National supply chain specialist, Vector Logistics, is reaping significant benefits from an automated data analytics solution implemented by Keyrus. These include substantial time savings, reduced key person dependency and improved efficiency.
Headquartered in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Vector Logistics offers Sales solutions, Supply chain intelligence, Warehousing, Distribution, Credit Management and Imports/ Exports services. The organisation underwent a multi-million rand infrastructure expansion in 2017 and is now a specialist multi-temperature service provider. It serves food manufacturers, food-service groups and national retailers, bringing their leading brands to the market.
The Vector Logistics’ Sales & merchandising analytics team needed vastly improved response times to update merchandising call cycles. Users spent extensive amount of time manually extracting and consolidating files from enterprise resource planning (ERP) system SAP and using Microsoft Power Query in Excel. This process consumed approximately four days each month.
The task was to create an automated workflow system to significantly reduce the manual effort involved in extracting, mapping and preparing data. Unstructured customer portal data needed to be mapped to SAP Business Warehouse (BW) to reduce the effort involved in cleansing data, previously completed using manual interventions including Microsoft Excel Text to Columns and VLOOKUP.
“The aim was to optimise the creation of Vector Logistics’ merchandising call cycles by combining a variety of sources leveraging leading modern technology tools,” says Stephen Coull, Sales Director at Keyrus.
Keyrus is a tool agnostic consultancy that prides itself on selecting the best technology tools to meet clients’ business challenges.
Based on the business brief, it was evident that a leading analytic process automation (APA) technology would be an ideal fit. Keyrus, as a global premier partner, introduced a Gartner Quadrant Leader in this space, Alteryx, which provides end-to-end analytics, data science and process automation. The solution includes the Alteryx Designer to build the automated workflows and was complimented by the Alteryx Connector for SAP from DVW Analytics, which provides the fastest, easiest way to read data from SAP into Alteryx.
The major immediate benefit for the Vector Logistics’ Sales & merchandising analytics team was dramatically improved response times and enabled higher visibility of granular store detail from disparate systems. The time taken to update call cycles has been shortened by approximately half. The Sales & merchandising team no longer needs to invest four days to ensure accuracy of their call cycles giving them greater confidence in where their teams are spending time. Combined with granular visibility of mapped till sales, they now have the ability to ensure that the in-store teams know where to focus their efforts.
The recently completed optimisation and automation implementation has also resulted in increased accuracy and consistency. The organisation is benefitting from repeatable, robust workflow that is no longer key person dependent, and the Sales & merchandising analytics team is better able to focus on its core business.
In addition, the solution was non-invasive. It was overlaid on existing systems and integrated with existing data, minimising disruption to the organisation’s existing IT architecture.
“The solution is easy to use and able to master workflows quickly,” says Ashleigh Jacobs, Supply Chain Solutions Architect at Vector Logistics. “We now have a business tool, rather than a technology tool, which has completely transformed our process. In line with our vision to be in the front line of progress and innovation in our industry, the tools introduced to our analysts will enable them to accelerate their data science journey and assist the overall digital transformation of the company.”
“Our team of experts is equipped to enable true digital transformation,” says Stephen Coull. “We aim to move companies away from tedious manual intervention through automation and are extremely happy to witness the positive impact on our client’s operations.”
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