Application of the Cockpit and Report Center:
Taiwan Fertilizer Co., Ltd.

2019/08/02Written by Mimica Yang|Translated by Judy Chu  

➤ Company profile
➤ Digitalization of paper reports
➤ Heterogeneous data integration
➤ Creating the Cockpit and big data visualization
➤ Exemplification
➤ Real-time operation data
➤ Future plans

Company profile

     Taiwan Fertilizer Co., Ltd. (TFC) was established in 1946. Following its global operational mode, “Rooted in Taiwan, eyes on the world”, TFC’s business has reached countries as far as Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Mongolia and more. Demonstrating its business philosophy of “cultivation”, “consolidation”, “innovation” and “sustainability”, TFC strives to expand its chemical products, electronic grade products, real estate development and has built Deep Ocean Water Industrial Park (D-Park) for tourism.

With the arrival of the Digital Age, we will introduce to you how TFC systematized its business with the help of Smart eVision BI tools.

Digitalization of paper reports: Taiwan Fertilizer implements Query/Report system

      Taiwan Fertilizer’s business scale has been constantly growing. To ensure stable operation, it has been putting more and more emphasis on the importance of data organization and report analysis. In 2005, TFC implemented Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for the first time. However, the data display ended up being extremely complicated as departments produced a total of 700-800 reports of different formats altogether. To solve this, TFC selected Smart eVision's Query/Report (web reporting software) after some evaluation. With just a two-day course held by Smart eVision Inc., the IT department could already operate the reporting tool on their own. They used Query’s dynamic query, cross-tab analysis and agile condition settings to create flexible reports and ultimately were able to combine 700-800 repetitive reports to just 300.

     Excel report templates that were already created can imported into Report. This enabled TFC to digitalize 300 paper reports rapidly, allowing the ERP system to operate smoothly. The following process is how TFC implemented Smart eVision products into their company operation:

◆The process of TFC implementing Smart eVision BI solutions into their company operation.

■Image provided by TFC

Heterogeneous data integration

       The reports Taiwan Fertilizer created with Query/Report can be divided into 3 categories:

(1) Daily operation reports: daily reports of production, sales, HR, finance, etc.

(2) Audit reports: Reports such as capital audit reports. These reports are important as companies pay great attention to capital flows. They are created according to the capital data imported by each department. The finance department can in turn maintain with less effort. Reports such as capital management, annual budget, and audit reports serve as a reference for senior executives.

(3) Operation analysis reports: includes sales report, management reports, etc. Users have access to Query/Report’s flexible filter functions to search for information with accuracy. In addition, a daily mail-sending schedule can be set to deliver meeting reports to managers, allowing them to take a look at statistics before meetings.

◆Query/Report’s cross-browser query and reporting tools have great database integration functions. The interface is user-friendly and easy to understand. Furthermore, reports can be converted into Office files (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and other common Microsoft Office files). Its application is very diverse.

■Image provided by TFC

    In 2012, Taiwan Fertilizer faced a database integration challenge. The newly constructed main factory in Taichung used SAP system while the other factories continued to use their original ERP database systems. Concerns about the integration of heterogeneous data were raised, since TFC already had more than 300 operation reports, financial reports and more. Thus, they examined the user’s log records and selected 150 effective and most commonly used reports to preserve. Query/Report’s function of heterogeneous data integration can connect all ERP data together, including SAP. Strong calculation, statistics, analysis and data views ability also assisted TFC in overcoming their challenge. Ultimately, their system was able to run smoothly once again.

Creating the Cockpit and big data visualization

    In 2017, to increase its company data value, Taiwan Fertilizer decided to assemble a business intelligence command center. After assessing various well-known BI software products, considering factors such as learning costs, difficulty of operation, development speed, and service quality, TFC again chose Smart eVision as its BI solution. This time, they chose Dashboards. Utilizing its customized interface, abundance of visuals, and functions such as calculation, statistics, and analysis, companies can visualize vital sales, finance, and production data, creating a commander center for the company.

     When developing Dashboards and the Cockpit (Smart eVision’s command center), IT members don’t need to put great efforts into coding. Instead, they can invest their time in understanding manager and user demands. One common demand is the need to assess multiple indicators. When comparing annual product sales to those of past years for instance, managers would first examine which product category has less sales, and then drill down to see which product in particular was causing this. After that, the sales would be analyzed along with other dimensions such as clients and channels. This kind of analyzation requires a large amount of data and Smart eVision’s in-memory data warehouse (DW) can help process data faster.

      To increase efficiency, databases need to be cleaned, converted, organized. Then, they can be built into Smart eVision’s in-memory DW. Since data from the in-memory DW is pre-built into the server memory, data processing requires less time, allowing execution speed to be uninterrupted. Smart eVision’s data analysis system also supports online databases. Through the SQL language, real-time information from the database can be extracted. TFC used the method above to integrate and present heterogeneous data from both the in-memory DW and the company’s ERP system. All information can be displayed on the very same dashboard page, thus creating TFC’s own real-time Cockpit.

◆Smart eVision’s Cockpit is an interactive information platform specially designed for enterprise executives and managers. It encapsulates critical operational information and concerned issues into an infographic interface, saving managers the time to enter different systems for different reports. (All statistics are simulated according to TFC’s Cockpit.)

◆Smart eVision also provides the carousel function. Companies can grasp real-time operational condition and do exception management. These can be displayed on multiple monitors and applied to settings such as sales combat or the production line, presenting real-time information without delay.

      Taiwan Fertilizer chose Smart eVision as its business intelligence solution and complimented on its user-friendly interface and data filter settings. Smart eVision can rapidly list out particular data categories to be converted into graphs. Also, when abnormal statistics occur in sales and production, managers can quickly identify the problematic product from the dashboard and trace back to its source of problem. With opportunity at deeper analyzation, managers can come up with more precise decisions.

