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„With Qlik Sense we can use data values earlier, meaning we can also react more quickly to business developments with well-founded, data-based decisions.“
Simon Fluri, Head of Finance / IT, Member of the Executive Board, Florin AG
Florin AG, based in Muttenz, is the largest manufacturer of edible oils, edible fats and margarines in Switzerland. The range of services covers all the production steps from extraction of the raw materials to pressing in the company's own oil mill to production and distribution of the end products. The independent, family-owned Swiss company only uses raw materials from traditional cultivation and deliberately does without any genetically modified raw materials. Florin stands not only for quality but also for sustainability: The vegetable residues derived for the most part from rapeseed and sunflower seeds are further processed as animal feed. With its approximately 135 employees, Florin supplies the catering and bakery industries, retail trade and the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries.
Departments: controlling, production, laboratory, human resources
Region: Muttenz (Switzerland)
Data sources: SAP, Excel
Utilized technologies: Qlik Sense as analytics solution with integrated SAP connector
ROI & Time-to-value: Reports based on up-to-date instead of two-month old data.
Timely display of limit value deviations from quality parameters to enable controlling interventions.
One of the Florin guidelines is profitability as the basis of the company's future. Being able to think and act cost-consciously requires transparency on figures. This is where Florin saw potential for optimisation, as Simon Fluri, Head of Finance / IT and member of the Executive Board of Florin AG, explains: "Controlling regularly prepares a cost centre report for the various production departments. It is based on data from our SAP system and other Excel tables. Excel was the tool we used. The process was too time-intensive for our liking, so the effective evaluations were only available about two months later, when they were no longer current. What is more, the tendency of errors to creep in due to the manual process did not sit well with our quality standards. So we were looking for an alternative in the form of a business intelligence solution which we could use to evaluate the data more quickly and without any effort."
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Various solutions were evaluated. Qlik was a convincing choice due to its attractive price-performance ratio and the fact that is very user-friendly. Another decisive factor was the self-service approach, which enables users to independently create analyses and reports according to their own information needs. The integrated connector for direct SAP data transfer was also a decisive criterion for the choice of Qlik as the BI software.
Florin brought in reinforcements from the immediate vicinity to implement the project: Informatec, which is also based in Muttenz, is a specialist for data integration and data analytics and, as a Qlik Elite Solution Provider, has comprehensive technological know-how and a wide range of practical experience to be able to offer all-round holistic support in BI projects for companies such as Florin AG.
Fluri was not only satisfied with the cooperation due to the short distances – the technical aspects also ran smoothly. After about seven months, the solution went into productive operation. "Had we worked more intensively on the project it would certainly have been implemented more quickly," says Simon Fluri. "However, we continued working on our day-to-day business and other projects alongside the solution, so we didn't go at a high pace."
Informatec supported Florin with coaching to ensure that a thoroughgoing know-how transfer took place during the project. "In the end, we were able to implement adaptations and applications for ourselves, so that we can now develop the solution independently", confirms Simon Fluri.
The solution was very well received among the nine cost centre managers. "Working without a paper printout was a completely new experience for our team", recalls Simon Florin. “Instead, we could move around independently and freely within the software and focus in on the details wherever we wanted.”
For each account, the cost centre managers can now visualise exactly whether the last invoices have already been posted or are still pending and what exactly lies behind the balance. "A drill-down to the individual booking level was impossible in Excel", says Simon Fluri.
The four members of the Executive Board also benefit from the newly gained transparency and currentness: "Each post can now be viewed promptly and in detail. This is certainly an added value, because business-critical decisions can be made far more quickly than before. For example, we can see right away whether the costs for maintaining and repairing machines are still within budget or are so high that we have to think carefully about whether investments are still cost-effective", says Simon Fluri.
Florin now also uses other Qlik applications. Among them are a human resources application for monitoring absenteeism, overtime, Sunday hours, etc. Data from a time recording system form the basis. For example, hours can also be graphically mapped over time as they accrue.
In the context of laboratory analysis, Qlik is used to evaluate quality data, mostly in connection with legal or customer-specific limit values for fat and oil refinement. "Qlik flags any emerging tendencies of glycidol fatty acid ester values to exceeding customer-specific or legally prescribed limits, which could potentially negatively impact the deliverability of the final product. This allows us to take appropriate countermeasures in a further refining step", explains Simon Fluri.
In addition, Qlik is used to analyse data points from production. These include parameters from the oil mill, in particular the amount of oil extracted from the seed or the residual oil content in the vegetable residues. "Our mill processes about 220 tonnes of seed a day. Customs duties are directly or indirectly imposed on this seed. So it is important for us to extract as much oil as possible from the seed, which is apparent when we detect the lowest possible residual oil content in the plant residues. Only thus can we extract the maximum oil content from the valuable seeds and work cost-effectively. We must know as soon as possible whether there are any deviations from the target values so that we can readjust the mill settings, such as temperature, resting time, etc. And thanks to Qlik, we do."
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Florin's wish list for Qlik not only includes the refinement of laboratory and production evaluations, but also a number of other applications. For example, one for the filling plant and the mapping of the entire complex refinery processes.
„For us, the biggest advantages of Qlik lie in the availability of more up-to-date data, the graphical and thus comprehensible visualisation of the information and the high performance and intuitive usability."
Implementation of Qlik Sense and provision of applications for controlling, production, laboratory, human resources