Street Furniture Australia, a company that manufactures furniture for outdoor public spaces, used to rely on Excel to create reports using NetSuite data. But according to production manager Chris Morgan, that approach was costing the company time and money and even doing damage to its reputation.
The company prides itself on being lean and agile. It makes 40 to 50 pieces of furniture each day, including fountains, seats, tables, and bollards, for customers in Australia and around the globe.
To effectively manage production, respond to last-minute customer changes, and plan for projects two or three years out, the company had to have access to the very latest data. That data had to be accurate—any out-of-date information could negatively impact Street Furniture Australia’s ability to meet customer requirements. That’s why the reliance on Excel was holding the company back.
“Generally, it was a mess. You literally had to retune what you’re looking at every time,” Morgan says. “It would cost us a huge amount, both financially and to our reputation.”
Then Street Furniture Australia implemented iCharts, a visual analytics solution that’s native to NetSuite. Everyone in the company can now visualize all NetSuite in real time—no more hours spent on exporting data and manipulating it in Excel, and no more costly delays due to inaccurate, outdated information. Senior managers now have time to manage their departments instead of spending hours creating reports.
Real Time Operational Progress
Since the data visualizations created in iCharts are so easy to understand, employees don’t need to be an expert in any one department. With just one glance, employees can see where a project is at, where things are going, and what needs to be done. With iCharts, the company can track day-to-day operations in real time and can even see what’s happening minute by minute. Tracking jobs every step of the way allows employees to identify issues as they arise and handle them before they cause any drama.
“When an order comes into the system that doesn’t have the allocated time or resources, we pick it up immediately and it’s addressed purely by using that visual management and being able to see it happen live on the system,” Morgan says.
iCharts also gave Street Furniture Australia the ability to better manage its stock levels. The company decreased stock turnover from 200 days to 90 days and saved several hundred thousand dollars in the process. iCharts has also helped the company stay lean and agile. “Everything we do is about improving how we do it, reducing the waste, and not doing things that don’t make us any money,” Morgan explains.
Morgan firmly believes in managing operations through data visualization. “Being able to make decisions based on real live data rather than relying on reports that could be days, weeks, or months old is invaluable,” he says.
For Street Furniture Australia, making the move to iCharts has been nothing but positive. Morgan sums it up this way: “It’s saved us a huge amount of cost and improved our reputation as a business that’s able to deliver on time. It makes life very much easier and simpler for everyone.”