HOW DATA HELPS YOU GROW 300% WITHIN THREE YEARS
VARSSEVELD – To grow from 40 to 140 employees within two and a half years, you need to keep a grip on processes, sales and finances. VB-Airsuspension has grown considerably in a short period of time and has invested heavily in its ERP system. However, unravelling information from their ERP system (Microsoft Dynamics AX) was not that easy. ‘When I just started working here, I wanted to see a report on the financial state of affairs within the company. I was told by the bookkeeper at the time that he had taken that course, but had forgotten how to do it. Then I thought, this has to change,’ says General Manager, Gerald Molenveld.
VB-Airsuspension develops, produces and sells (air) suspension systems for light commercial vehicles. Last year they sold more than 18,000 systems. From their headquarters in Varsseveld they serve the entire world and have now grown into a global market leader.
MORE GRIP ON M
Do you know the value created per production employee? At VB-Airsuspension they can see exactly how much value is added by each employee. By dealing with this in an action-oriented way, as a manager within a company you are able to make employees work a lot more productively. There are all kinds of techniques to make people more productive, but it starts with measuring. By adjusting your workflow, for example, you can immediately see what that does to productivity.
THE DATA IS THERE, WE JUST DIDN’T HAVE THE INSIGHT
All departments within VB-Airsuspension work with Microsoft Dynamics AX. The processes are all neatly documented in it. Steffan Knippenborg, Corporate Controller at VB-Airsuspension: ‘If I wanted to see which customers have been overdue for a long time, it took a while before I could visualize the data and there was a chance of errors. We got in touch with Hillstar. With their datahub to bring data together, we no longer need to keep linking all kinds of Excel sheets. Our data is cleaned up in the Data Warehouse. We can now immediately see where fields in our ERP system are not filled in, for example.
At the backend, BIRDS prepares everything in such a way that we can easily and quickly make visualizations or look at the visualizations already made. We now know for sure that the data in there is correct and up to date. Everyone gets the data from one source. So we have now clearly described the definitions so that everyone is looking at the same numbers’. The semantic layer with which VB-Airsuspension views its data is called a Data Warehouse and ensures that all relationships between the various data sources are already established.
DATA VISUALISATION WITH POWER BI
Sales and finance now have direct access to our company data with Power BI. The forecast for 2019 has also been made with Power BI. In this way the daily overviews are ready in an attractive format in Power BI and Knippenborg works with Excel to create ad hoc reports or look at the P&L, for example. ‘You then have all company data available from one place and still have the freedom to make some calculations’.
This makes Business Intelligence partner Hillstar especially facilitating. They set up the data so that people at VB-Airsuspension can report and analyse it themselves. In this way, they are able to use data in the organisation quickly, flexibly and reliably.
COMPLEX SUPPLY CHAIN
The production process at VB-Airsuspension sometimes takes two to two and a half years from mixing the raw materials to spring. Due to the large demand it is important to use production as effectively as possible. Among other things, we supply our products to Daimler AG, which incorporates them into their vehicles. Late delivery is forbidden and can therefore not happen.
In addition to a long production process, VB-Airsuspension sells products in 45 countries. They serve dealers worldwide via the aftermarket channel. These dealers all have to be trained to install the products according to the VB-Airsuspension standard.
Would you like to know more about VB-Airsuspension’s suspension systems or Hillstar’s Business Intelligence solution? Take a look at their website.