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With complex, cumbersome and inconsistent spreadsheets for reporting on critical business analytics, Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc sought our support to implement an integrated solution that would drive greater business intelligence for its manufacturing.
With more than 500 stores, Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc (Morrisons) is one of the largest grocery chains present in the U.K. Morrisons offers a range of food products, such as grocery, fresh and frozen foods as well as beverages, including alcohol products. The retail chain also sells nonfood items, including health and beauty products, household goods and baby products. Morrisons also manufactures and distributes fresh foods and handles meat processing activities.
Business intelligence (BI) is a powerful tool for any enterprise, regardless of the company size or industry. With a proper and effective mechanism for capturing BI, organizations can gain a near real‑time 360-degree view of operations. By leveraging the right BI solution, organizations are able to capture and track data in a consistent format, then easily extrapolate information about the data to inform business decisions. For organizations in the manufacturing space, insight into the supply chain is critical. Products such as Oracle Manufacturing Analytics enable producers to manage their supply chain throughout the manufacturing life cycle. Without an effective and timely mechanism for obtaining and generating meaningful data, manufacturing has greater variability thereby leaving room for waste and inefficiency.
Meaningful operational data offers visibility into production processes; with data-driven insights, decision makers can poke holes in existing processes, identify inefficiencies as well as bottlenecks, and then explore ways to optimize production. Without this kind of data, businesses have limited awareness and insight into numerous aspects of manufacturing, like just how much is being spent on production, work‑order performance related to on-time completions and quality, and what cost variances look like. Manufacturing data also allows organizations to monitor and track the volume of inventory and where individual products are in the stage of their shelf life. The longer inventory sits on the shelf, the longer a business’s cash flow is stuck. And with products that expire (i.e., fresh food), monitoring the flow of inventory is essential to reduce waste.
DAC, Informatica 8.6.1, Oracle Business Intelligence Applications 7961, Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition 10g, Oracle Manufacturing Analytics
With more than 500 locations, Morrisons would greatly benefit from having a streamlined and consistent way of collecting, managing and analyzing data. As one of the largest fresh food manufacturers in the U.K. with 18 production sites and plans for more, Morrisons follows a vertically integrated business model—they buy, make, move and sell their products. For food producers, especially meat manufacturers, tracking the production life cycle and meat quality is imperative not only for the business but also for the safety of consumers.
However, the client did not have a proper means for gathering intelligence and making it meaningful. There was an abundance of data but limited management over the information and over-reliance on key individuals. Manufacturing data was recorded manually across the multiple manufacturing sites, and the reporting format was inconsistent. The client was using complex spreadsheets to build intelligence out of transactional reports. This made it difficult to digest the information and use it to make actionable business decisions. Key performance indicators were difficult to navigate and track, as they were buried in the complex spreadsheets. Further underscoring the need for change, this approach also created potential for human error during data consolidation, resulting in a subsequent loss of time discussing the wrong numbers.
Morrisons required a partner to deliver an integrated solution that would provide visibility into the supply chain, including planning, manufacturing execution, manufacturing quality and inventory builds. For example, the client wanted to be able to:
To gain these capabilities, Morrisons sought consistent reporting that they could examine holistically across manufacturing sites, as opposed to looking at the data independently. The solution would need to be deployed and adopted across the manufacturing plants.
TEKsystems® proposed establishing a standardized front-end solution to streamline and enhance Morrisons’ reporting capabilities to enable meaningful information. Specifically, we would facilitate the design and development of a landing dashboard across different manufacturing facilities leveraging Oracle Manufacturing Analytics. We would incorporate existing manufacturing facility-specific dashboards and reports into the consolidated dashboard. Our solution would offer metrics, including plan to production, yield, resource utilization, material usage variance, inventory on hand, expired and expiring inventory, and production attainment. TEKsystems would review the client’s existing catalogue of definitions and layout, and restructure when necessary in order to enhance user understanding and ease of access to data.
TEKsystems would collaborate with Morrisons on methodology, specific standards and reporting requirements to ensure we adhere to internal client processes and address top priorities. We would be responsible for conducting stand-alone unit and component testing as well as user acceptance testing. We would implement required table changes and introduce master data into the test environments and/or provide suitable release notes. We would first implement our solution across certain product categories in order to demonstrate success, and then roll out the solution across subsequent organizations, tailoring as needed. We would develop test plans and a test strategy, a functional design document, a technical design document, test cases, and a cutover plan.
