Case Study: Manufacturing company gains actionable insights and strategic reporting

Case STudy Manufacturing Company

The Pain Point

A chemical and minerals manufacturing and distribution group operating in niche South African markets required timely and accurate reporting on their various operating companies’ daily sales figures, as well as a group consolidation. These figures are critical for executive management to understand delivery against each operation’s sales forecasts, enabling them to respond strategically should the numbers be below, or above, expectation.

Each operation had been acquired by the group due to their niche leadership status, and as a result every entity has different operational and transactional systems which are not integrated.

This freedom to operate as before meant that the process to consolidate sales figures required manual consolidation, both at an operational and at a group level. This process was not only time consuming but was fraught with the risk that executive management could be presented with inaccurate figures.

Additionally, not every operation provided their figures timeously which resulted in group management being “blind” to the status of each business and the group as a whole.

The Solution

Altron Karabina, the leading South African Microsoft data and analytics partner, helped their customer to standardise their input templates for ease of ingestion, and created an automated loading process to consolidate the various opco inputs into a centrally conformed data warehouse built on SQL 2019.

The Excel Sales Flash report was rebuilt in Power BI, allowing easy mobile access for executives, and exception reporting was also created to highlight the operations that had not submitted sales figures for the day.

This was achieved by leveraging a Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine configured with Microsoft’s Business Intelligence stack of products and solutions including:

  • SQL Server 2019 for the database and job scheduling,
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) for the Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) packages,
  • and finally Power BI, with mobile enabled cloud functionality, to deliver the information seamlessly to executive management.

 

The Result

The ingestion template was standardised, which seamlessly automated the process of loading and collating the various opco sales figures, which significantly reduced errors, as well as time “wasted” collating and creating a consolidated report pack.

The data is now ingested automatically and stored in a central warehouse that can be expanded upon for future reporting requirements.

Exception reporting helps management identify those operational business units that have yet to submit their information which can then be addressed on an individual basis.

With the mobile functionality on Power BI, management can access sales trends as and when required, on whatever device they choose.

Utilising Power BI allowed for advanced analytics such as analysis of trends over time in the underlying sales data, which was not possible previously.

In summary, the project delivered actionable results for the client, which has enabled them to further expand on their strategic reporting roadmap and has showcased the abilities of the Microsoft stack to provide solutions to everyday problems.

Altron Karabina displayed not only their ability to solve an organisation’s reporting challenges but also provided the client with insight into the full potential of Microsoft’s technology to help them along their Digital Transformation journey.

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