Cordstrap is the global leader in products and systems to protect cargo carried by rail, ship, truck, and air. The company operates three international production centers, has over 500 employees in 22 countries, and sells its products and services in more than 50 countries.
Cordstrap’s operational management depends heavily on keeping track of the company’s day-to-day operations, ensuring quick and timely adjustments where necessary. “To stay ahead of the market, it is vital that we have access to up-to-date data, know where we stand and where we want to go. Despite having lots of data available, we were insufficiently able to distill the information we needed,” says Willem Zwitserloot, Cordstrap’s CFO.
Investing more time in analysis
Prior to TimeXtender’s rollout, Cordstrap had already tried to make its data more accessible and transparent by implementing a data warehouse, but this tool meant that Cordstrap spent a lot of time seeking out data for reporting and analysis. Willem Zwitserloot explains, “A few years ago, the data warehouse did what was needed but the next step required a great deal more. We wanted our people to spend their time on analyzing data, not collecting it. It was time to develop a more solid data foundation.”
Three requirements for the business case
The business case for change contained two important requirements. In the first place, the company wanted a solution that could be maintained and serviced in-house. Secondly, the users had to be able to analyze the data themselves by means of self-service. Willem Zwitserloot adds, “After an independent consulting process, IT proposed three possible solutions. One of these was from Axians, the company that had already built our data warehouse environment. Axians proposed a combination of TimeXtender and Microsoft Power BI. With TimeXtender as a data management platform and Microsoft Power BI as a self-service solution for data analysis, this combination ensured that we would develop a used friendly as well as a future proof data foundation.” Leon de Ridder, Client Manager Data & AI at Axians, explains, “Axians helps organizations improve their digital IQ and sustainability through smart use of data & analytics. TimeXtender has a unique vision to simplify access to data for organizations. TimeXtender combined with the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform proved a quick and smart way to create a robust data platform for Cordstrap.”
“We were able to trust that the combination of TimeXtender and Power BI would
provide a future proof and user-friendly foundation for our data.”
– Willem Zwitserloot, CFO, Cordstrap
On time and within budget
Setting up the data estate with self service reporting and analytics took about two months. Willem Zwitserloot further explains, “We put together a team led by an external project leader with ample experience in the field of change processes, Scrum and Power BI. This team developed the data foundation with TimeXtender quickly and seamlessly. They then developed an app in Microsoft Power BI with the data from TimeXtender, making seven existing reports available to our sales force of 150 people in an integrated manner. The entire project was delivered on time and within budget. Everyone around the world, from vice president to sales leader and sales representative, now manages their business on the basis of unambiguous and relevant data.”
Rolling out new apps quickly thanks to TimeXtender
Now that the data analytics infrastructure is solid, further development proceeds apace. Which is important since Cordstrap developed a step by step plan to grant access to data company wide. “This is where the TimeXtender data foundation comes in. TimeXtender enables us to open up and model new data sources quickly and efficiently so we can grant access to our users at the right speed and, data-driven decisions can be made in an ever growing number of corporate departments, from sales and operations to finance,” says Bart Slaghekke, Global ICT Leader, Cordstrap.
“Thanks to TimeXtender, we can open up and model new data sources at the right
speed so we can make data-driven decisions in a growing number of departments.”
– Bart Slaghekke, Global ICT Leader, Cordstrap
Further expanding its leadership position
Cordstrap is very pleased with the outcome “Adequate insight into data is vital for us to run our operations successfully. Moreover, it is important to be prepared for the future so your organization can benefit from new technologies, such as machine learning. The short-term ROI is mainly in saving time, since people can find data and generate reports much faster than before. Everyone can focus on analyzing the data in order to make better decisions. In the long term, the ROI cannot be expressed in numbers as it is not just about the ROI but about building a new and stronger data foundation for our company that enables the organization to expand its leadership position,” says Willem Zwitserloot.