“It did what it said on the tin and it was delivered in under two months.”
Kevin Allen, CEO, Concord Filing Products
If you’re in an office, any office in the UK, the chances are you’re only a few feet away from one of this company’s products. Liverpool based manufacturer Concord produce a wide range of quality stationery products, pads, books, files and dividers, which they sell to retail multiples, stationery wholesalers and public/private sector end-users. With turnover in excess of £18m p.a. and a team of over 150, they are the UK market leaders.
Like many manufacturers, particularly those supplying supermarkets and wholesalers, understanding pricing and margins is key for Concord. Tight margins and complex retrospective rebates mandated by the customer mean calculating true gross margin is a complicated and time consuming activity.
Kevin Allen, CEO of Concord Filing Products and a chartered accountant by trade, explains.
“The environment we operate in is very competitive. We sell to large and demanding customers like Tesco, Asda, WH Smith, Rymans and Staples. Pricing and margin analysis is absolutely critical, given the low margins and the large number of SKUs (we make about 2000 products).”
“We dealt with this by producing huge spread sheets. We had ones that took literally minutes to load. They started life as a download from our IFS ERP system, which we then manually manipulated, built in the rebates etc, and from there sliced and diced.”
“Because this process was so time consuming, we didn’t do our analysis very often. “
He added, “We actually do have what I regard as an excellent ERP system. But we also have data spread across different sources. For example, whilst we capture in our ERP the gross selling price, we don’t capture the associated rebates, which are held in spread sheets”
“Our ERP system is full of data, but we get very little information from it”
How Matillion Helped
Matillion implemented ‘Sales Analysis’ and ‘Inventory and Supply Chain Analysis’ modules for Concord, tightly integrating them with their IFS ERP system.
Using Matillion’s ETL technology and the cloud based Data Warehouse which was deployed for Concord, we were able to automate business rules to apply rebate calculations to sales actuals – giving true gross margin, for use in pricing and profitability analysis.
Using Matillion BI, Concord were able to go from analysing sales, pricing and margins at customer level on a quarterly basis, to analysing down to an individual SKU level, daily.
“Matillion came in and looked at what our ERP system provided and were able to map it into the Data Warehouse.
Critically for us, [Matillion] was able to link our quite complex rebate structure into the Data Warehouse.
This means we can now analyse the true gross margin, after rebates, product-by-product, customer-by-customer, every day.”
The time savings were impressive too – allowing Concord to produce more detailed and useful analysis, far more regularly, whilst saving several days of manual work producing management information every quarter.
Allen agrees. “I’d rather I had my management team focused on winning new business, marketing our products and reducing costs, instead of sitting down and working on spread sheets.”
What would you say to others considering Matillion?
“We needed something in quickly as we were approaching fourth quarter, when we negotiate our pricing for the following year. We kicked off on the 9th September and were live on the 14th November. It did what it said on the tin and it was delivered in under two months.”
What were the benefits?
“Faster, more useful and more consistent management reporting. With the system we have got in place now [Matillion BI], our management information is all coming from one place and it’s consistent. All we have to do is refresh, and it updates the information.
“Happily, I now believe we’re making decision based on facts, not feelings.”
Would you recommend Matillion BI to others? Yes.