Industry:

Consumer Goods


Location:

Global


Turnover:

over $80 bn


Employees:

30,000


Region:
  • North America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe

InfomatiX Platform:

IX Automation & Optimization


Business topics:
  • Business insights
  • Supply chain
  • Sales forecasting

Technology:
  • Optimization
  • Integration
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Scaled analytics

Improve forecasting efficiency and optimize supply chain with smart integration of TIBCO Spotfire® and KNIME™.

 

THE BUSINESS

The client is a consumer packaged goods company manufacturing many high-quality brands familiar to households. For growing and smooth sales, business decision makers must have global forecasting tools that are based on close to real time data to keep ideal stock levels, to minimize warehousing costs and to ensure timely product delivery for ongoing availability. The insightful and actionable analysis enables marketers to react faster than the competition thus further grow sales.

THE TECHNOLOGY

KNIME™ is a brilliant data mining platform that facilitates data manipulation and transfer with a set of pre-built data analytics operators (nodes). Its modular pipeline concept allows users to transform data, create statistics in an intuitive way to enable data discovery. This allows your users to discover the potential hidden in your data, mine for fresh insights, or predict new futures.

TIBCO Spotfire® is a cutting-edge BI tool for analytics and data visualization. It allows users to create interactive solutions and enable them to drill down in the data. With its high-end visualization layer and analytic capabilities Spotfire leverages real-time information and data-driven analytics.

THE CHALLENGE

The report template on market trends and sales forecasts was originally created by a vendor. The integrated solution combined the data manipulation capacities of KNIME with the visualization and the self-discovery capabilities of TIBCO Spotfire.  The goal of the implementation was to forecast sales data on global level at any granularity of brand, country or region and provide the right data at the right time for decision makers, however the running time of the original workflow was 2:30 hours on average, which had to be reduced significantly.

Sales analysis-based rapid and insightful forecasting is a critical success factor for such a global enterprise. In order to optimize the integrated solution and reduce the running time of the workflow, back-end data preparation had to be improved. More than 160 input files were used as data sources of the scaled solution in order to generate the 5 files for visualization. The data manipulations were complex and time consuming due to the large number of data tables and workflows involved, which all had to be discovered, redesigned, optimized and automated.

THE SOLUTION

The optimized solution integrates the advantages of KNIME and Spotfire taking the best combination of tools from the two solutions.

 

Discovery.  In the discovery phase, the goal was to identify the workflows and calculations that could be simplified. Therefore, the data structure and the workflows that served as direct sources of the visualization needed for business users were explored one-by-one.

Redesign and optimization. The greatest impact was achieved by redesigning the workflows and calculations. Streamlining the workflows included eliminating the unnecessary reader nodes, merging threads, simplifying algorithms, followed by additions in order to create the needed data structure for the visualization. . Notably, to accelerate the solution, many calculations were taken out of the KNIME workflows and conducted by Spotfire leveraging the advanced computing capacities of the tools.

In the same time, the optimization possibilities of the servers were explored to create a more stable integrated environment. The redesigned server environment not only enabled a significant performance improvement of the solution, but the implemented Java snippet nodes also made the testing more comprehensive.

Automation. In the end, the usability and performance tests ensured seamless performance for the client’s benefit. Technical and logical changes resulted in an application that is scaled to a global enterprise solution.

As a result, the integrated solution was rapid enough to get quick, actionable insights on sales analysis and forecasting.

  • Unnecessary data and data loading errors are excluded
  • Server usage = capacity increase
  • Elimination of unnecessary reader nodes = 50% simplification
  • Merge of threads = 1 thread enough instead of 3
  • Integration and improvement of calculations = 1 hour template loading time saving
  • Workflow optimization = 50-70% time saving

 

THE OUTCOME

Better Forecasts with Agile Analytics: The optimized solution enables users to self-serve data discovery and better insights that enhances the efficiency of forecasting, i.e. improved resource allocation, right stock levels, timely shipment and product availability.

Time saving: The well-designed integration leverages the capabilities of two best-in-class BI tools enabling decision makers to get the data and reports significantly quicker. The better and faster understanding of trends makes it possible to have insights and act ahead of competition.

Scaled enterprise solution: The optimized solution provides an ideal integrated framework of market diagnostics for local business users as well as global enterprise level decision makers.

Next Steps

  • IX KNIME-Spotfire Integration simplifies data research by allowing users to do iterations quickly and safely and eliminates manual work errors of loading data from KNIME to TIBCO Spotfire. A great tool to accelerate Spotfire and KNIME adaptivity in analytics-driven organizations.
  • For more information contact IX Automation and Optimization Consultants at spotfire@infomatix.net