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Food For Thought | Unlock your competitive advantage

HomeFood For Thought | Unlock your competitive advantage
31 oktober 2023

Within the food-industry the registration of datapoints are usually fragmented across various applications and levels within an organization. Now is the time to unlock their potential! Registration of these datapoints is done for quality purposes, including tracking and tracing of customer specific needs or other external parties. However, almost none of these registered datapoints are currently being leveraged to gain a competitive advantage. Now is the time!

Since the registration of datapoints is in place for over twenty years there is also a lot of historical information available. Usually, the usage of Business Intelligence (BI) and subsequently dashboarding is initiated by the controlling-department, which implies a strong focus on financial data (e.g. open line items / working capital). It might also be used by the sales-department to visualize information. In both cases it is actually another interpretation of an Excel sheet.

In summary, while the food industry has decades of data registration, its utilization is limited both functionally and from a source perspective. Data can be used on all levels within the organization, strategical, tactical, and operational respectively.

Type of source data

We would like to explain the types of source data that are typically found within the food-industry. Secondly, we introduce our best practices and how to get the most insights out of your data. Finally, we will elaborate on the usage of data within the various levels of an organization.

Within a typical organization within the food-industry data is available within multiple sources e.g.:

  • Financial accounting;
  • HR (including time writing);
  • ERP (sales, purchase, planning, quality);
  • MES (stock movement including reception, production and shipping of goods);
  • PLC (machine data).

Multiple sources can also be applicable if the Financial accounting application differs per business unit (e.g. for some units it’s SAP, and others it’s Exact).

Dashboards operate on individual financial accounting data per application, lacking consolidation across various applications within the same functional data domain. Food For Analytics’ vision is to have all data available, in a scalable, flexible, and robust environment, in order to provide your organization a competitive advantage! We provide an out-of-the-box data & analytics-platform with all necessary data, not restricted to a specific source application. Combining SAP and Exact financial data provides a comprehensive overview of your organization's financial position, eliminating blind spots effectively. Which makes additional Excel sheets obsolete.

We would like to extend the usability of the data, a short example with sales data, which is available in the ERP application (order data, shipping data) as well as the financial accounting application (invoice data, payment data, open line items). Extracting sales data from the financial accounting application provides insights into postings per invoice and payment item, enhancing detailed analysis. However, this is on an aggregated level (invoice) and the level of detail is limited as sales-journal postings are almost always consolidated on general ledger (GL) account level. It provides some level of insights. However, we don’t have all the insights that are possible, there is so much more!

What if we enrich the data with sales data from the ERP-application, providing us with insights on the lowest level of registered datapoints. So not only the invoice address, but the various delivery addresses. Next, providing the order date, shipment date and delivery date in addition to the invoice date. And not only the total gross sales, but insights in the volumes and prices per order line. This includes possible promotions with the adjusted prices and the extended volumes per customer. Just a few examples on how you can enrich your data and get to a totally new level of insights.

Another example within the sales domain are claims and complaints; instead of an amount on a credit note you can have insight in why the customer claimed an item or order. And as a cherry on top; this information is historically available, providing you with direct insight a customer and item level. Either on an aggregated or detailed level. Easily gain insights into multiple years by consolidating historical data, enabling effortless comparisons, like side-by-side analysis of Christmas season sales.

The food industry anticipates peak seasons like Easter and Christmas, yet combining internal data with external sources like bank holidays, weather, and events enhances year-round sales activities. Just think about the competitive advantage that you will achieve by combining both internal- and external -data sources!

When the source data is clear we need to visualize this information, Food For Analytics can provide the requested information in a out-of-the-box data & analytics-platform and leave it up to you, or we can help you out by setting up the reports and dashboards. Reports and dashboards can be in various formats, depending on the user / data consumer. In an industrial environment a paper report might be required in order to inform the co-workers on the floor. In the canteen some KPI’s regarding progress / volume suffices. Management prefers data presented in a more aggregated form for easy accessibility on desktop or mobile devices.

This blog covers sources and insights, emphasizing the importance of combining and aligning information needs across different organizational levels effectively. Tactically, present information in dashboards with site-specific KPIs per location or geographical area for precise insights and decision-making. Strategically, aggregate information needs and KPIs across all sources and locations, presenting in the desired format for comprehensive insights.

Do you want your competitive advantage yesterday?! Reach out to us!

Sjors Otten

“Insights without action is worthless”

Sjors Otten is a pragmatic and passionate data & analytics architect. He excels in leveraging the untapped potential of your organization’s data. Sjors has a solid background in Business Informatics and Software Development.

With his years of experience on all levels of IT, Sjors is the go-to-person for breaking down business- and IT-strategies in workable and understandable data & analytics solutions for all levels within your organization whilst maintaining alignment with the defined corporate strategies.

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