Benefits as Clear as Glass


A stuffy conference room in the Pretoria capital of South Africa. Although ideas are flying hot and heavy, the heating is on. It’s winter in South Africa, time for the Consol management to do the rounds of the factories to check on productivity and business development. Pretoria today, Clayville tomorrow. Then Wadeville. Or is Bellville next?

It’s a cycle that repeats every quarter. As always, everyone is well prepared for the meeting, and the latest data is on hand – including pertinent information from the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaverBW) software. Nonetheless, plenty of questions crop up during the session.

Such as, “Where’s all the mayo going?” Makers of mayonnaise have been turning more and more to plastic bottles, but Consol still only offers the traditional glass mayonnaise jar. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know how the sales numbers for the jar have changed over the last five years? “I just whipped out my iPhone, opened the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software, found the jar, and ran the query.

A couple of seconds later, we knew the answer,” recalls Consol’s chief information officer Johan du Plessis when we meet a week later at Consol headquarters in Germiston, near Johannesburg. Apparently, the glass mayonnaise jar sold very well from 2006 to 2008, but sales declined in 2009 owing to the recession. This year, mayonnaise jar sales are climbing again. Conclusion? Quality mayonnaise still comes in proper glass jars, whereas discount mayo is often packaged in PET bottles. Question answered, to general relief. Next item on the agenda…

You will find the whole article in the current SAP SPECTRUM.

Free download: The current article of SAP SPECTRUM Issue 4 | 2010.