Home furnishings is a complex and dynamic business. Data related to a myriad of different elements needs to be understood and tracked in near-real time to optimize the furniture manufacturing and buying experience. These elements include everything from raw goods procurement, overseas manufacturing and distribution, and supplier and vendor management – not to mention the end-consumer aspects, with its shifting consumer tastes and sentiments. Dorel Home, a division of Dorel Industries, manages this entire ecosystem while operating three distinct business units, and leverages 40 Qlik applications to deliver insights into the health of the business while competing on a global scale.
Prior to Qlik, Dorel Home faced the same issues as many large suppliers of home furnishings: thousands of products, dozens of e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers, and no holistic, centralized view of how the business was performing domestically and internationally. Initially, Dorel spearheaded an effort to create a master data model within Qlik Sense that informed the creation of 40 apps to help the company zero in on KPIs that were vital to evaluating overall and divisional performance.
In September 2019, Dorel moved to Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS on Qlik Cloud Services to expand their analytics efforts with the benefit and cost savings of the cloud. The apps in use are as granular or as expansive as needed in answering core business and sales questions across the different divisions. For sales, how are individual products and product lines performing? Operationally, are there outstanding orders, and how does inventory compare to projected demand and product availability? How are sales and ratings at each e-Commerce partner looking – for example, are different products dipping below 4 stars on Amazon, a key metric that Dorel knows can impact sales. And, at the highest level, how is the organization performing overall – are budgets, actuals and forecasts aligning, or are there business areas and experiences (e.g., time from order to delivery) that could be improved or recalibrated to provide for optimal execution and an enhanced customer experience?
One of the most impactful Qlik Sense apps is the Margin Health Dashboard, with dozens of pages that provide near real-time insight into product profitability and viability across the organization. The dynamic Qlik dashboard replaced a manual Excel document process that usually took two weeks, making the data stale and of diminished value. The dashboard provides a combined view for leadership to truly understand the strength, condition and status of the company from multiple perspectives.
“The Margin Health Dashboard was revolutionary for Dorel. Instead of providing a stale, static view of the organization, it gives up-to-date information to leadership – essential business intelligence – to see what products are negatively impacting the company’s margins, as well as what is overperforming and providing a buoy,” said Chris Brunton, Business Intelligence Manager, Dorel Home. “This enables us to not only have a holistic view of the organization, but one where everyone can see, and grapple with, the same data – and to act on that data.”
Based on the huge success of the Margin Health Dashboard, Brunton’s BI team is getting multiple additional requests for new apps, looking to grow functionalities, and to expand on the Margin Health Dashboard. Specifically, Dorel’s lead Qlik engineer extended the Margin Health Dashboard with a Variable Analysis Tool that enables users to explore datasets across time, such as January 2021 budget to December 2020 actuals. Brunton expects this type of dynamic comparison in Qlik, previously unavailable, will drive increased user engagement and exploration, allowing for better performance predictions, data-driven business pivots and strategic decision-making at all levels of the organization.
“What will be great about this app is that it will push people to be more forward-thinking in their approach. We even envision adding a conversational analytics layer. Then users will be able to ask questions in a dynamic, context-aware manner, receiving suggestions to drive them to probe deeper into what they’re being shown, what they can do and how they can succeed. We know that’s one of the key benefits of Qlik’s Insight Advisor, which we’re excited to deploy. This is at the heart of our vision of achieving a truly data-driven company,” noted Brunton.
Additionally, in 2021 Brunton’s team is planning apps to create supply chain corridor visibility/analysis to start monitoring the entire business end to end with data through Qlik. Currently, Dorel only has visibility starting at the warehouse level from where the goods are being shipped. Dorel is looking to gain visibility into where the goods originate from – for example, the overall footprint across Asia and the costs and profits in that region. Dorel also wants to be able to dynamically consider the impact of tariffs to inform decisions about moving business from different regions for competitive and pricing advantages.
And, with Qlik’s Continuous Classroom, Qlik Community, Qlik Nation and other resources, Brunton and his team will have plenty of help to make this vision possible – one where the business will not only have a full view of the company’s health, but one where all stakeholders will be able to look as far into the future as possible, while preemptively managing bottlenecks and anticipating customer needs.