Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  23 Nov 2009

INFOTECH: Change Of IT Game For Overberg Agri


Recent Western Cape Business News

The agricultural subsidiary of Overberg Agri has experienced a dramatic improvement in the speed and accuracy of its operational business information since implementing QlikView business intelligence software.

Since the installation of QlikView, their operational managers are now able to view basic to advanced information, e.g. stock turnover, stock on hand, available silo capacity, profitability analysis, market share, debtor analysis, etc. on their PC screens whenever they want to.

With over 400 employees and operations that cover everything from fertiliser and tractor sales through grain storage to insurance, the agricultural arm of Overberg Agri is a complex business. “We have over 800 clients and every single one of them has a slightly different arrangement with us,” says BI co-ordinator Morné van der Westhuizen. “Overberg Agri’s ability to cater to the needs and requirements of each client is one of the reasons why it is such a successful business. QlikView has made the entire decision making process much faster and more accurate, because we can see and analyse every detail of a client’s relationship with us within a couple of clicks.”

As an example, says IT manager Johan Mouton, “We’ve written a special QlikView model for our reps that is available on their laptops.  Because the stockholding and prices sometimes vary from branch to branch, the reps are now able to view the stock availability as well as the prices thereof at each branch, with the click of a button.  This allows the reps to provide a better service to our clients, because the information they require is immediately available.”

Mouton and van der Westhuizen say they have been surprised by how enthusiastically Overberg Agri employees have embraced QlikView and how ‘word of mouth’ amongst staff has resulted in phone calls to their offices, wanting to know how soon QlikView will be installed on their machines.

Mouton says financial statements are now available just a few days after the end of each month, and the volume of queries from the company’s auditors has declined dramatically.  “We can now answer queries in hours that would have taken us days before,” he says. “Not only that, the quality of the underlying data is improving all the time because QlikView exposes inaccuracies and inconsistencies very quickly.”

The biggest advantage of all, says van der Westhuizen, “is that our clients are getting better and quicker service. Our clients need to know what we have in stock, what they bought from us, for how much and when. It used to take many calls and complex spreadsheets -- now they can get that information with just one phone call.”

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