All Posts by Petra Bekesi

Power Up Your Reports

Microsoft Excel is used everyday across companies, however, many people may not know the advances implemented within the program.
These advances namely are Power Query and Power Pivot. These tools enable users to work in a more automated way with their Excel files and implement more seamless and advanced solutions within their spreadsheets. In the following, we will closely elaborate on these advances and reveal the additional potential they bring for the application.

Power Query and Power Pivot

Data gathering and cleaning can take up a large portion of time for people working with data. Therefore, tools aimed at automating these tasks can prove to be very beneficial. 

The purpose of Power Query, Excel’s built-in data engine, is to automate the getting and the cleaning of data in Excel using a user-friendly graphical user interface and with no need for any programming knowledge (such as VBA). This enables users to finish their tasks easier and quicker. Power Query supports direct connection to a large amount of data sources: folders, JSON files, databases, local computer files, web pages, SharePoint folders, etc. You can import data from all these sources into one Excel workbook and avoid the creation of multiple source sheets. This supports easy file transferability and a better overview.

After connecting to the data, you have the option to easily apply data transformation steps, such as change data types, merge tables or columns, rename or duplicate columns, etc. These changes are recorded within Power Query, therefore, whenever your data source refreshes these recorded steps will automatically apply to the freshly loaded data as well. In Excel you have the option to load the imported data as an Excel Table, Pivot Table Report or create a Data Model from multiple tables, which enables cross-table references and filters without having to implement heavy functions, such as VLOOKUP.

After these steps you can explore Power Pivot. Power Pivot is capable of working with millions of rows of data compared to the limited capacity of Excel itself. It also enables the creation of calculated columns, measures to further analyze the data and gain valuable decision-relevant insights using Data Analysis Expression (DAX). DAX is able to return one or more values through exploiting functions, operators in formulas and expressions. This analysis goes above grid-style formulas and supports advanced solutions, for example time intelligence functions for easy time period comparisons.

Power BI

Power BI, Microsoft’s specific data analytics and visualization tool also runs Power Query, enabling all above listed functionalities enriched with enhanced visualization and data analytics capabilities. The application has the potential of working with both historical and real-time data, therefore can fully support data-driven decision making on the go.

Are you interested in exploring opportunities within the described areas? Feel free to reach out to us for a consultation!

WM Implementation – Part 1: Inbound Process Optimization

Recently our company, InfinITy Consulting, participated in implementing a SAP driven warehouse management solution for HikVision’s warehouse located in the North of the Netherlands. With HikVision’s warehouse extension and increasing order amounts, the need for a more optimized and automated solution arose. The goal of the project was to implement the system solution within the scope of three months, by the time the extended warehouse goes into use.

During the project throughout different workshops, together with the domain experts, information on the current ways of working and main solution requirements were collected for the inbound warehousing process. For this process our consultants presented a proof of concept to be accepted. In case certain concepts within the system did not fit the needs of HikVision, custom development took place in order to meet the given requirements to full extent.

The newly adopted solution is system guided, however allows for manual overwrites at all times. This helps mitigate a more seamless and easier transition from previously accustomed to ways of working and helps build trust with the system and the solution. Our consultants are available and provide guidance also after the initial implementation. Through training documentations, configuration details and process descriptions necessary knowledge is transferred in order to ensure seamless operations.

Are you interested in exploring how SAP and our process knowledge could help you turn into working in a more automated and efficient way? Feel free to reach out to us for a consultation to see how we can help your business!

How To Predict Delivery Performance?

Measuring the efficiency and accuracy of our supply chain is very crucial in determining overall performance and ensuring that customers in the end of the day remain happy and satisfied. In the following post we will introduce one of our solution concepts that enables businesses to predict their future logistics and delivery performance by predicting OTIF deliveries.

OTIF is a powerful and critical metric quantifying delivery performance. It stands for On Time and In Full and calculates whether deliveries are arriving on time and in full requested quantity to the customers.
Once the metric is set up, it provides important insights into what ratios the deliveries are performing as expected and whether further attention and inspection is needed.
It is also possible to independently evaluate for the two separate parts of the measure: on time (finding late deliveries) and in full (finding accidentally partial deliveries). This serves as first step of our solution.

With an AI-driven approach we aim to prepare your business for future scenarios, give you information about when to expect your deliveries to be late and not full. Our solution also focuses on finding the main root-causes of why the deliveries are late and not complete. This is also one of the main enablers of overcoming the problems. With this knowledge your business can turn the attention on what truly matters and prepare up ahead for coming events. Our consultants can also guide you in ensuring that the correct data capture is set up within your company and is at the adequate granular level so that the calculation can take place properly.

 Are you interested in exploring how the prediction of OTIF deliveries can help your business? Feel free to reach out to us for a consultation to see how we can help your business remain competitive!

Purchasing, just a need or the backbone of an organization?!

Purchasing, for most companies, is part of their everyday business, but sometimes the process can run in an inefficient way. What is purchasing actually and how can it be done efficiently?

In the literal sense, purchasing is the process a company uses to obtain goods or services in order to accomplish its objectives. In purchasing it is also monitored whether what had been bought meets the standards. Next to this, it is also checked whether the suppliers are still delivering according to the terms and conditions agreed in the original contract or new sources need to be found. This process together with all the administrative work involved is called Procurement.

Purchasing departments help keep organizations healthy. 

Purchasing departments help keep organizations healthy, because if they are unable to procure goods or services that are needed to meet operational needs while providing the highest possible value, then a company cannot deliver the best quality to their customer. Inefficient purchasing can cause increased costs, interrupted production, inconsistency, and overall delays. This makes it clear that purchasing needs to be done in an efficient way, but how can that be done? 

