Case Studies

Phoenix Contact

Live Insight Starts a Revelation

Industrial automation manufacturer, Phoenix Contact, astutely realised that wider access to timely data would nurture a greater sense of ownership of company performance among its workforce. It turned to DSCallards, as an SAP partner, to provide real-time visibility into its day-to-day operations.

The Challenge

Established in 1985, Phoenix Contact is a leading German manufacturer of electrical connection and industrial automation equipment, with a UK subsidiary. The arrival of a new management team in 2009, tasked with driving UK sales and increasing market share, led to greater recognition of the valuable role information can play in improving performance. By making timely, accurate data more widely accessible within the organisation, it hoped to create greater employee engagement and help staff understand the relationship between their department’s contribution and the overall performance of the company.

Information within our company was traditionally hard to access and regarded as confidential. Each department was working hard, but on its own agenda. The new management team wanted to refocus the company on sales and ensure everyone was working towards the same objectives. By increasing access to information, we hoped to transform our culture and energise staff to deliver the results we were looking for.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

Phoenix Contact turned to DSCallards, an SAP partner with which it had a trusted, ongoing relationship, to help it develop the type of reporting that would deliver “everyone, everywhere” insight.

The Solution

The project began bottom-up with a single, urgent requirement for a report. DSCallards was able to provide Phoenix Contact with the visibility it needed through three strategic dashboards.

To begin with, everything was highly tactical. Our data had previously been fragmented across multiple systems, creating organisational silos that meant we weren’t as effective as we should have been. Being able to see everything in one place was a revelation.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

As business managers started to see the benefits of increased insight, Phoenix Contact started to develop a real appetite for information and further requests for reporting emerged. DSCallards set out to understand the key drivers and uncover deeper business goals.

DSCallards really listened to our needs, often facilitating discussions we might not have had internally, to get a clear picture of our objectives and where the value lay. They didn’t dictate how we should do business – they simply enabled us to get more value from our data to hit our targets while preserving our uniqueness.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

In response, DSCallards implemented SAP BusinessObjects, an affordable suite of Business Intelligence tools that provide mid-sized organisations like Phoenix Contact with flexible, ad-hoc reporting, query, analysis and dashboards to support data-driven decisions.

The project grew rapidly in response to evolving business needs, and has delivered value at every step along the way – progressing from modest reporting to a sophisticated, real-time business intelligence solution that is helping us drive the business forward. And it was all achieved without significant disruption to our day-to-day operations and at an affordable price.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

The Business Benefit

Today, Phoenix Contact exemplifies how a mid-sized business can benefit from the kind of BI that was once thought to be the preserve of large corporates.

Key to transforming our performance was exposing what was going on in our business, as this tends to concentrate people’s minds on understanding their own impact and improving their individual or departmental performance. For example, we wanted to boost sales so we provided each member of the team with their own up-to-date sales figures as well as benchmarking them against their colleagues. This was displayed on a flat screen as well as being accessible via mobile devices. Being competitive people, making this information public was highly motivating to our sales people.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

Now, however, it’s no longer just the commercial team that’s interested in sales figures – it’s everyone. Martin believes this brings everyone in the company together in a unified effort.

You can see the effect of the numbers on performance in realtime, which has an amazing influence. Recently, we added a new statistic to the screens which showed the value of outstanding orders. You could see the figure dropping almost immediately, because as soon as our staff were aware that these orders were in danger of late shipping – and disappointing our customers – they pulled out all the stops to get them out the door. The numbers focus attention and incentivise everyone to do their very best.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

A further benefit is that decision-makers spend more time considering next steps, instead of collating reports. Martin says:

There’s a lot more things we want to do with SAP BusinessObjects, including making the data even more accessible via smartphones carrying out the kind of analysis that will help us generate even more sales leads. We’re also continually expanding the metrics we’re looking at – currently we’re exposing sales, finance and logistics measures but we plan to move beyond these in future.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

What would Martin advise other business contemplating a similar implementation?

If you’re going to have a successful project you need to know what that looks like, so it’s important to carefully define key performance indicators and measure whether you’re achieving these. To date, we’ve defined 100 KPIs and we’ve hit every one.

The results are quite literally there for all to see – despite tough conditions in the general UK economy, we grew our sales aggressively by 32% in 2010, largely outperforming our nearest competitor. Furthermore, we’ve increased sales by a further 20% in the first six months of 2011 alone. It just shows what happens when employees feel they ‘own’ the company’s performance.

Martin Potter, Sales and Marketing Director

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