T N Robinson – Business Intelligence
Since introducing QlikView T N Robinson have built up a portfolio of applications. Rapid access to accurate data has provided significant improvements in data available compared to the previous query solution. QlikView has helped T N Robinson to resolve customer discount issues, stock taking problems and purchasing problems.
T.N Robinson Ltd. is an independent electrical wholesaler based in the North West of England. Established in 1923, and owned by the same family for four generations, they are proud of the reputation we have gained for providing exceptional customer service. T.N.Robinson offer a broad selection of quality branded electrical products, and have an extensive knowledge of every product they sell, enabling them to give our customers the very best advice. As members of ANEW, the largest electrical purchasing consortium in Europe, they also have the buying power to get the best prices for customers, every single day. They currently have a network of 7 branches within the North West region of the UK, in Ashton, Chester, Crewe, Macclesfield, Rochdale, Stockport and Warrington. A 44,000 sq ft central distribution warehouse holds stock in excess of £1 million, encompassing around 50,000 individual product lines.
System 21 was the man data repository in the business and the IT Manager who was the System21 expert within the company was coming up for retirement. One of the concerns was that no one else internally had the ability to create the queries required by management and produced from the System 21. Reports were provided by the IT Manager on an on demand basis and were critical for business planning and a good understanding of the business performance.
Chris Drake, Managing Director of TN Robinson contacted Integrated Management Solution Ltd who with their System 21 expertise and understanding of the QlikView product plus a strong relationship with the QlikView experts was in an ideal position to assist with the problem. Together they rapidly identified the QlikView business intelligence software as a potential solution, creating the initial sales module, providing training and enabling T N Robinson to present a myriad of data at appropriate user levels. It took about a month to get the new sales application up and running, mainly due to time restraints within the business. Once the Sales application was done and in place and was being used they quickly realised the potential and things really started to develop from there. “Once we started using it daily and then we could see the potential and so it really started to be ramped up” explained Chris. Training initially was a challenge as every scenario is different, but having realised how flexible and easy to use the product was they now they point people in the right direction and let them explore the product, and by taking that approach have found that people extract what they want and need for their role in the business.
Since introducing QlikView T N Robinson have built up a portfolio of applications. “Having rapid access to accurate data has made us realise how we were disadvantaging ourselves previously by using the query solution,” commented Chris. “We should have implemented the product a long time ago. One advantage is the volume and depth of the data we can extract, for instance I can extract our entire customer based, contact details and sales history, discounts and profitability and transfer the data into an excel spreadsheet and it would only take 10 seconds.” Secondly, it has helped to resolve many business issues, T N Robinson have used it to resolve customer discount issues, stock taking problems, purchasing problems. Also, because you know everyone is getting their data from the same place it is consistent. “Our IT Manager’s data was more likely to vary as it was subject to human error so did not have the consistently that we have today with QlikVew” explained Chris. “For instance using the inventory application we can extract current and accurate information on bin locations, cost prices and inventory related stats. It is an ongoing process and I don’t think we will every stop developing things within QlikView as there is always something else you want.” The original plan was to roll out QlikView to the branch managers at the seven UK branches within the business and to give access to the sales representatives. However, Chris Drake quickly identified that the ease of use and speed with which data could be extracted, although a huge benefit of the business, could actually represent a data theft threat. The product is so quick and easy to use and extract data but this could be a negative in the wrong hands. The company Directors and the purchasing department therefore mainly use the solution for extracting reports. The initial reports were for sales data but since then around ten additional reports have been introduced and Chris is aware that the software has further applications in many other areas of the business. The introduction of QlikView has meant other changes in the business as the power and flexibility of the product has been recognised and a new more analytical role has been introduced which will allow T N Robinson to extract data on branches stock and stock movement which they could never have done that before having QlikView. This is entirely due to ease and accessibility of the product.