Enter the world of powerful data visualization tools

Long gone are the days of static reports on a PowerPoint slide. An increasing number of companies are now developing more accurate and persuasive reports using business intelligence (BI) tools such as Microsoft BI and Tableau. Supply chain leaders across the world are solving complex business problems using interactive dashboards for more efficient decision-making.

While there is a range of BI software available, Gartner has recognized Microsoft as the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant Leader for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. In this article, we will discuss the benefits1 and use-cases of implementing Microsoft Power BI based on Infosys Consulting’s experience with several Fortune 500 companies.



Benefits of Microsoft Power BI

  1. Identify key trends and outliers with ease: Rich reporting and dashboard visualizations not only grab the user’s attention but also allow interaction with the data itself. Supply chain leaders are no longer constrained by the view put together by the creator of the report.
  2. Innovate rapidly and keep pace with the industry: Receive weekly and monthly updates that improve Power BI features and capabilities, based on thousands of ideas submitted by a community of more than half a million worldwide.
  3. Achieve cost efficiencies and build a culture of data: Power BI Desktop is free to use and the Pro version is available for a low monthly price per user, enabling companies to introduce BI and analytics at all levels and capabilities.
  4. Take advantage of one of the largest and fastest-growing BI clouds: Create and share interactive data visualizations across global data centers, including national clouds to meet your compliance and regulation needs.

Let us consider a few use-cases to better understand the impact of Microsoft Power BI on your business.



Use-case 1: Identifying and correcting an annual shrink for an international recycling company

 Infosys Consulting recently completed a successful engagement at an international recycling company using Microsoft Power BI to address a critical issue in the company’s supply chain. An estimated $2,000,000 was unaccounted for in the company’s annual shrink. The team, spearheaded by Associate Partner Sanjay Khurana, and business analytics lead Ryan Hartman, was tasked with identifying the source of the shrink. The secondary objective was to create short and long-term strategic initiative roadmaps which would eliminate the shrink going forward. Our team selected the tool based on its past successes on similar engagements.

While you may reach out to us for a detailed report, for the purposes of this blog, below is a concise step-by-step account of the process followed by the team:

  1. Import large data-sets from point-of-sale, driver handheld, and recycling plant systems into Power BI. This is a critical step in the process and requires a considerable amount of time to ensure that the team understands the data, has the correct data points, and the data is available in the correct format.
  2. Run various scenarios to identify possible causes of the financial shrink. Power BI allows quick and accurate analysis of the data for potentially fraudulent activities such as suspicious sales entry amounts and the time between sales entries. It allows the team to adjust the details from the region all the way down to a specific employee, with just a click of a button. Additional analysis includes the variance in sampling counts by material type (can, bottle, material size) to find useful trends in the data. 
  3. Create a report of findings for the executive team. After the analysis is complete, Power BI allows the creation of compelling visuals, bookmarking of specific filter sets, and filtering of data in real-time with the leadership team to answer their questions.



Use-case 2: Understanding the disruption caused by COVID-19 on supply chains

Another excellent example of the power of this tool is the analysis of survey results to create meaningful visualizations. Our supply chain practice recently released a survey to understand how companies are navigating the COVID-19 crisis and preparing for the future. Microsoft Power BI was chosen for its ability to quickly and creatively ‘dissect’ the data, using filters from collected data points such as industry, annual revenues, and location. Below is a preview of select Power BI visuals that will be included in the final report:



Conclusion: A must-have tool for immediate and future success

Microsoft Power BI is a potent tool for supply chain leaders. In addition to general business analytics, reporting, and dashboarding it allows easier and effective decision-making which can have a huge impact on the financial future of the company. It also enables a ‘culture of data’ which can lead the organization into a new era of innovation. 

If you wish to learn more about how Infosys Consulting can help your organization using business intelligence tools, please reach out to our experts below.

Ryan Hartman

Ryan Hartman

Consultant, Infosys Consulting

Ryan has successfully delivered business analytics and visualization solutions to a number of Fortune 500 companies within the technology, sports apparel, manufacturing, aerospace and defense, and financial industries. He specializes in Microsoft Power BI reporting and dashboard creation. He can be reached at Ryan.Hartman@infosys.com. 

Sylvie Thompson

Sylvie Thompson

Associate Partner, Infosys Consulting

Sylvie is a passionate and results-oriented supply chain executive. Her experience with supply chain start-ups has demonstrated to her that supply chain professionals must question the status quo in order to deliver next-generation solutions. She is a believer in hands-on experimentation in order to deliver maximum results. Sylvie has developed and implemented numerous supply chain transformation initiatives for her clients and has extensive experience working with leading retailers and consumer brand owners. A supporter of lifelong learning, she continues to seek out fresh and innovative new ideas and insights through a network of supply change thought leaders. She is also giving back to the field as a guest lecturer at the University of Maryland.

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