Improved DIFOT numbers & better customer experience, driven by Operational Process Intelligence

Improved DIFOT numbers & better customer experience, driven by Operational Process Intelligence


The Client

A leading name in the soft drinks industry that has been serving Australian consumers for over a century. Today, they continue to innovate and bring the best in quality products to the market. The core of their business involves manufacturing and distributing soft drinks, and their operations span across Australia. Their immediate customers include all big retail chains in the country, and numerous standalone stores. Customer experience is at the forefront of their future vision, and they have set themselves ambitious operational excellence targets in the coming years, to improve their supply chain processes and enhance the customer experience.

Forefront Analytics have been working with our client for more than two years now, and has been directly involved in multiple Analytics initiatives, ranging from traditional BI reporting to innovative predictive analytics solutions. Forefront Analytics have a great and successful record of implementing BI & Analytics solutions that have impressed and benefited the business users.


The Problem

This business strive for the highest level of customer service, and one of the factors that would help them achieve the same, is the delivery of the products ordered on time and in full, to the maximum extent possible. Delivered on Time, in Full (DIFOT) is one of the main KPIs that the business tracks to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the supply chain. Higher DIFOT numbers, in general, has a direct correlation with better customer experience.

However, due to the sheer volume of the business and complex variations in the Order to Delivery process (e.g. at different sites, for different customers etc.), the business did not have total visibility or control into the status of open orders, which sometimes made achieving DIFOT targets challenging. The traditional retrospective analysis of DIFOT, while helpful in highlighting "what went wrong", did not enable the business to "identify and address risks before they become issues". There were instances of critical orders being delayed due to the lack of ability to identify that an order “might fail” before it “actually fails” (i.e. misses quantity or time targets). Such instances had been hindering them from maintaining the high customer service standards that they have set as target for themselves. So, the business was keen on solutions that can help them minimize DIFOT failures, and in turn, enhance customer experience.


The Solution

After understanding the problem, Forefront Analytics proposed real-time operational process intelligence dashboards that can visualize the end to end Order to Delivery process as a potential solution. The proposed dashboards would highlight the orders that are potentially at risk, based on the velocity at which they were traveling through the process, thus identifying any bottlenecks. The solution would give the business the opportunity to take corrective actions to pre-empt such orders from being ultimately delayed. In other words, the solution helps to eliminate or at least reduce the instance of DIFOT failures, thus driving customer experience high. In addition, the solution would also provide insights into process deviations. The solution would be a perfect example for exception based analytics. It would empower users with real-time visibility into the “work in progress” (i.e. open orders in this scenario), break down the process into multiple intermediate steps with intermediate targets, and help focus on specific orders that need special attention. Further, it can be extended for achieving real-time process visualization for any business process.

Our experience in using AWS technologies, allowed us to implement the solution efficiently on the cloud. This meant no/minimal impact on the existing client systems, quick turnaround times, lower cost, easy maintenance, and ease of decommissioning had the client decided not to productionize the solution after the pilot. The solution was provisioned on cloud, using an AWS EC2 instance. The security configurations available in AWS allowed us to ensure that the data and systems are secure, and that the security standards met the client’s requirements. The core of this solution was implemented using SAP Operational Process Intelligence (OPI), powered by SAP HANA platform. Whilst this is an SAP product, it can work on data from any source that is capturing the process event data. In this specific case, the source data was from SAP ECC system.

Forefront Analytics used an agile approach for solution delivery, with the business users starting to receive the benefits within the first 2 - 3 weeks. The process started with a series of workshops to engage the relevant stakeholders, understand the business process & system in detail, and elicit the requirements and related information required for implementing the solution. Following this, the OPI dashboards were implemented to meet the specifications in ~3-week sprints.


The Results

The pilot implementation of the solution has been a real success story, with business users starting to identify benefits during the first demo itself. Business users are enjoying the delightful experience of real-time process visualization. The planning (responsible for planning out the deliveries, transportation etc.) and distribution centre (DC) teams have identified the solution to be very helpful in ensuring that the DIFOT standards are met and maintained. The solution has resulted in a 4% improvement in DIFOT at one of the pilot DCs. “This is the best piece of software ever. The extend of control it gives over my warehouse operations is amazing. It makes me feel like God!” – said a DC Manager after trying out the solution. The feedback so far has been very positive. The business users appreciate the power of real-time analytics, and are starting to identify more use cases for operational process intelligence with in the business.

Currently, planning is in progress towards rolling out the solution to all the DCs.

Managed Service

Forefront Analytics provides operational process intelligence solutions by using components from both SAP and AWS effectively. Our methodology allows us to implement the solution and deliver benefits in as little as 2 - 4 weeks. Further, we offer OPI as a Service, taking care of integration, infrastructure, innovation, and support. Our future roadmap for operational process intelligence includes many additional features, and automated reporting to compliment the suite.





Sandra Cutic