Highland Spring captures data at the source with self service BI

iStock Hymra water bottle Highland Spring Evian
©iStock/Hymra

Highland Spring is improving its commercial and operational efforts across the organisation after deploying a self-service reporting tool from reporting vendor Qlik.

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Highland Spring is improving its commercial and operational efforts across the organisation after deploying a self-service reporting tool from Qlik.

It has improved efficiency amongst sales; financial and transport teams since replacing its legacy Infor data tool with QlikView, its head of Information Services told ComputerworldUK.

“We wanted to give the sales team access to the data when they needed it, and change how they worked. The existing system heavily relied on an essential group of financial analysts to group that data and push it out to them. It was on a request basis and we needed to make a step change to how the sales team worked - and help them look at key metrics themselves.

“It has already made account managers out in the field more effective,” Alison Hanning, head of information services at Highland Spring said.

The Scottish business bottles 500 million litres of water a year, in five sites across the UK, delivering both to large retailer’s distribution centres and directly to its smaller customers. Its small in-house IT team, lead by Hanning, work across the clock to keep the site running as smoothly as possible, maintaining its bespoke data collection system on the factory floor as well as its core Infor ERP and financial and supply chain modules.

Like many UK companies, Highland Spring’s executives and sales team on its commercial arm are under pressure to produce and use sales and promotional data to base decisions on. It needed to find a way to free up time of its financial analysts, who were inundated with requests from the sales team to create reports in time for meetings.

Hanning and the team pored over a range of dashboard tools, to create a “self service” culture amongst its workforce. It settled on QlikView, which will replace its Infor CPM tool, which operates on top of its underlying Infor ERP and supply chain products.

Highland Spring's executive and sales teams' dashboards are based on performance drivers including volume, sales value, net margins and the effectiveness of promotions.

Since deploying the dashboards, Highland Spring’s financial analysts have reported at least “a couple of days a week” in time reduction already thanks to the new tool.

Operational data

Now IT has moved its attention to making the most of its operational data, including transport and delivery methods. It's an iniative that has reduced the bottler’s costs and helped improve customer service, Hanning said.

Using QlikView to report on its booking service for delivery vehicles means the operational team get a better understanding of where there are delays and how long vehicles should spend time loading on Highland Springs’ main shipment site.

Hanning has created dashboards to manage time spent on site loading, leaving and arrival times and the efficiencies of transport bookings on a daily basis.

“This means customer service is improved as well as cost reductions due to efficiency,” she added.

Despite the positive feedback and improved effiency, the deployment did come with one downfall Hanning warned. The IT team has become a “victim of its own success,” and is busy creating new dashboards to make the most of data collected within the organisation. "Although," she added, “it’s a good place to be."

Windows 10

Hanning recently migrated all of Highland Spring from XP to Windows 7, and told ComputerworldUK it was unlikely that the firm would be moving to Windows 10 in the near future. The main priority, similarly to many UK organisations, is figuring out the different Microsoft licenses available and the products available for business, she said.

“There is definitely a shift and we are hearing more about it..but it’s not on the agenda for next year.”

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