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3 min read

Bolletje: In search of the ‘Golden Batch’ with TimeXtender

Bolletje: In search of the ‘Golden Batch’ with TimeXtender

Bolletje, who hasn't grown up with it? Originally a rusk bakery, Bolletje now also produces crispbread, breakfast crackers, gingerbread, breakfast cereals, rye bread and biscuits. The company has a long history in the baking industry and has its roots in the Twente region in the Netherlands, which is also the base for distribution to customers.

Understanding data to improve manufacturing efficiency
Automation, and therefore visibility of data, plays an important role for companies like Bolletje. The ability to analyse data helps them to produce and distribute more efficiently. This reduces costs and improves quality. Furthermore, analysing data helps the company to understand customer preferences and market trends, to better respond to demand and develop innovative products. "Data analysis enables our company to make informed decisions, stay ahead of the competition and drive growth in an ever-changing market environment," says Clemens Hoek, ERP Business Consultant. ,"It is for this reason that Business Intelligence plays such an important role in our team."

 

"We were looking for a tool that would simplify data management and reporting. TimeXtender streamlines the entire process of dimension and fact table creation and relieves us of various routine tasks. " 

Clemens Hoek, Bolletje

 

More reports from more data
Like many companies, Bolletje realised that its IT environment, consisting mainly of legacy and customised systems, needed to change to make the company more agile. As a result, in 2017, the company implemented the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system for process organisation, automation and optimisation. This transition led to significant changes in the BI landscape. Clemens Hoek explains: "To put it simply, our entire reporting landscape broke down, so we had to start from scratch. Attempts to fill the reporting gaps with an 'off-the-shelf' reporting tool were unsuccessful as it did not meet our information needs and lacked adequate visualisations, leading to the need to develop specific applications for Bolletje. This process has been a challenge and has highlighted the need for a more streamlined data infrastructure. We also realised that our IT department (a team of 5 people) could only keep up with the growing demand for reporting and data analytics with a modern data management tool."

In the search for a solution to build an effective data warehouse, TimeXtender and Victa quickly entered the picture. The team at Bolletje was particularly impressed by the immense potential of the ODX/MDW environment provided by TimeXtender. Clemens Hoek explains: "We were looking for a tool that would simplify data management and reporting. TimeXtender streamlines the entire process of dimension and fact table creation and relieves us of various routine tasks. "

Governance group & project teams
The decision to start with the implementation of TimeXtender was taken in January 2023. With nine analytical domains identified, the team kicked off the project and set up a project team and a governance group. Clemens Hoek: " The governance group consists of Bolletje's 3 controllers, supplemented by internal BI specialists. Their task is to ensure the accuracy of data and the definitions used. The project team consists of leaders from various business disciplines, including sales, supply chain and finance, to provide input on their specific reporting needs and definitions. We then work together with Victa to translate these reporting requirements into data models in TimeXtender. Within TimeXtender's ODX (Operational Data Exchange), we consolidate raw data from different sources into a central data warehouse. In the MDW, which in TimeXtender stands for Modern Data Warehouse, the data is validated, enriched and transformed. We are currently modelling the relationships between tables and calculations/KPIs in PowerBI, rather than using the semantic layer in TimeXtender. "

 

"TimeXtender gives us flexibility, a manageable environment and the ability to structure data using Kimball methodology, making reporting more logical and intuitive. In this way, we are better prepared for the future and will be able to continue to write the history of the bakery for many years to come.

 

On the right track
The data infrastructure at Bolletje uses a variety of data sources, the most important of which is Microsoft Dynamics AX. In addition, data sources from Excel and SharePoint are unlocked by TimeXtender and made available in Power BI after transformation. Bolletje plans to open up more data sources in the future. Clemens Hoek: "At the moment, we are well on our way to meeting the reporting needs of areas such as supply chain, sales and finance, where KPIs are analysed for things such as service levels, orders and distribution. We now have access to detailed insights at multiple levels and on multiple dimensions, including order information, vehicle utilisation and SHEQ (safety, health, environment, quality). The modelling and visualisation of complaint handling data is on the agenda. There are also plans for extensive visualisation of data related to production, with a focus on OEE (Overall Equipment Performance) and the concept of the 'Golden Batch'. The Golden Batch in production is the ideal production batch based on a number of internal and external factors. "

Writing bakery history for years to come
There are many advantages for Bolletje in choosing TimeXtender. An unlimited number of internal and external data sources are supported by the platform. Clemens Hoek concludes: "TimeXtender gives us flexibility, a manageable environment and the ability to structure data using Kimball methodology, making reporting more logical and intuitive. In this way, we are better prepared for the future and will be able to continue to write the history of the bakery for many years to come.

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