In terms of project governance throughout the course of the engagement, TEKsystems would manage the work on a day-to-day basis; to keep Morrisons abreast of our progress, we would provide written and in-person weekly status updates including project progress, our plans for the next period, upcoming milestones, any dependencies, as well as any potential risks or issues. We would coordinate with the client’s management information systems (MIS) team on all configurable items, their release from environment to environment, as well as their incorporation into the enterprise data warehouse (EDW).
Morrisons selected TEKsystems for this engagement for several key reasons. Not only are we an Oracle R&D co-development partner, but we were also recommended by Oracle for our Manufacturing and EAM Analytics expertise, and we are Oracle’s No. 1 recommended partner for large global deployments; we have successfully facilitated more than 250 live implementations. In addition to having the support of a reputable and relevant industry leader, we also offered deep domain experience in the manufacturing and consumer packaged goods spaces, furthering our relevance to Morrisons’ needs. Overall, Morrisons gained confidence in our extensive—and proven—knowledge, experience and reputation; the client also appreciated our delivery of customized processes, templates and reporting for BI applications, implementations and upgrades.
TEKsystems developed a strong understanding of Morrisons’ business processes and reporting requirements; this enabled us to make informed suggestions on refinements and challenge requirements. We decided to provide an out‑of‑the‑box installation of Oracle Manufacturing Analytics with customization unique to the client’s needs. As a result, we were able to successfully build and implement Manufacturing Analytics, train users and roll out the system across multiple manufacturing plants.
With our support the client’s reporting has been enhanced, any defects have a faster turnaround time, and load times have been improved in order to stay more closely on target with the client’s service level agreements. Manufacturing Analytics has realized a high rate of user adoption and has become an integral part of the business decision-making process related to stock holding—which improved by 100 percent—as well as plan attainment and labor variance. The client also realized significant reductions in stock days, working capital and overall wastage.
With our analytics solution, Morrisons was able to build actionable reports and exception‑based reports to improve business processes. Comparisons could be made across the manufacturing sites, which previously would have been a cumbersome and challenging task. Our support enabled the client to move away from instinctive decision making in favor of decisions based on facts.
Additionally, key performance indicators became aligned across the various manufacturing sites. Previously, the client may have identified incorrect performance indicators as the driver of certain business behaviors. Decisions made on inaccurate information were ineffective and counterproductive. The standardization that we provided allowed for more accurate reporting, tracking and comparing; the source cause of certain business behaviors could be more accurately identified and subsequently better informed decisions could be made.
Time is another significant advantage that the client realized after our implementation. Before, more time and effort was expelled producing the report rather than actually analyzing and understanding how all the data translated. The solution we provided generates timely information and insights so that decisions can be made more quickly and resources don’t lose time trying to create spreadsheets. Morrisons’ BI reports are now more closely aligned with the needs of the business and can flex as needs evolve.
Through our relevant expertise, knowledge of the client’s business and added perspective, we were able to deliver and exceed Morrisons’ expectations.
Morrisons required a partner with an in-depth understanding of the business of process manufacturing. With deep domain experience in manufacturing as well as consumer packaged goods, TEKsystems was able to provide the expertise that the client needed to optimize its reporting. As opposed to other vendors, our knowledge and experience enabled us to act as an advisory partner that could consult on the best solution for the company.
Given the size and span of this implementation, it was critical that the partner of choice understood Morrisons and spoke the language of their business. We collaborated with the client to ensure we understood processes and priorities. This enabled us to develop the optimal solution for Morrisons' unique needs, then quickly translate value back to the client.
Establishing business requirements up front was essential to ensuring the optimal solution was implemented. We worked with the client early on to clearly define requirements that needed to be incorporated into the reporting. We helped map the requirements, and instead of agreeing with everything, we challenged any requirements that would not deliver actionable insights. As opposed to focusing on the reporting alone, we also considered the end-to-end flow and big picture of how this would affect the business. Our added perspective and advising enabled Morrisons to gain easily accessible, consistent and digestible reporting across manufacturing sites.