How Newcomp Analytics partners with IBM to advance clients’ supply chain insights
When Newcomp Analytics started working with chocolatier Lindt Canada more than 15 years ago to support their supply chain, Lindt had no full-time IT personnel for analytics. Lindt now has a team of 10, including a business intelligence (BI) manager and BI developer analysts. Yet Newcomp continues to be an essential and trusted partner, helping the company keep up with the high volume of analytics solutions it needs to address. “Newcomp has a track record of delivering with no surprises,” says John Walter, IT Director at Lindt Canada.
Helping clients close the business analytics skills gap
What makes Newcomp so invaluable to clients like Lindt? The company’s up-to-date expertise with IBM Cognos Analytics and their close relationship with IBM are key factors. Brian Simpson, VP, Analytics & Performance Management at Newcomp Analytics says “Newcomp has been a strong partner with IBM for many years, dating back to the early days of Cognos Analytics. IBM has the best channel ecosystem in the market today… it’s like a well-oiled machine. They are the standard to which we hold all other vendors.”
“There’s a lot of demand for analytic skills in general, a lot of demand for Cognos Analytics… and organizations are all fighting for a limited number of resources,” says Brian Simpson. “As an IBM business partner, we can bring those skills in a temporary capacity to the organization, help them with the heavy lifting, and get the project completed, so they don’t have to have a roadblock of needing to recruit and train analytics professionals—they can do the project while building those skills in-house.”
Lindt has used Cognos Analytics for more than 20 years as an analytics solution for its sales and marketing functions. The application provided these teams with valuable business intelligence and trend analyses across a wide variety of variables from single SKUs to product categories, from store-by-store sales to regional trends, and temporal factors such as seasonality. These insights supported the company’s double-digit growth in Canada during that time.
Extending business analytics to supply chain management
Though a supply chain management team doesn’t directly influence sales, cost-to-serve factors such as transportation and palletization can have a significant influence on profitability when delivering hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of chocolate.
Unfortunately, Lindt’s supply chain management team had been under-serviced. Left to their own devices, they had resorted to using legacy reporting tools such as Excel that required manual gathering, slicing and dicing of data. Consequently, this data was siloed, unshareable, hard to use, lacked quality and governance controls, and could not be used in automated processes.
Newcomp drew on their technical ability and extensive industry experience with CPG metrics, collaborating with Lindt to understand their business challenges and where to optimize. Working with Lindt’s key stakeholders on the supply chain team, they identified key priorities for migrating the team from its legacy tools to Cognos Analytics’ modern data analytics toolset. Lindt’s satisfaction using the application in its sales and marketing capacity bolstered their decision to expand it to the supply chain management while also supporting other key components of their technology stack including Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Server SSIS.
By incorporating new data feeds from transportation providers and warehouses and aggregating these to the master dataset, Newcomp developed a cost-to-serve dashboard in Cognos Analytics. Now Lindt could ask new questions and draw new insights: Why do we spend more shipping to certain retailers? How can we drill into the data to identify underlying factors and get a better outcome?
Advancing clients’ strategic data analytics capabilities
The solution, according to Brian Simpson, was “A huge advance in Lindt Canada’s business intelligence capabilities.” It helped Lindt’s supply chain management team reduce their reliance on Excel, and reduced time and effort. The data ingestion process improved data quality and governance; automation also improved data quality by eliminating manual merge and preparation of calculations. A consolidated view of data is now available through the enterprise data warehouse and through Cognos Analytics. Overall, the solution has increased the speed-to-insight and ability of Lindt’s supply chain team to share and visualize high-level KPIs from their own dashboards and data sets. It has also freed up the executive team’s time to focus on more strategic activities.
Next steps for Newcomp and Lindt: building a dynamic cube in Cognos Analytics and exploring how the company can use IBM Planning Analytics to improve forecasting and data-driven decisions for competitive advantage.
Newcomp has a strong partnership with IBM, maintaining its certifications and expertise to stay at the forefront of business analytics solutions. This in turn makes Newcomp a trusted client partner for companies such as Lindt Canada, consistently delivering value across a growing range of business functions.
Read the detailed case study to learn more about the work Newcomp Analytics and Lindt Canada are doing. To learn more about IBM Business Analytics, watch the replay of the Business Analytics Launch Event, where you can hear more case studies on how others have used IBM Cognos Analytics and IBM Planning Analytics to accelerate decision making.