“I can see the amount of time ZAP Data Hub saves every time a report or dashboard is generated for our NAV data… I can think of other BI and data management tools I’ve worked with in the past that have been incredibly costly by comparison and delivered only half the functionality.”
|Industry:||Food & Beverages|
|Requirements:||Fast, automated reporting, dashboards and BI from Dynamics NAV|
|Data Sources:||Microsoft Dynamics NAV (2009 R2), ZAP Data Hub, Zap BI|
Sandel Foods spun out of its Canadian parent company in February 2018, specialising in fillings, icing, and decoration. While the parent company was established by two partners in 1979, the spin-out is functioning as a start-up though under a long-established and popular name.
The business is based at in the Eastern Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada at a facility boasting more than 70,000 sq ft of highly automated, high-output production lines complimented by cooler, freezer and ambient areas for product movement and precision shipping.
Once the spin-out process was complete, Sandel Foods had to tackle three important data challenges:
- The business needed to start generating management reports, live dashboards and a 360-degree view of the entire business for the C-suite as quickly as possible.
- The finance team had a number of different tools and calculators that would need to feed into the system and be automated.
- Key users needed to be able to build their own dashboards themselves. They had a high willingness to learn but the challenges of a new system in effectively a new company were very real.
Before any of these could be tackled, the business took some very firm decisions on costs and expenditure. Through 2018, Sandel Foods hosted its data and business systems on Azure but IT manager Tyler Sevrens determined bringing their systems back in house would not only provide more control, it would lower costs. “Azure prices were increasing so we now have seven servers on-premise,” he says.
With costs in mind – and because Tyler himself is an IT department of just one person – BI tools had to be truly self-service, and data management and manual data tasks had to be automated. “That’s been possible due to the the ease of use of ZAP Data Hub and the great relationship with ZAP’s consultants"
Some years before, Sandel’s former parent company had worked with a legacy ZAP product, CubeXpress. “There was initially a proposal to move away from ZAP (or rather CubeXpress) to Microsoft Power BI, but when I saw the difference ZAP Data Hub could make and the difference between ZAP Data Hub and CubeXpress I pushed very hard for the ZAP Data Hub option and we put it in place. I’m sure the developers must be very proud of ZAP Data Hub as it’s light years ahead of CubeXpress.”
The results have been both immediate and measurable. “I can see the amount of time ZAP Data Hub saves every time a report or dashboard is generated for our NAV data,” says Sevrens. “I can think of other BI and data management tools I’ve worked with in the past that have been incredibly costly by comparison and delivered only half the functionality.”
“Our data management and BI is now completely handled by ZAP’s software. It’s so user friendly, so much so that I’m now able to teach the finance team how to create their own dashboards for themselves. They’ve seen the software and are ready and willing to learn! I have a history of 30 years in programming and consulting, so I really know how long it takes to generates reports from systems such as Navision.”
“Does the software save us time or money? I would say it saves us both. If we did not have ZAP Data Hub, we would literally have to clone me and hire another IT manager!”