“We are in a growth market where customers are increasingly demanding, and they need more complex projects. It's crucial for us to have one BI platform to manage all relevant KPIs and oversee coupled processes, deadlines, and milestones along the way,” says Morten Storm, ERP Manager at Haarslev Industries.
The Danish company is among the world leaders in the design, construction, and implementation of production lines and equipment for the food and biofuel industries, just as Haarslev has strong competencies within the design, construction, and dimensioning of turnkey solutions. But the company had difficultly consolidating and reporting on knowledge of its data and processes.
“It was necessary to ask a developer to code a report, every time there was a need for new insights – which could take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. Much of the data also was in complex, bespoke Excel sheets, which made it difficult to consolidate information and gain an overview of the course and finance of the projects,” states Morten Storm.
The Columbus Business Intelligence solution pulls data directly from Dynamics 365
When Haarslev replaced its aging ERP solution with a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations-based solution, it was apparent to take the opportunity to integrate a more modern Business Intelligence solution for the new platform.
“Columbus is our ERP partner, and we noticed early in the ERP project that they had a new business intelligence solution. It can extract data from and report directly on top of Dynamics 365 and, for instance, make insights available with Power BI to make us more data driven in our business. The solution corresponded directly to our actual needs, and at the same time, we were out so early that we influenced its functionalities,” says Morten Storm.
Haarslev provided inputs to the development of models
The Business Intelligence solution from Columbus has, among other things, its own and quite advanced project management models.
Yes – we did on-time and on-budget delivery
“Basically, our goal was to get a set of KPIs that could follow up on business processes – primarily in the project area – and contribute with insights we can act on. This information included: Do we deliver our projects on time? Do we keep them under the budget? Do we meet our quality goals? We should be able to keep up with all such information – and preferably during the projects, so we can correct in time if something for some reason does not proceed optimally. That is the case in a nutshell,” says Morten Storm.
During the ERP project, Haarslev started using a Business Intelligence solution to look under the hood on the ERP platform and get an overview of data flows, which made it easier to optimize the process flow.
Since then, the full KPI package has been implemented for better insight into, among other things, supply chain and production, with a focus on deviations on economy and time.
“It has, to a large extent, also been an exercise in change management. For myself, whether we have always had a lot of data available about our businesses and projects. But they have been spread across departments and platforms. Now, they are consolidated and coupled at a level we have never seen before.
It provides insight into a wide range of links and contexts,” explains Morten Storm.
Alarms ensure timely knowledge during the project
The organization has, among other things, gained an overview of milestones, requirements, and when a time limit is exceeded. It gives better control over handovers.
“We received answers to everything in the preparation phase so that we can send the assignment on to the engineers who have to draw the machines. Some of the questions include: When can we hand over to production, plan, lock resources, etc.? When can we deliver?
All these handovers must be constantly in tune and flowing as smoothly as possible. We are better able to ensure that today, and it will eventually make us far better able to handle larger and even more demanding projects,” says Morten Storm. There are other areas where it may subsequently become relevant to use a Business Intelligence solution to create extra transparency in the business. For example, by consolidating data from IoT sensor data on delivered and functioning production lines so that service and maintenance can be optimized further.
Morten Storm estimates that the Business Intelligence solution today pulls 60-70 analysis reports regularly, has made the BI functionality far more accessible to the organization, and assesses that collaboration with Columbus has benefited the entire process.
“The Columbus solution has definitely benefited the course as they already had knowledge of both the ERP platform and the data models in Dynamics 365 and its specific databases to be reported on with us. It gives one quite effective communication and really good opportunities to hand over one larger part of the task,” he says.