In business, successful disruptors are those that are nimble and lean. fairlife, a company that produces what it calls value-added milk products, sees itself as a disruptor in the dairy industry. In order to be competitive, fairlife has to be as efficient as possible.

So, the finance team wondered, why was it still processing reports manually?


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Frustration with Manual Reporting Process

By now, it’s a familiar story. NetSuite users love the solution’s functionality, but visualizing real-time data remains a challenge. Like many other NetSuite customers, the fairlife finance team relied on time-consuming manual processes to extract data from NetSuite and create reports. Brian Krosschell, fairlife finance director, outlined the steps:

“The process was to create a report, customize it, run it, throw filters on it, adjust those filters, download it into Excel, delete columns, reformat it, maybe throw a chart on it if necessary.”

Then, a spreadsheet summarizing the previous week’s performance was disseminated via email.

“We were spending way too much time in Excel, formatting, sending email,” Krosschell says. The fairlife financial team is small, with only 10 members, so bandwidth was at a premium. Frustrations mounted over the amount of time the team had to spend to create financial reports. The fact that some important data lived in different systems outside of NetSuite, with a different password required for each system, only added to the frustration.

“We just weren’t able to aggregate that information in an efficient way and get it out in a timely manner,” Krosschell, says. “I think that frustration boiled over into thinking, “Hey, there has to be a better way to do this.’”

Investment in Technology Led to Increased Efficiency

That’s when fairlife decided to invest in iCharts, a visual analytics solution that works natively within NetSuite to ease the process of creating data visualizations. iCharts allowed fairlife to aggregate and collect all the information at its plant—even from systems outside of NetSuite. From there, the finance team was able to focus on production and shipments, the data that was really driving the business.

“As we cut out the noise and focus on what we want to visualize, [iCharts] is a tool that’s bringing all that information from different systems into one place, into one spot, and it’s updating it in real time,” Krosschell says.

It’s also saving the finance team time. Instead expending a significant amount of energy each week extracting relevant data, creating reports, and emailing them out, the team has been able to develop several key charts that are then continuously updated in real time. The charts are available to anyone with the appropriate permissions within iCharts and can be easily shared.

Although fairlife has only been using iCharts for a few months, the return on investment is already apparent. With iCharts, fairlife is promoting transparency into finance and operations, and it’s leveraging technology to increase efficiency. Perhaps most importantly, fairlife is now able to use real-time data to make important business decisions about things like how much milk should be processed to meet upcoming demand.

Learn More About Improving Efficiency with iCharts

To find out more about how fairlife implemented iCharts and improved efficiency within the finance department, watch our webinar, “Best Practices in Financial Reporting with NetSuite.”

Is your company ready to capitalize on the benefits of visual analytics? Check out the iCharts interactive demo today.

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