Jan Gustafsson is chief operating officer at the office specialist retail chain, Office Depot. The company is a result of Office Depot’s acquisition of Frans Svanströms & CO and AGE Kontor & Data AB. As project manager, Jan is responsible for finding good tools for measuring the business. Not only do the shops, which constitute one third of the business, need to be measured, but other parts of the company’s sales that come from sales via customer service, internal sales, e-commerce and the sales force also need to be measured. The tools are used by corporate management centrally and also by store managers, product managers, sales management and sales staff.
We have been working with QlikView for quite some time without exploiting the possibilities to the fullest. It was mostly a reporting tool to export information to Excel spreadsheets. This summer, Infozone came into the picture and helped us to utilize the benefits of QlikView, both with new ideas and by bringing structure to our information. This has given us the ability to twist and turn the numbers and break the numeric content down to each individual order and invoice. It has also made it possible to analyze our sales in detail in every sales channel, product area and by customer, and to also measure sales growth over time.”
For store managers, it has become possible to see how much the store is selling compared to other stores and follow the products’ and customers’ profitability. Even if the store manager just uses the tool for 15–20 minutes a week, it quickly provides a good picture of the situation and where there are possibilities for improvements. This is important because new trends are also developing in office supply stores. For example, paper consumption is steadily decreasing year by year even though it may only be by a small percentage each year. In turn, this means that the use of binders and similar products also decreases. Instead, the “fancier” office products are increasing, the ones that make the office more pleasant and efficient.
The Qlikview tool also helps us to keep track of major customers and their habits, and also assists in monitoring campaigns and what the results were. In this way, we can optimize the selection in the store and customize our inventory according to demand.
Every night, the database, which is the basis for all analyses of the business, is updated so that the figures are basically presented to the organization in real-time. The most important thing we have achieved is that we do not have to run Excel everywhere and everyone can get the figures they need directly, fast and hassle-free. Regarding the follow-up of products to check campaign results and pricing strategies, the product managers now have a new favorite tool.
It is increasingly important to compare the sales of the different products in different channels. Here, we have the opportunity to look at the individual order line to get the most interesting information. The information that is retrieved gives rise to numerous speculations, and over the long-term, new approaches. That may be why some products are only sold through the website while others are sold online, and how discount rates impact sales and earnings.
The cooperation with Infozone has proceeded extremely well. They have been responsive, flexible and come up with great ideas that show that they have extensive experience in helping to process interesting figures and large volumes of data. They have also warned us when we have wanted to do something that would work less well. The shops are very enthusiastic and think we have found a fantastic tool. Some have really embraced the possibilities and developed very powerful decision-making documentation. There are also quick-guides that make it easy to start using the tool and we also travel around and provide support to users in the regions and in the stores,” concludes Jan.
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