RS Components improves the speed and quality of business insight with SAP HANA

RS Components is a global distributor of industrial parts. It sells electrical, automation and control, testing and measurement, and mechanical components.

The organisation lacked the IT infrastructure required to glean insight into business performance and make critical strategic decisions. This was further exacerbated by the different levels of complexity across its operations.

Bluefin Solutions transformed RS’s reporting capabilities by decommissioning its existing system and replacing it with SAP BW on HANA.
 

The business challenge

RS needed the ability to produce a single version of the truth when it came to company performance. That meant overhauling its data capture, analysis and reporting capabilities, by decommissioning and replacing its outmoded system.

The existing set-up took too long to output the necessary data. This left the business unable to get a timely understanding of three key performance indicators: billing, inventory and stock provisions.

It was therefore impossible to monitor performance against strategic objectives, or make informed decisions about the future of the business.

“We needed to know how the business was performing against key indicators on an ongoing basis – but couldn’t reliably access the data to give us that insight.” David Axe, Global Business Intelligence Manager, RS Components

A four-fold challenge

RS faced several challenges when it came to obtaining robust performance data:

  1. Complexity. The company operates in around 30 countries, selling 500,000 product lines in each, to over a million wholesalers, retailers and consumers – online, in catalogues and at trade counters. The company ships over 45,000 same-day orders daily, and sources products from 2,500 suppliers worldwide
  2. Infrastructure. Reporting on such intricate operations means accurately processing vast amounts of information from a wide variety of sources. RS lacked the IT infrastructure to capture, analyse and report on the quality and quantity of data needed
  3. Processes. Reporting processes were manual and fragmented, making them resource-intensive and prone to inaccuracies
  4. Resources. The IT team was relatively small given the size and complexity of RS’s operations, so it could take months for them to produce the reports finance requested.

“We needed clear and accurate performance data to understand how we were doing against our objectives, and make strategic decisions about the future of the business. But there were numerous barriers to getting access to this information.” David Axe, Global Business Intelligence Manager, RS Components

The solution

Bluefin recommended implementing SAP BW on HANA. This would not only meet current analysis and reporting needs, it would also future-proof the system by enabling RS to respond quickly to operational changes.

The business case

Bluefin started by building a proof of concept for SAP BW on HANA in order to demonstrate how the solution could provide the data analysis and reporting capability RS needed.

That made the decision to invest simple.

“Bluefin Solutions laid out a compelling business case for SAP BW on HANA, underlining the benefits given our data challenges. It was immediately apparent that this was the solution we’d been after for some time.” David Axe, Global Business Intelligence Manager, RS Components

Implementation

As RS was already using SAP Business Warehouse to store data, SAP HANA could be readily deployed alongside it. At the same time, Bluefin reconfigured the underlying SAP architecture to make it simpler and more user-friendly.

Bluefin also implemented SAP BusinessObjects 4.1, giving RS a comprehensive enterprise analytics and reporting tool for the entire business. 

Following implementation, Bluefin trained RS’s IT team to use SAP BW on HANA for day-to-day reporting, transferring the knowledge needed to make the most of the new system.  

The business benefits

Implementing SAP BW on HANA has dramatically improved RS’s reporting capabilities in various ways:

  • The company now has a single source of accurate operational data, which can be captured quickly, easily and in a consistent format

  • Data can be mined and reports can be produced in minutes – this previously took months to do

  • The business now has insight on its performance that had been impossible to obtain in the past

  • The month-end financial close now takes two days instead of ten.  

“The speed and quality of the information now at our fingertips has given us new levels of business insight. We can track performance at the push of a button, rather than spending months producing reports.” David Axe, Global Business Intelligence Manager, RS Components

Why Bluefin Solutions?

Bluefin Solutions stressed the business benefits of the solution, rather than simply focusing on its technical attributes. This made it clear how SAP BW on HANA could address RS’s reporting challenges and deliver the insight the company required.

“Bluefin’s consultants didn’t just present a technical proposition. They articulated the business benefits of SAP BW on HANA, and demonstrated how it would benefit the end-users and the organisation.” David Axe, Global Business Intelligence Manager, RS Components

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