To make its global sales planning for more than 20,000 products more accurate, Jiffy Group is deploying a combination of Oracle NSPB (NetSuite Planning and Budgeting) and Microsoft Power BI. An integrated team of BI and EPM support specialists developed the interface and a robust data warehouse. This combined setup ensures continuity.
Annabel van Leeuwen, Martin Hes and Martin de Haan
"We aim to become more data-driven as an organization. When I came in here a few years ago, there was no BI yet, but we did need insights," said Martin Hes, CFO at Jiffy Group.
Jiffy Group develops and produces substrates and innovative cultivation systems at various production sites worldwide. With its extensive product range, the company offers sustainable solutions for growing and cultivating vegetables, fruits, trees, and plants. Jiffy employs more than 1,000 people worldwide.
"I wanted great tools to get value-added information. In the past, I have seen how BI worked. We wanted to get it right the first time and do so quickly - we needed help with that."
Outsourcing the support of Oracle NSPB and Microsoft Power BI
Jiffy Group has outsourced the support and further development of Oracle NSPB and Microsoft Power BI to Swap Support. The decision to outsource was a well-considered choice. Martin: "I wanted great tools to get value-added information. In the past, I have seen how BI worked. We wanted to get it right the first time and do so quickly - we needed help with that."
Internally, there was no experience with this type of system yet. "Someone within the sales team had started setting up a database in Power BI. However, he quickly got stuck."
Developing an interface between Oracle NSPB and Microsoft Power BI
An important step was to develop the interface between Oracle NSPB (NetSuite Planning and Budgeting) and the data warehouse using Microsoft Power BI as the front-end visualization tool. The ERP system uses the same interface, and the data is combined in the data warehouse.
"We wanted to go to a single source of truth," Martin said. "With the interface, we avoid having different data in different systems. Especially for the master data, it is essential to keep it consistent and combine the information from different sources." Another advantage is that with Azure Data Factory, there is no need to load data manually.
The interface is the foundation for the next step. "Our vision is to fully integrate the sales forecast and the forecast for operational planning."
Setting up and monitoring the data warehouse
The support and further development by Swap Support are not just about the front end - the back end is just as important. Martin: "We wanted to set up a robust data warehouse – now and for the future. In time, we also want to add other data sources."
"Users don't see the back end itself, but they do see the benefits of data that is refreshed every day without any problem," said Annabel van Leeuwen, BI support specialist at Swap Support.
"We have few problems with the systems," agreed Martin. In the beginning, some performance issues occurred because there was so much data in the systems. "Together with Swap Support, we figured out what caused the problems: the network, the data warehouse, or the licenses. This approach helped us solve these issues."
Sales reporting is also business-critical
"Reliability and continuity are important, especially as we keep expanding," Martin continued. "If too much goes wrong, the system's credibility decreases, and people start developing alternative ways to get data."
Sales reporting is, in its essence, not business-critical, but it is used extensively by Jiffy. "Our CEO and sales management now look at the BI dashboards daily, and our sales team uses it continuously, for example, for up-to-date information on open orders. This usage makes these systems business-critical for us: if they go down, it results in inefficiency and lost time," Martin stated.
Outsourcing and building internal knowledge
Swap Support's support team also helped develop internal knowledge. "We planned to outsource but simultaneously develop internal IT competence," said Martin.
With the arrival of a new internal BI specialist, Swap Support continues to do some of the support and development. "In terms of continuity, this is important, as it makes us less dependent on one person."
Integrated Service Desk for EPM and BI
Jiffy is enthusiastic about working with Swap Support. "The support specialists are informal and professional. For a robust data warehouse, several roads lead to Rome, so you want to work with people who have done it before. In addition, the speed of response is something in which they excel."
Swap Support works with one integrated Service Desk for EPM and BI. "The integrated support is easy for us," Martin stated. "The continuity and knowledge make this setup enjoyable."
Behavioral change to data-driven work
Two of the biggest dilemmas were data quality and changing user behavior. "Swap Support also helped us well with change management. For example, with training for the users, but also by developing an app in which people can easily complete missing data."
Moreover, the amount of detail included in the forecast was well-considered. "With 20,000 products, an 18-month forecast quickly becomes very large," explained Martin de Haan, EPM support consultant at Swap Support.
The benefit of integrating EPM and BI support also showed when making these considerations. Annabel: "When building the interface, the integrated approach enabled us to take this into account immediately."
"As an organization, we are going through a tremendous development because we are starting to see the value of data."
The value of data
The combination of Oracle NSPB and Power BI is quickly yielding results. "As an organization, we are going through a tremendous development because we are starting to see the value of data. We can provide better information and analyses, giving us better insights about profitability and sales performance to make the right decisions."
This setup has had a positive impact on his role as CFO. Martin: "In the past, the sales team came looking for numbers, now they get daily insights. That makes my life a lot easier and the sales team a bit more independent: now, sales can do the analyses themselves with the sales manager instead of waiting until we have the monthly reports ready."
Better planning and savings
Ultimately, Martin also expects the setup to yield savings: "We have a more structured process, which improves quality. That results in better planning, which allows the operational departments to purchase and produce even better."
Join our webinar
Discover more about NetSuite Planning and Budgeting and how to provide your organization with a smooth and reliable budgeting process. Please note: The webinar is in Dutch only!
Date: 26 March 2024
Time: 16:00 - 16:30 CET
You may also like
These related stories