The procurement cycle is shown in the picture above. The process starts with determining material requirements from the planning side. From here onwards communications with different vendors can start. Monitoring is very important in this process. One of the main questions is: are the ordered materials on-time? After successfully receiving the orders, the payment processing can begin.

This whole process can be done in an efficient and automatic way within SAP. Special procurement, such as dropship, stock transfer using stock transport order or subcontracting is also available within the ERP system. SAP contributes to streamlining the full procurement process, offers adequate, simple and quick framework while all steps of the process is documented in detail, but not excessively over documented. The system ensures that all performed activities are fully value-adding, it enforces quality requirements and enhances collaboration between different parties. 

InfinITy consulting is specialized in different areas within SAP. Combining our process knowledge with our data science expertise, we can guide you in how to log, monitor and improve your processes in order to ensure that they are running smoothly and in the most efficient way. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to have more information about what InfinITy Consulting can do for you!

Data Science and InfinITy

In 2020 alone 59 zettabyte of data was generated and captured worldwide. This immensely large amount of data (only growing year by year) holds information and insights that are of great value.

A couple of years ago the profession of data science emerged. The aim of this field is to gain insights, extract information from data through computer science, artificial intelligence, statistical methods with the final intention of applying the findings for improved operations in different application domains.

As business consultants we recognize the potential data holds, also collected by enterprise resource planning systems such as SAP. Our goal is to draw attention to this and support businesses by enabling and guiding them in making sense of their data and completely leveraging its potential.

The aim of data science is to extract information from data through computer science, artificial intelligence, statistical methods with the final intention of applying the findings for improved operations in different application domains.

The Value of Our Data

We hear and read a lot about how data brings value and insights but what do we mean by that exactly? What can we do with our collected data and how do we do it?
Applying data science techniques allows you to seek advantages from multiple aspects and angles. It can greatly contribute to finding the main cause of currently faced problems within businesses such as declining profit numbers or inefficient process flows. Data scientists do exploratory analyses on existing data to reveal valuable insights and with the help of graphs, dashboards, interactive reports these insights can be effectively communicated and visualized.

Exploring The Unknown!

Data science also aims at discovering potential not-yet-revealed problems and the solutions to these unknown areas. This helps prepare for unexpected happenings such as machinery failure or delivery problems. The analytical tools and techniques work by finding correlations, connections, patterns in large amount of raw data that are invisible to human eyes.

We hope you enjoyed this post elaborating on the importance and opportunities data science aims to bring for companies. In the following months, from different angles we will introduce the main concepts, relevant use cases and most important know-hows companies need to understand in order to become data-driven and to optimize their operations through leveraging data. Hope to see you next time again and in case of any questions feel free to reach out to us!

New Team Member: Ruben Welling

Who am I?
Hi, my name is Ruben and 38 years old. Together with my wife Siobhan and 3 daughters Dimphy (21), Bayleigh Sky (11) & Riva June (7), I am living in Hoensbroek near to Heerlen. After graduating from the Hogeschool Zuyd in Facility Management, I rolled into logistics. For the last 15 years I served in different analytical roles in logistics (specialized in warehousing) such as logistics analyst, sr. engineer & continuous improvement specialist within the Medtech industry.

What do I like to do?
After an “experience present” from my wife a couple of months ago, I love to play music. She sent me to a guitar lesson and since then I try to be a musician. Next to that I really enjoy spending time with the family, especially when the weather is good to go discover some “unknown” terraces where the kids can play, and we can philosophize about life.

Why InfinITy?
When I was working for a previous company, I also worked closely with some (now direct) colleagues. I’m convinced that the drive of all those employees and the no-nonsense culture within the company will accelerate my knowledge to be a valuable member within every future assignment as an SAP consultant.

Number  1 on bucket list?
I would love to run the New York marathon. But considering my almost not doing sport/exercise mindset at this moment of time, I’m afraid it will be on the list for a long time to be finally ticked off.

The POW-er of making the right choices during scarcity

COVID-19 is hampering logistics worldwide, be it shipping your product out or receiving enough stock from your vendor. This logistical problem hits a lot of companies, small or big, and creates a constraint in terms of finished goods distribution. Most Sales and Supply Chain departments need to answer the following question; how to deploy our limited inventory while still keeping our promises and providing the highest value?

Answering this conflicting question is a puzzle that needs business input and system support. As more and more companies are moving towards an agile approach, flexibility and speed is required. Getting to a correct business input and setting the rules is hard and requires (flexible) people.

Systems, and in particular SAP, are rigid for business continuation. You wouldn’t want your system failing and not being able to ship out products for example. That rigidity however brings some inflexibility and increases throughput time if changes are required. In a situation like COVID-19 you want to be able to quickly adapt to a new situation and change your system where needed without disrupting business continuity.

A good solution would be to deliver the products only to high prio customers while also keeping inventory available for general customer satisfaction. This solution can be accomplished in a SAP system by means of Product Allocation. Based on a set of business rules you only promise what can be done, in terms of incoming and available inventory, keeping in mind the limitations of your (global) supply chain.

Just as I-Man, we can help you find the best fitting solution for this problem. InfinITy Business Consulting is deploying functionalities in end-2-end situations. In a next article we will dive into the details of Product Allocation in S4H with means of a use case. Do you recognize the inventory struggles or just want to know more on Product Allocation in general, feel free to contact us by any means possible.