Anheuser-Busch InBev Improves Logistics Operations With Single View Across Breweries

  • Built analytics solution that combines data from all 12 breweries, allowing them to respond faster to gaps in performance
  • Designed dashboards to illustrate KPI performance
  • Reduced reporting process from days to hours

"We’ve been very happy with Analytics8.  To be honest, we couldn’t be happier.  We were never able to explain- with data- the root cause of our performance issues. We had too much data, in too many different systems and not enough people with knowledge to analyze the data timely.  With our new analytics solution, we now spend our time on fixing the issues instead of trying to understand what happened.  We’re more productive, more effective, and our performance & financial KPIs are reflecting that.”
- Chris Honstain, Director, Warehousing & Distribution Asset Management

Company Background

Anheuser-Busch is the leading American brewer holding a 47.6 percent share of U.S. beer sales to retailers. The company brews the world’s largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light, and operates 12 breweries across the U.S. NYSE: BUD. 

Problem

The Tier 1 logistics division at Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is responsible for warehouse and transportation logistics, which includes tracking shipment targets for twelve breweries across the nation. As a data-driven organization, they established key performance indicators (KPIs) that focus on quality, service-level, throughput, and productivity by which they measure their performance. The data to measure each of these KPIs came from multiple data sources, most of which were developed in-house and highly customized. The warehouse teams would manually extract data from their warehouse management system (WMS) into MS Excel and Access, manipulate the data, determine root cause for missed goals, and then make business decisions. This manual method of performance measurement created several issues for them, including:

  • A time-consuming reporting process that required a dedicated team of analysts
  • The risk of missing shipments due to system downtime 
  • The necessity of human users to be logged in for some jobs to run
  • The lack of historical context due to system and software sizing constraints
  • Inconsistent, complicated reporting across breweries because each WMS ran on different code bases
  • Not giving users actionable information throughout the day because of infrequent reporting

AB InBev needed an analytics system that brought accuracy and standardization of analyses across all business sites. They requested a system that put focus on their top KPIs with metrics updated on hourly basis so that they could respond faster to gaps in performance. If for some reason a brewery did not reach their daily targets, they wanted a quick and reliable source to explain the root cause.

Solution

To solve AB InBev’s reporting problems, Analytics8 implemented a comprehensive data and analytics solution using Qlik Sense. The first step was to capture historical information across all 12 breweries to give context when measuring performance. We built a data staging layer and implemented incremental loading techniques to minimize impact on the production environment. The solution now holds more information than the source systems themselves – currently, 100+ million records are captured for a 10-minute snapshot of work at each brewery! The Qlik Sense solution built allows for several data refreshes a day.

We also built a dimensional data model in Qlik Sense that combines data from all 12 breweries and allows KPI analysis to be done in a consistent, governed manner via a single analytics application. Instead of using Excel and doing a lot of work to visually filter data, the new application gives more context to users by utilizing common dimensions to see potential relationships between KPIs. Users can now start their analysis at a high level, and then drill-down and drill-across dashboards to answer their business questions.

We also conducted dashboard design sessions with the business team to understand their root cause analysis process for missed targets. Given this information, we designed dashboards that clearly illustrates KPI performances and allows them to speed up decision making in a guided manner. 

The solution we built gives corporate deeper insight into company performance by allowing them see data across all breweries in one view.

Results

The new analytics solution at AB InBev enables business users who are not highly trained in logistics to identify issues and make data-driven decisions faster, more consistently, and more reliably. Data gathering now takes minutes, instead of days, giving them more time for problem-solving. With consolidated historical data across all breweries, they can easily identify patterns over time and traverse multiple metrics by their common dimensions (products, carriers, breweries, employees, and time). Additionally, leadership has more insight into missed goals and can keep their employees more accountable.

Some of the measurable time and costs savings realized from this solution include:

  • With dashboards in place, employees are using metrics to answer business questions quicker. Prior to this solution, it would take several hours to multiple days to answer questions around package type, mileage of shipments, and damage rate claims; now it takes minutes. 
  • Preparation for weekly logistics meetings now takes five minutes, down from two hours.  

Changing the analysts’ day-to-day operational work from pulling data, compiling reports, and fixing broken transactional jobs to feed reports, to now doing more data analysis has been invaluable to AB InBev.

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