Smithfield Foods has been supplying meats to the UK grocery market for more than 30 years and is recognised as one of the UK’s leading suppliers of continental, canned, cooked and fresh meats to major retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. It chose QlikView from leading IT provider Informance to give it the clarity of business information it required.

Following a period of organic growth and the integration of a UK continental meat and paté company, Smithfield’s turnover grew by 80% in just three years. This was great for its business, but highlighted the need to improve its reporting procedures. Smithfield was relying on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables for its operational reporting and analysis of company information was slow and decision making was impacted.

Due to the nature of its business and the complexity of its supply chain, Smithfield had vast amounts of business data with many different ways to extract and analyse it, but simple reporting tools which couldn’t give the business the clarity of information it required. Smithfield decided that it wanted to install a new, advanced business intelligence reporting solution that would give it complete visibility across its business and enable its data to be more accessible for everyone within the business. It also needed to make the analysis of its data faster and its whole reporting process more automated, whilst producing reports that looked professional and were easy for users to understand. Smithfield wanted to rely less on expert users within the finance department and empower staff across other departments to extract their own data, therefore, the new reporting solution it chose had to be easy to use.

After evaluating the various business intelligence solutions available on the market, Smithfield contacted Informance to arrange a QlikView demonstration. Ross Ashton, financial controller for Smithfield Foods says: “We were impressed with the QlikView software and its power to rapidly take our data and present it to us in new ways that were both accurate and insightful. Ultimately, compared to its competitors, we felt that QlikView would give us the solution we needed to meet our immediate reporting requirements, as well as the flexibility we needed for on-going development. We were also confident that Informance would deliver on their promises as we were impressed by the company and its staff.”

Internal approval was gained and QlikView was implemented in just two months – going live first across the sales and management teams and then with the directors in August 2009. QlikView’s primary source of data is from Smithfield’s ERP solution and the main focus of the first phase of the implementation was on sales reporting such as volume, revenue and margin analysis. Due to the scope of QlikView, Smithfield plans to expand it in the future to cover areas such as key performance indicators, financial reporting, purchasing and debtor analysis. Ross Ashton says: “After a relatively fast implementation and a comparatively modest investment of time and money, QlikView has given us varied and detailed analysis and complete transparency of our sales data.”

With QlikView’s power and flexibility, Smithfield has all the information it needs to make better, more fact-based decisions, which in turn, helps the business to grow and be more profitable. Ross Ashton concludes: “With QlikView our management information team is more commercially focussed and we have been able to turn information into a value-adding asset. Our weekly results are now more accurate and delivered faster and the sales team is now more self-sufficient. We have more confidence in the numbers, which in turn has led to greater accountability and constructive action being taken in a timely manner. Implementing QlikView has made a huge difference to our business and there is still scope for further benefits.”

Informance Ltd

Tel: 01926 623 456

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