Workwear Group ensures timely delivery of front-line workers uniforms with collaborative Sales Forecasting directly in Microsoft’s Power BI platform
About Workwear Group
Workwear Group, a world-class leader in specialised uniform solutions, provides workers with a sense of identity and organisations with the opportunity to take pride in their people and honour their brand. From the Australian Navy, to Firefighters, Nurses, and Industrial Teams, Workwear honours their customers by doing the right thing, keeping costs low, and building a brand their customers can trust.
Workwear Group’s Data & Analytics team is responsible for supporting analysis, forecast, and decision making for groups across the organisation from sales, merchandise planning, supply chain, and finance. To provide the highest standards of products and customer care, the Data & Analytics team replaced their legacy BI platform and switched to a more modern BI approach with Microsoft Power BI.
They extended this approach by adding Power ON to enable more accurate, informative, and timely sales forecasting in Power BI, that was a pivot point for other groups in the organisation to leverage for their reporting and analysis.
Workwear Group’s legacy BI platform and database was resource hungry, ad-hoc request heavy, and too manual and bespoke to efficiently support mission critical Sales forecasting and downstream reporting & analysis requirements across the organisation.
Security patches, servers hanging, data restores and refreshes, data availability issues, and lost data often caused delayed or inaccurate forecasts. This had ripple effects across the organisation delaying information for Sales, merchandise planning, supply chain and finance, which ultimately affected customer orders and the decisions of the executive team.
The legacy BI ecosystem required the Data & Analytics team to aggregate Sales data in order to provide fast analysis capability. With key sales information suppressed, Sales Account Managers could not drill to underlying details answer questions regarding order quantities, order details, etc., in order to provide an accurate forecast.
Different versions of data model cubes with different rules created ‘multiple sources-of-truth’ problems, were a challenging to maintain, and created confusion and disagreement with sales teams over which cube to base their forecasts on.
The Data & Analytics Team knew there had to be a better way – and that was to build a new foundation and move to a modern BI platform with Microsoft Power BI.
While Power BI provided an easy-to-use self-service capability for reporting needs,
it created a gap for a sales forecasting and data collection solution.
To capitalise on the enhanced value of data models in Microsoft Power BI, they needed a data collection mechanism that would allow users to play with forecasting models and write-back to the source data all in one place; as it was important that users can trace data back to the original data source of the report data.
Their research for how to enable Write-back in Power BI led them to Power ON.
- Legacy BI platform, manual + bespoke
- Days wasted on de-bugging issues
- Lost data with restores + refreshes
- Data aggregation + lost transaction detail
- Delayed forecasts impact downstream processes
- Reliance on IT for ad-hoc requests
- Impacts on customer orders
With Microsoft Power BI providing a stable and modern BI platform and a source of org-wide reporting and analysis truth, adding Power ON Visual Planner enables Workwear to fill the data-collection and forecasting gap. Now they unify Sales forecasting and downstream org-wide analysis in Power BI.
Visual Planner extended the efficacy of Power BI with collaborative Sales forecasting and robust data collection allowing Sales to enter forecast data directly in Power BI and write-back to the Azure SQL server database.
Account managers are able to enter forecast data directly into Power BI and even add commentary at individual data points to provide management real-time insight to rationale for their forecasts. Management now has a greater understanding of the numbers and can approve forecasts quicker, eliminating days waiting for explanations back and forth via email and delays on future customer orders.
As a Microsoft shop, Workwear Group found that Power ON ticked a lot of boxes for their Sales forecasting needs. Workwear Group already invested in Power BI, so Power ON, with real-time writeback to their Azure SQL server database, gave them the ability to integrate their analysis, reporting, and forecasting needs in a single place, supporting enhanced and actionable decision making across the organisation.
Sales Account Managers make changes regularly in Power BI with Power ON as they get feedback from their customers and ensure prompt delivery of uniforms to the workers that need them.
Workwear Group’s Data & Analytics team now spends less time on rudimentary data wrangling, server refreshes, and troubleshooting, offering more value to the business with self-service analysis, and real-time collaborative sales forecasts ready for leadership insights.
What used to take 3-4 days for data restore, or even retrieval and debugging data from server-hanging issues, is now done in a matter-of-hours since forecast data is integrated with the Power BI platform.
Sales teams save up-to-a-week or more per month with real-time and automatic updates to the database, eliminating the need to re-key forecast data that was historically frequently lost during restore or refresh procedures.
Account managers across Workwear Group, including front-line, regional, and national sales managers, can key in daily forecast numbers now, directly into Power BI, including dynamic commentary, as they receive updates from their customers and the market for the incoming sales. As a result, Sales teams now complete their forecasts faster, giving other departments speedier insight to help process orders and meet their customers’ needs by ensuring orders are in place and on time.
The ease of use with Power ON allows Salespeople to enter uplifts from the regular trends in additional units, and captures feedback and changes regularly, which has resulted in better target achievement.
The new platform of Power BI and Power ON provide decision makers across the organization visibility they’ve never had in the past; because the data no longer needs to be aggregated to support fast query and analysis requirements. Now, in Power ON + Power BI driven reports and dashboards, users can drill from the top of a customer division or a product category right through to the transaction detail.
Senior Leadership consumes the information, fuelled in part by Sales Forecasts input via Power ON’s write-back capability, in company-wide Power BI dashboards to monitor KPI’s and drive more informed cross-org and strategic decision making.
There’s now one Sales forecast dataset that drives the entire organisation’s Sales reporting and forecasting, eliminating prior confusion on which data cube is correct – yep, one version of the truth. Finance and other stakeholders across the business use the data driven from Power BI + Power ON for their reporting and analysis – saying that they are now able to trust the numbers.
Ultimately, timelier and more accurate forecasts provide better direction for the company and enable Workwear Group to stay true to their mission, take pride in their products, honour their brand, and better serve their customers who proudly wear their Workwear Group uniform as they serve in their communities and on the front-lines.
- Modern, BI platform
- Unified BI + Planning with enhanced datasets
- Streamlined data validation in mere hours vs days
- Can drill into source detail for insight
- Collaborative Sales forecasting in Power BI
- Timely forecasts + approvals
- Better able to serve customers
Power ON is the way to go for data collection because it's in Microsoft Power BI.
We leverage the Power BI dataset which we are familiar and comfortable with, and it’s a solution that we want to invest heavily in.