Distica gives its partners deeper insight into sales and inventory

Published on 15-May-2013

"The dashboards have absolutely transformed the way we communicate with our partners. Now, they have all the information at their fingertips, and can drill down from high-level summaries to specific subsets of data – right down to individual product names and article numbers." - Gylfi Rútsson, Managing Director, Distica

Customer:
Distica

Industry:
Wholesale Distribution & Services

Deployment country:
Iceland

Solution:
BA - Business Analytics, Business Integration, BA - Business Intelligence, Business Performance Transformation, Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management, Enabling Business Flexibility, Small & Medium Business

IBM Business Partner:
Capacent

Overview

For hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and their patients, timely delivery of pharmaceuticals can literally be a matter of life and death. For island nations like Iceland, where the majority of supplies are imported from other countries, effective logistics becomes even more critical, because the distance that pharmaceutical deliveries need to travel can create long lead times that need to be carefully managed.

Business need:
Pharmaceutical distribution depends on timely information to support efficient logistics. To strengthen its relationships with suppliers, Distica wanted to offer them more insight into sales and inventory data.

Solution:
Distica built a web-based dashboard that allows suppliers to monitor inventory levels, sales turnover and margins in real time, and drill down to the level of individual article numbers to answer specific questions.

Benefits:
Reveals new insights that help Distica and its suppliers deliver the right products to the right customers at the right time. Strengthens Distica’s relationship with its suppliers. Provides competitive advantage over other Icelandic distributors.

Case Study

To read an Icelandic version of this case study, please click here.

For hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and their patients, timely delivery of pharmaceuticals can literally be a matter of life and death. For island nations like Iceland, where the majority of supplies are imported from other countries, effective logistics becomes even more critical, because the distance that pharmaceutical deliveries need to travel can create long lead times that need to be carefully managed.

As Iceland’s leading pharmaceutical and medical distributor, Distica is well aware of the challenges involved. The company has a 73 percent share of the Icelandic pharmaceutical market, and provides warehouse management, logistics and quality management services for Vistor, Artasan and Medor, its sister companies within the Veritas Group, as well as for third parties such as GSK, Lundbeck, Actavis and Pfizer.

Gylfi Rútsson, Managing Director of Distica, comments: “Maintaining our success in this market depends on our ability to maintain strong relationships with pharmaceuticals suppliers both within our group and outside it.

“The sale of their products depends not only on the efficiency of our distribution processes, but also on our ability to provide them with accurate, timely information about sales, margins and inventory levels. We realised that to get ahead of our competitors, we needed to provide our partners with deeper insight into their sales, broken down to customer group and inventory.”

Designing a solution to meet partners’ needs
Working with Capacent, an IBM® Business Partner, Distica conducted a survey with its main suppliers to find out what kinds of information they needed most, and then designed a web-based analytics solution that would provide instant online access to the relevant data. By harnessing data warehousing technologies that already existed within Distica, and implementing IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10 software, the team was able to develop and deploy the new solution very rapidly – within just six months.

“Capacent did an excellent job,” says Gylfi Rútsson. “Their deep product knowledge, combined with their understanding of our business, made it a successful project – even though it turned out to be more complex than we initially anticipated.”

Dynamic dashboards
When Distica’s partners sign in to the new web portal, they can see dashboards that provide a comprehensive overview of key metrics, such as total sales, margins and inventory levels, compared to budgeted targets. Any variance from planned figures is highlighted by “traffic light” indicators, with green, yellow and red colours indicating the severity of the issue.

“The dashboards have absolutely transformed the way we communicate with our partners,” says Gylfi Rútsson. “Before, we simply sent them flat files of data extracted from our ERP system, which only provided information at a basic level, and were difficult to analyse. Now, they have all the information at their fingertips, and can drill down from high-level summaries to specific subsets of data – right down to individual product names and article numbers.”

Customisable platform
The Cognos 10 solution even gives the partners the ability to customise the dashboards to display whatever metrics are most useful to them.

“We’re still at an early stage, but our partners are delighted by the flexibility of the solution,” says Gylfi Rútsson. “We offered them training to help them really get the maximum value out of it. It has also been useful for our own internal users – particularly in the import division – as they find it an easy way to obtain information to answer queries from our suppliers and customers.”

Distica has also made its sales cube available to its customers, enabling them to create their own sales reports too.

Gaining competitive advantage
Ultimately, the solution is helping Distica differentiate itself from its competitors.

“The distribution business today is as much about information as it is about logistics,” comments Gylfi Rútsson. “It’s not enough to be efficient at what you do – you also need to be transparent about what you are doing. If we can give our partners complete insight into our operations, we can work with them to make better decisions about how to deliver the right products to the right customers at the right time.

He concludes: “This kind of value-added service helps to build stronger relationships with our partners, which in turn encourages loyalty. It also gives us an advantage over the competition, which we hope will help us to win new business in the years ahead.”

About Capacent
Capacent is a leading knowledge company offering a wide range of business solutions, ranging from strategy, finance and information technology to performance management and coaching. In Iceland, Capacent has 100 employees who specialise in the fields of management and IT consulting, market research and recruitment. Capacent Iceland also has a sister company that operates across the Nordic region and has operations in Russia and China.

To learn more about services and solutions from Capacent, please visit www.capacent.is

About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics software delivers data-driven insights that help organisations work smarter and outperform their peers. This comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for business intelligence, predictive analytics and decision management, performance management, and risk management.

Business Analytics solutions enable companies to identify and visualise trends and patterns in areas, such as customer analytics, that can have a profound effect on business performance. They can compare scenarios, anticipate potential threats and opportunities, better plan, budget and forecast resources, balance risks against expected returns and work to meet regulatory requirements. By making analytics widely available, organisations can align tactical and strategic decision-making to achieve business goals.

For more information
For further information please visit ibm.com/business-analytics

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Cognos Business Intelligence

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Danmark ApS, Nymoellevej 91, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. Produced in Iceland. May 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Cognos are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. IBM and Capacent are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Capacent makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.