that ensures every guest is always served his or her spaghetti promptly and with a smile.
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.