Monday, 10th January 2011
Writing about the successful use of a BI tool and beer in one column was just too irresistible given where this will appear. A major Russian Brewery, Baltika, has solved its massive information and data communications need by creating a BI (business intelligence) tool that simplifies its information flow -- something that was desperately needed after having grown in size after a series of mergers. This week FierceCIO published an interview with the CIO regarding the creation and subsequent benefits of this successful BI tool.
The Challenge: The merging of four breweries resulted in 12 production facilities in various time zones employing over 10,000 employees. This caused challenges with logistics, data, warehousing and reporting. A system was needed to allow managers to keep abreast of what was happening in this newly grown distributed environment. Information needed to reflect all aspects of the process: sales centers, suppliers, distributors and delivery operations. In addition information needed to be presented to managers in such a way that they could quickly grasp trends and react to them. Information needed to be gathered and presented in different ways depending on the need. As Herman Epstein, CIO of Baltika, notes “Sales information for marketing is one thing. Sales for production is another thing. Sales for logistics is another thing.”
The Solution: With the help of a product from Panorama Software (http://www.panorama.com), Baltika solved their communications and logistics challenges. A web based centralized tool was created that employees could access via a company Intranet. It provides decision makers with key performance indicators and a set of hierarchical reports consisting of data generated by over 4,500 sales reps. Inventory data is also included and shared with suppliers so that just-in-time deliveries can take place.
The Benefits: Since deploying the new BI tool, the CIO cites benefits in many areas including planning and transportation. In the 2010 hot summer, the brewery had problems fulfilling orders but managers could easily access information on what still needed to be fulfilled and take action. Potential transportation problems were avoided by being able to see exactly where goods were and inform distributors of their arrival time.
Many companies can learn from this experience. Acknowledge when expansions and changes require a new solution and take the time to develop a technology system that will help decision makers to be successful.
With a 40 percent market share in Russia, this company has obviously been doing something right, and it appears that it will continue to succeed by believing that accurate and timely information can provide a competitive edge. Ultimately the tool has “simplified life” for the Brewery according the CIO. Don’t all companies want that? The entire interview from FierceCIO can be found at http://digbig.com/5bdecy
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