Grab the Thortrans case as a pdf
Download the whole case and get it sent to your inbox.
Case: Thortrans' BI and data are crucial to results
If we are to earn money in
the future, we need BI and data to look inward, so we can streamline our transport services.
For the past 10 years, Thortrans has experienced growth rates
of around 15% per year as a result of both organic growth and
acquisitions. That growth was a key reason why Thortrans seriously
took Business Intelligence (BI) on board.
“Thortrans is undergoing rapid growth. We know our business inside
and out, but we need to know our financial results in detail, and what is
going well and less well,” says Jørgen Skov, CFO of the transport and
logistics company Thortrans.
“We operate in a highly competitive market. If we are to earn money in
the future, we need BI and data to look inward, so we can streamline
our transport services. The ability to deploy BI and data is crucial to our
Columbus’ experience helped create structure and overview
According to Jørgen, it was important for Thortrans to prepare properly before they started building and implementing their overall BI solution.
“We started off with a phase of analysis with Columbus to achieve an overview. They asked questions. We described correlations and flows in the company. Finally we ended up with a complex analysis with numerous lines between warehouse, office and IT etc. We had no doubt that we were speaking to someone who had previous experience in the field. They really got to know our business and guided us, asking us: ‘Is this really what you want?’
Their experience helped us structure our needs and provided us with an overview.”
Many roads lead to data
Together, we developed a lot of great shortcuts for
calculating something we don’t really have data to
“In the analysis phase, Columbus also helped us look at our data and data sources. We have several systems.
What data did we have? Where could we get data from? What could we use data for? What reports did we need? We also received a lot of great input into these issues too,” remembers Jørgen.
The path to data was not a direct one. “Together, we developed a lot of great shortcuts for calculating something we don’t really have data to calculate.
So, we took a few steps backwards and extracted data from two different systems in order to achieve the result.
For example, we can calculate our diesel costs because we have gained access to data on diesel consumption by our vehicles at MAN and Mercedes.
Together with the price of a liter of diesel, we can then calculate diesel consumption in DKK.”
BI = business development based on collaboration
“At Thortrans, we do not work with BI and data insight in order to monitor and point fingers. We want to support and help each other in our day-to-day work. The vast majority of transport related challenges are not the fault of the drivers. They are the fault of us in the office who didn’t plan their day properly or enter into the appropriate agreements with the customer,” says Jørgen.
BI has provided Thortrans with new, detailed insight into the business, based on facts instead of gut feelings. “For example, we knew well in advance that there was a big difference in turnover per vehicle. But we didn’t know why. Having started working with our data in Power BI, we can now follow up on each individual vehicle and each individual trip. Costs of fuel and the likes of bridge or ferry fees, time consumption vis-à-vis driving time, waiting time in traffic jams, and waiting time and loading time when visiting customers etc. That way we can improve our planning of a driver’s day and routes, thereby reducing wasted time caused by traffic jams on the highway or waiting time when visiting customers. We have high expectations.”
It’s the sum of all the details that makes the difference - BI paves the way for options
Jørgen explains that when competition is tough, it is the sum of all the details that makes the difference.
“Power BI enables us to work in detail and analyze all kinds of data, helping us improve our daily flow. This helps the likes of drivers and warehouse staff to do a better job – and maybe, based on facts and specific knowledge, discuss new ways of doing things with customers.”
“We have a lot of data in our systems, but in the past we didn’t have the tools for analyzing and utilizing it. Now, for example, we can relate all, real costs to each trip. Before, it took a lot of registration and bureaucracy. Now everything happens automatically,” says Jørgen.
“BI has provided us with so many follow-up options we could never, ever have had if we had to process our data manually. It paves the way for many interesting options.”
Win-win for both customers and Thortrans
Our new Power BI solution enables us to take the results
from each trip, which includes many customers.
The next step for Thortrans will be to find out why some customers provide a better or worse result than others.
“Our new Power BI solution enables us to take the results from each trip, which includes many customers, and then look at each customer across all trips, so to speak. That way, we consolidate all the sub-trips for each customer into a total result for them,” explains Jørgen.
“With the new insight into customers, we can improve our provisions in cooperation with them – for example, by changing order sizes, or with the customer packing in a different number of parcels – and ultimately arriving at a pricing that will benefit both parties.
We are convinced that this will result in win-win situations with improvements for both customers and us.
At Columbus, they know what they’re talking about
Jørgen stresses how positive working with Columbus was.
“At Columbus, they know what they’re talking about. Every single staff member we worked with not only possesses huge knowledge about the tools they work with, but also – even more importantly – really understood our business and cottoned on to the correlations. There is no doubt that
their many years of experience in discussing business with customers and understanding what they think helped us achieve a better result more quickly,” says Jørgen.
“Now, for example, we can relate all, real costs to each trip. Before, it took a lot of registration and bureaucracy. Now everything happens automatically, so we can use the information intelligently. Columbus has helped us save a lot,” says Jørgen.
Advises others to get started – now!
I can only encourage all companies to turbocharge their digitization and use of data. This will be the most important competitive parameter in the future
Thortrans now has a comprehensive roadmap for digitizing their business and BI is one of the cornerstones.
“Our ability to digitize the business by constantly working in a data-driven way is crucial to how Thortrans will perform in the long term. I can only encourage all companies to turbocharge their digitization and use of data. This will be the most important competitive parameter in the future – and we’ve only just begun,” concludes Jørgen.
The transport and logistics company Thortrans, headquartered in Randers, was founded in 1972 by Thorbjørn Kristensen and is today managed by his sons Henrik and Lars Thomas Kristensen.
Thortrans specializes in furniture logistics and transport, as well as transport of art.
Since 1979, Thortrans has also run a warehouse hotel and has 31,000 m2 of warehouse space in warehouse hotels in Randers and Copenhagen today.
Thortrans employs over 190 people, including 120 drivers who service companies in all industries across the Nordic region.
Thortrans takes social responsibility for people who, for various reasons, have difficulty finding their place in the labor market. Over 10% of Thortrans’ employees have started on special terms but are employed on normal terms today.