In collaboration with Telstra’s Readify, Schneider Electric developed best in class dashboards to optimise outbound distribution centre operations and ensure on-time customer deliveries.
Schneider Electric is a European multinational corporation that specializes in electricity distribution and automation management. Headquartered in France, the global Schneider workforce of over 160k employees, generates annual revenues of over $27B. The Schneider presence in Australia includes numerous manufacturing and distribution centres, as well as corporate offices.
Schneider recently invested in a Control Tower as part of their new, state of the art manufacturing and distribution centre in Ingleburn, NSW. The Control Tower was to provide centralised tracking of Schneider Factories, Distribution Centres and Logistics across Australia and New Zealand.
To support the implementation of the Control Tower, Telstra’s Readify were asked to revamp and productionise existing Excel based reports and dashboard prototypes using Tableau. The dashboards would be accessible within the Control Tower and across all the major Distribution Centres. They would provide a single source of truth for the selection and delivery of customer orders.
The Dashboards focused on two clear objectives. One was optimising the outbound picking operations for the Distribution Centres. Outbound Team Leaders had limited visibility of order volumes, workload progress, and operational and resource efficiency. This lack of visibility put team leaders on the back foot. Unsure of what was around the corner, and how their team was performing, they found it difficult to plan, organise and manage resources.
The other objective was ensuring customer shipments were delivered in full and on time. The team dedicated to this function had limited visibility of delivery statuses and managed issues reactively, triggered by customer complaints. This often led to upset customers and excessive costs absorbed by Schneider for expediting deliveries via air and other expensive options.
Think BIG, Start Small and Deliver
Readify approached the dashboards from a broad, strategic perspective. Together, they worked with Schneider to think BIG about the Schneider vision for analytics, and then focused on developing the dashboards in line with that vision.
The vision from the Schneider team was clear. They wanted to have end to end visibility of every customer order from placement to delivery, so they could optimise the operation, meet delivery commitments and provide a great customer experience. This vision led to the dashboard solutions.
A BIG step towards end to end visibility
The dashboards were designed to leverage best in class data and visualisation technology, while minimising the change impact to stakeholders and users. The existing dashboards relied on Excel for data capture, data transformation and visualisation. The new solution continued to use Excel for data capture to minimise impact on end users, but stored and transformed that data using SQL Server and visualised via Tableau.
Migrating data to SQL Server put a key analytical building block in place. The database combined what were once disparate, temporary data sets into an historical, automated, single source of truth. This enabled the build of dashboards that allowed users to view different sites from within a single, dynamic view. It also established the foundation for more advanced analytics in the future, which rely heavily on rich historical data.
Implementing a best in class visual analytics tool like Tableau, with best practice design principles meant end users could easily engage and interact with the data, performing their own data exploration, leading to actionable insights.
The Outbound Distribution Centre Dashboard allowed team leaders to, for the first time, see orders come in throughout the day and track how their team was performing against key performance measure and dimensions. This allowed them to divert resources when order volumes were low, call for help when they were under resourced, and identify issues quickly when performance measures dropped.
The Domestic Deliveries Dashboard provided the team with a single view of all the current domestic deliveries, as well as their status. Deliveries that had missed delivery dates, or were at risk of doing so, could be easily identified. This allowed the team to take proactive steps to manage those deliveries and, if necessary, contact customers proactively before receiving customer complaints.