Mint nears project finish line

The U.S. Mint is serious about reinventing its work culture.


In the final phase of the Treasury Department bureau's business process re-engineering
plan, it will be up to PeopleSoft Inc.'s Enterprise Resource Planning application "to
drive the final cultural changes," said John P. Mitchell, the deputy director.


Mitchell said deploying the packaged manufacturing, distribution and financial software
will expedite cultural changes that he and other top-level officials want to bring to the
bureau. The Mint bought the ERP commercial package and services from PeopleSoft of
Pleasanton, Calif., for about $16 million.


Employees will have to adapt to ERP to some degree--in some cases, "to a large
degree," Mitchell said. "There will be very little customization of these
packages. Our goal is not to customize them whatsoever."


If an ADP person a few years ago had told Mitchell the bureau would have to change its
way of doing business to fit a new ADP system, Mitchell said he would have replied,
"No, it's your job to give me what I need."


To turn away from that and give the lead role to integrated business and financial
processes is "a big leap forward for us," Mitchell said.


The Mint started its reinvention efforts without any integrated systems. Although data
had been reliable from the current manual and nonintegrated systems, Mitchell said,
managers have had to spend too much time and effort to build reports.


The bureau operates the two largest coin-stamping operations in the world at
Philadelphia and Denver. In the last couple of years, each plant has stamped 10 billion
coins, which puts the Mint into the category of very large manufacturers.


"We need manufacturing data," Mitchell said. "We need to know where our
products are, how the manufacturing lines are working and how efficient they are. We need
customer service information to be able to segment our markets and know who has bought
what. We need to target our mailings to minimize costs."


A few years ago, the Mint became self-funding and no longer dependent on Congress for
its budget. There is a fixed timetable for moving off current systems and over to the
PeopleSoft integrated modules, which officials have renamed the Consolidated Information
System, or COINS.


COINS will make the bureau year 2000-ready without any recoding of complex financial
systems. The integrated financial and manufacturing system also will help it comply with
the Chief Financial Officers Act, Mitchell said.


The Mint is beginning its conversion with PeopleSoft 7.0, the first three-tier
architecture release. The computer hardware for COINS has not been selected.


Besides the PeopleSoft modules, COINS will have an integrated marketing data warehouse
populated with data from Computer Associates International Inc. mainframe CA-IDMS
databases as well as PC and manual data sources. Commercial ERP packages "aren't yet
real strong on marketing, database analysis and marketing sales projections,"
Mitchell said.


The Mint has already built the marketing warehouse using Microsoft SQL Server,
Microsoft Windows NT Server and a set of end-user analytical tools known as the Marketing
Workbench. Officials refer to the data warehouse as the Marketing Customer Service
Reinvention Project, or MARCUS.


The bureau's marketing staff of 100 works to make U.S. commemorative and bullion coins
and numismatic products competitive in the global collectibles market.


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