This international market leader in aerial platforms for firefighting, rescue, and industrial applications needed a data rescue. Bronto Skylift was relying making decisions based on data that could be outdated or unreliable. Data lived in different systems, including an ERP system and spreadsheets. Compiling data from these various sources took too long and was resource-intensive. Worse, it could result in multiple versions of the truth. Bronto worked with the Finnish technology consultants Solutive to deploy Tableau to understand their data more clearly. Bronto now has one common, visually compelling approach for reporting sales, manufacturing, finance, and other important key performance indicators.
"I sometimes felt you needed a Bronto crane just to lift all these spreadsheets.”
When a fire breaks out 100 meters above the ground, emergency services providers call for a Bronto Skylift hydraulic platform. Finnish company Bronto Skylift is a global market leader in vehicle-mounted, aerial platforms for firefighting, rescue, and industrial applications. The company produces a range of appliances that extend up to 112 meters in working height. Bronto Skylift has net sales of $132 million (2015) and operates subsidiaries in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. Bronto was experiencing a common challenge: the need to make reporting easier to produce, share, and understand. The company stored data across a number of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, including an IFS finance system; Lean System ERP platform from Tieto; a staff time reporting system; and other sources. This was a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that delayed decision making. Many other ad hoc, day-to-day business decisions were based on data sitting in spreadsheets, separate to the ERP system. The result? Different sources of the truth and decisions based on old and sometimes untrusted data. For example, reporting was typically completed on a monthly basis, so decisions about sales, manufacturing or service were often based on data up to 30 days old. As a stock-listed company, it was crucial to develop a forecasting process that would be faster and more reliable. “In the past, manufacturing production forecasts were produced manually,” says Kimmo Pärssinen, Chief Financial Officer at Bronto Skylift. “We used to pull together data from manufacturing, customer requests for delivery, and invoicing schedules. It took one person a whole day each week to prepare the spreadsheet.” These were just a couple of the situations Pärssinen was appointed to resolve. “Reports were developed for a single purpose,” he explains. “Whenever senior management needed to understand the manufacturing order backlog, for example, a spreadsheet would be prepared from the sales data. That report took a considerable amount of effort to produce—and sometimes a considerable amount of effort to understand. We were missing a process-based way of thinking.” And this challenge extended across the Bronto organization. For example, it was difficult to understand the specific situation in geographic regions. “Everything from sales orders, invoicing and accounts payable, to production schedules, regional sales performance, and working capital management emanated from the same manual process. I sometimes felt you needed a Bronto crane just to lift all these spreadsheets.”