◆Smart eVision offers a holistic enterprise Cockpit, capturing the entire scope under the viewer’s eyes and precisely focusing on financial trends.

■Image provided by TFC


     Here, we will introduce you to an example of reporting applications, which will be explained from the sales, finance, and production perspective, respectively:

1. Sales analysis:

      In this example, the sales trend of an entire year is analyzed. Viewers can understand the relations between revenue, cost, gross profit and sales volume. By observing this dashboard, we can infer that products with high revenues don’t always lead to a high gross profit.

    If we turn to analyze the products with negative gross profit, we may wonder about who these products were sold to and why they were sold at a lower price. The dashboard visualizations allow executives to examine the reasons behind statistics with ease.

     In addition, TFC also puts emphasis on product goals, budgets and comparisons with the same period of different years. The transactions of their top 10 clients are analyzed from different angles as well. The following is an example of TFC’s sales module:

 Analysis of monthly sales trend:

◆Sales dashboard: a comparison of revenue, gross profit, cost and sales along with their respective goals. (The statistics are all simulated according to TFC’s Cockpit.)

➽Enter the COCKPIT

Every month, senior managers can go into the Cockpit to examine the revenue, gross profit, costs and sales volume, and compare them with the budget and annual trends. Managers can also look into individual products and observe monthly statistical changes.

(1) Bar graph: a single color is used for bars of the same category for managers to read more easily.
(2) Queries conditions (drop-down menu)
(3) Reports and visual icons (ex: arrows)
(4) Combination of a bar graph and line graph (double y-axis)

 Analysis of revenue, gross profit, and cost :

◆Sales dashboard: a comparison of revenue, gross profit and cost with those of the previous year. (All statistics are simulated according to TFC’s Cockpit.)

On this dashboard, users can analyze the revenue, sales volume, and gross profit of an entire year. They can also see whether sales have reached their goals and compare the growth rate and sales condition of the current and previous year.

(1) Bar graph: These bar graphs follow the same color design of the previous example, keeping the same categories the same color. The grey bars indicate sales goals of each month.
(2) Line graph: The red lines illustrate monthly achievement rates. Users can analyze trends of a whole year and compare them with those of the previous year.

2. Financial analysis

   Taiwan Fertilizer uses the DuPont analysis to display the company’s overall operational performance. With color management done, viewers can grasp financial indicators more easily. For example, when the sales cost is too high, we can hover the cursor above each indicator to find out which product was causing this. Was this due to the rise of raw material price? Or are there other factors? Management-level staff can find the problem quickly through looking at the dashboard.

      In addition, with Smart eVision’s What-if function, users can predict the effect on the gross profit when raw material price rises by 10% in the future. Also, if the price were to be raised by 10% as well, how would it affect the overall company operation? During meetings, executives can immediately make predictions using these functions which assist them in pricing. Another aspect that TFC pays great attention to is management costs. When costs rise, managers can examine the statistic of each department, reaching maximum sales, minimum costs.

 Analysis of overall operational performance:

◆Finance dashboard: users can make comparisons with operating revenue, costs, expenses, non-operating income, non-operating expenses and goals.
(All statistics are simulated according to TFC’s Cockpit.)

The DuPont model presents the overall income and loss from a holistic point of view.

(1) DuPont model: list out all profit and loss values and the total revenue.
(2) Hint window: drill down to focus on further details.

 Analysis of overall operation (by month):

◆Finance dashboard: the analysis of financial indicators, goals and comparisons with the same month of different years. (All statistics are simulated according to TFC’s Cockpit.)

Display the company’s total revenue, cost and gross profit. On the very same page, we can choose to view the percentage of revenue, cost and gross profits of different product categories. Achievement rates can also be examined.

(1) Dashboard: clearly displays the total revenue, cost and profit.
(2) Multiple tabs and bar graph-line graph combination: the bar graph illustrates the proportion of revenues, costs and gross profit of individual product categories, lined up from large to small. The achievement rate line graph is placed on the same graph for viewers to examine simultaneously.

3. Production analysis

     Assess production and cost conditions. We will briefly explain production volume analysis and production expenses analysis, respectively.

    In production volume analysis, production volume is usually compared with the budget, the production volume of the previous period and the same period of the previous year. By using cross-sectional data analysis, we can understand the current production volume and its future trends.

     Concerning production expenses analysis, it is mainly used for observing the relation between production volume changes and expenses. Bar graphs and trend lines assist viewers to search for abnormal values and review problems and causes.

◆Production dashboard: Display the cost management of all factories. (All statistics are simulated according to TFC’s Cockpit.)

■Image provided by TFC.

Real-time operation data

      After Taiwan Fertilizer implemented Query/Report and Dashboard into their operation system, they were able to rapidly convert data from ERP and other systems into analytical reports for end users and managers. Users can sign into the BI system to take a look at reports or send monthly and annual reports to related managers with Scheduling. The mailing time and file type (Excel, Word, PDF) can also be appointed.

     On top of that, with Smart eVision Inc.’s self-developed alert system, users can set exception values in advance. When a predefined incident occurs, the system will automatically send notifications via e-mail, LINE, or WeChat to related personnel. Problems can be discovered earlier on and dealt with instantly. Managers no longer need to constantly stare at monitors all day long and will be able to focus more on core business affairs, raising the company’s overall operational efficiency and competitiveness.

Future plans

       The research center of Taiwan Fertilizer is planning on implementing IoT projects this year. They will utilize Smart eVision to create their IoT multi-monitor system. TFC will also provide report browsing services from mobile devices in response to the mobilization trend of data.

Tags:#SmarteVision #Enterprise Applications #Color management #Data visualization #Exception Management #Web reports

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