Information to Go

By Bob Violino  |  Posted 08-27-2008 Print Email

Information to Go

Papa Gino's adopted operational BI as part of a strategic, five-year project to optimize IT systems and applications throughout the organization to improve the performance of its restaurants. BI became a high priority as executives realized the company could use the technology to more effectively leverage the massive amounts of data being gathered in the JD Edwards ERP applications; internally developed, in-store point-of-sale systems; and via spreadsheets. The business and many of the individual restaurants were performing well when Papa Gino's used the old process of data analysis. But executives realized that with the latest BI technology, they could not only improve the process and save time, but more effectively tap into a wealth of information to generate more improvements. "We wanted to turn the information into something more meaningful," Papa Gino's CIO Paul Valle says.

With the BI system, called IBM Cognos 8 BI, Papa Gino's managers use dashboards to quickly analyze financial data, such as revenue, at an individual restaurant by week, month or year, and how the revenue compares with performance at

the same restaurant in previous periods, revenue goals set by management, and revenue at other restaurants in the same region or state.

The system also provides reporting and analysis of operational data--such as how many customers visit a restaurant during various times, what sorts of items customers are ordering, and how many hours employees are logging--so managers can see how each restaurant is performing.

Food delivery accounts for about one-third of Papa Ginos' business, so a key statistic is on-time percentages for such deliveries. "We're looking at not just how often deliveries are on time, but what we're promising to the customer and how well we're hitting those promises," Valle says. So, for example, if a restaurant consistently promises customers 20-minute deliveries but delivers in a half-hour, that restaurant is earmarked for improvements.

Another major contributor to the business is phone-ahead orders, so other key statistics include how quickly order takers at restaurants answer the phone, how many calls are abandoned by customers, and how many callers receive busy signals when they dial the restaurants. "The industry standard is to have 85 percent of your calls answered within 12 seconds," Valle says. "That keeps guests happy and can create more orders by doing things more efficiently."

So if a restaurant isn't at least meeting that standard, Papa Ginos' managers can address the issue and make improvements. These types of enhancements can lead to increased customer satisfaction and more repeat business, the goal of any retailer. "We want to be best in class; to be doing what the guest wants from us," Valle says, and the insight provided by BI enables the company to do that. It also helps Papa Gino's restaurants operate more efficiently. For example, analysis of calling data lets managers know if there are enough people answering phones. When managers at the company evaluated data prior to the BI deployment, much of the business insight provided by BI wasn't possible. That means doing more than simply pulling in data--it's finding key metrics and making them available to business managers, via dashboards. In all, 80 to 100 managers at Papa Gino's use the BI application.

The company plans to move into the third phase of its BI implementation: using the technology to report and manage "by exception," Valle says. The first phase was to give business users the reporting tools and all the data they wanted to see. The second was to boil down information from dozens of metrics to 10 to 20 key metrics deemed vital to the business, giving business users the option to look at other data metrics as needed.

In the third and final phase, key metrics are examined for exceptional data. With this strategy, decision makers only look at data that's outside certain thresholds orpercentages--in positive and negative ways. For example, if a restaurant averages a total of daily guests that falls below a certain threshold, managers are alerted to the anomaly. In the same way, they're made aware of restaurants that have a higher than-expected number of guests. That enables district managers to quickly identify and nullify problems.

One of the tangible benefits of the BI system is that operations and finance managers spend more time analyzing data trends and less time collecting data, compared with the process used before the implementation.

Another benefit is that managers can use the forecasting capabilities of the BI application to get a better idea of how much product they should order and how many workers they should schedule, which improves the overall efficiency of operations.

As for performance improvements, Papa Gino's has seen gains such as improved on-time deliveries since deploying operational BI. "We're using it as a tool to help us refine and improve the restaurant experience, to increase guest satisfaction," Valle says. "If guests are not having a good experience, we're not going to have sales."



 

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