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Soon after their company was acquired by consumer products giant Nestle S.A., officials at Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream decided they needed a better way to track and improve the ice cream manufacturer's performance. Like most companies, 79-year-old Dreyer's for years had generated monthly reports that were reviewed by a handful of analysts and top managers seeking insight into the company's performance. Those reports, however, often arrived too late to allow operational managers on the company's front lines to do much to head off problems, such as supply chain inefficiencies resulting in stock-outs at the retail level.
"We were getting reports on our historical progress, not on what was going on right now," says Ajay Raikar, director of growth and profitability at $2bn Dreyer's. "We didn't have information that was close to real time, so we weren't close to the pulse of the business, and we couldn't influence what our results would be for the current month."
So Dreyer's officials decided to change not just how the company generates reports, but also how its managers run the business by putting in place what Raikar calls a "KPI culture." All managers at Dreyer's, including those running warehouses and plants, were given a handful of key performance indicators--between five and 10--that they would be responsible for tracking and managing on a daily basis. Warehouse managers, for example, might track perfect order, labor productivity, and safety KPIs.
In support of that initiative, Dreyer's deployed at each of its six facilities a real-time business intelligence appliance that downloads transactional data from Dreyer's key business systems into an in-memory database that is used to generate up-to-the minute reports on the status of the company's operations. Managers can drill down into the numbers to understand the causes of trends or problems.
Now, Raikar says, managers up and down the Dreyer's organization get daily reports on what went right and what went wrong the previous day, and insights into what they can do to correct problems.
Source: Managing Automation, http://www.managingautomation.com
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