Under Schilke's direction, the tracking system hummed at near real-time speed, improving the window into a commodities supply chain moving more than 111 million pounds of food and other essentials annually to all parts of the world. The changes utilizing QlikView's ETL layer have sped decision-making on what, where and when to move supplies.
Feed The Children then went on to expand its use of QlikView to analyze donations - tracking trends, donor behavior and potential shortfalls to sharpen forecasts and focus fund-raising programs.
The expanding use of QlikView has had a positive impact on Schilke's Information Systems department. Replacing over 60 reports with intuitive dashboards that put reporting and analysis into the hands of business users frees Schilke's staff to focus on strategic projects and modernizing systems. The department itself uses QlikView dashboards for change management processes, asset tracking and help desk efficiency, which has improved by more than 10%.
A humanitarian mission
Feed The Children delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to people who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty or natural disaster. The organization annually distributes more than 111 million pounds of food and other essentials to children and their families in the US and internationally, supplementing more than 760,000 meals each day. During its 30-year history, Feed The Children has worked in 119 countries around the globe.
Aid through a commodities supply chain
In addition to monetary donations, Feed The Children accepts 'gift in kind' donations from an international network of corporations - everything from food and clothing to building materials. With such large volumes of goods moving through its six warehouses in the US, the non-profit relies on an in-house commodity tracking system to manage its supply chain from donors to recipients.
The system uses QlikView to gain visibility into hundreds of thousands of items. Users can track inventory levels and availability - from individual SKUs to broad categories of items - in order to ascertain readiness to respond to a request for aid at any time. The easy to use dashboards designed with QlikView allow users to drill down into graphs and charts for a true understanding of the meaning behind the data.
The value of QlikView's ETL layer
When Cody Schilke, VP of Information Systems, joined Feed The Children, he found QlikView wasn't being used to its fullest potential.
'When QlikView was originally deployed, we used an ETL process to pull data from all of our systems on AS/400 into an Oracle database, where it would be normalized. This setup added a day's delay for business users to access the data. I knew QlikView's built- in ETL layer could pull data from our applications' databases natively and so eliminated that extra step. As a result, we gained a near real-time access to the data.'
This real-time visibility led to greater efficiency in tracking expiration dates on perishable items across the organization. 'Since we have shipments moving through the warehouses all the time, tracking what's going to spoil and when can be a very complex task, and one that needed to be managed from a central location,' said Schilke. 'We were able to do this easily with QlikView.'
The centralized analysis with QlikView has become an important decision-support tool
for Feed The Children. 'It helps us to comply with best practices,' explained Schilke. 'When there is a disaster somewhere in the world, there is a logical order to what and when you ship out. For example, you wouldn't ship building supplies to an earthquake zone before sending food, water or medical supplies. Our Vice President of Warehousing relies on the commodities tracking dashboard to manage all of this quickly and efficiently.'
Expanding QlikView's 'empowerment'
With the improvements to managing the supply chain established, Schilke and his team focused next on a Donor Dashboard to track all donations to the organization, whether monetary or gift-in-kind.
Feed The Children's donor management legacy system produced canned 'green bar' reports that were cumbersome for users to navigate. They provided no context for data and information was nearly impossible to manipulate for any meaningful analysis.
'When you provide users with a 25 to 30 column report, it becomes overwhelming and they lose their focus on whatever information the report may contain,' reminded Schilke. 'With the new Donor Dashboard in QlikView, users see quick graphic summaries of information and can easily drill down into the data, which gives them endless possibilities for analysis and adds tremendous business value by way of real user empowerment.'
The Donor Dashboard is used to track donation trends and provide forecasts, allowing Feed The Children to predict where they may encounter shortfalls in the year. It correlates and monitors donor behavior which supports fund raising and marketing staff as they plan communications to the donor base.
Deploying QlikView has had a significant impact on Schilke's department, replacing over 60 reports with intuitive, user-driven dashboards that put reporting and analysis into the hands of users. Schilke's team also created their own QlikView dashboards to monitor change management processes, asset tracking and help desk system, improving efficiency by more than 10 percent.
Schilke's team is especially pleased with the high rate of user adoption for QlikView applications. 'Use of QlikView is almost viral,' said Schilke. 'Once one person in a department begins to use it, others see the value and are clamoring for it.'
'Use of QlikView is almost viral. Once one person in a department begins to use it, others see the value and are clamoring for it.'
Cody Schilke, Vice President of Information Systems, Feed