User-Centered Design approach puts dashboard in global top 5 Unilever

Using our User-Centered Design approach we developed a single report, giving 450 end users – ranging from senior management at European level to specific local teams – full insight into supply chain costs, with the aim of reducing these costs.

User-Centered Design approach

Our User-Centered Design approach puts the end users centre-stage from the start. For instance, we started by holding a number of workshops and interviews with end users from all over Europe. Due to the size and diversity of the group of end users, we developed personas. This gave each of the target groups a face and brought their wishes and needs 'to life' in a user friendly dashboard. Then a group of thirty ambassadors was selected from multiple layers of the organisation who were intensively involved in each step of the development process.

First dashboard wireframe built in a short period

Based on the ambassadors’ requirements that we catalogued, a first dashboard wireframe was quickly built. The purpose of this was to check with the group of ambassadors that we were headed in the right direction. They were given the opportunity to go through an initial 'sketch' of the dashboard. This made it possible to check whether the structure, the information included and the data visualisations chosen corresponded to their wishes and needs within a week.

Several prototypes presented during hackathons

After the initial tests with the ambassadors, a larger group of end users was asked for their feedback in the next phase. Working with the ambassadors, different prototypes were presented to more than 300 potential end users during two European hackathons. Because only the design was at issue, multiple versions could easily be tested to get a clear picture of what the final product should look like.

Product owners act as process monitors

The rapid progress of the development process was facilitated by the fact that both teams had a product owner who acted as process monitors. The product owners together decided which requirements should be included in the development process. Given that the dashboard being developed was new to all end users, this avoided wasting time and costs on unrealistic requirements.

Dashboard in global top 5 Unilever

Due to its strong focus on User-Centered Design, the dashboard was already in the global top 5 of most used dashboards within Unilever shortly after its release. In total, more than 90.000 dashboards are in use within Unilever. The most important success factors of the dashboard are:

  • Start pages with understandable metrics for every end user, even if they have no knowledge of management reporting
  • Top-down insight into the figures, with the highest-priority information always shown first
  • Structure based on the main pillars of the supply chain
  • Including Unilever's own measurement unit
  • Ability to zoom in to the level of factories and distribution centres with detailed information at product level

Widely used dashboard runs entirely in Microsoft Azure

The widely used dashboard runs entirely in Microsoft Azure, which uses exports from various source systems. These are prepared in Azure BLOB (Binary Large OBject) Storage and loaded into an Azure SQL Database using Azure Data Factory. Once the data preparation is complete, the data is loaded into the Azure Analysis Server (tabular model), after which the data visualisation takes place with Power BI.

Azure Data & Analytics

Improved understanding of supply chain costs leads to a noticeable increase in awareness

The rapidly improved understanding of supply chain costs among a large group of end users has resulted in a noticeable increase in awareness of costs. For example, people no longer automatically think in terms of 'more turnover' but increasingly think in terms of 'more margin'. At Unilever, they now know exactly what the consequences are of increasing the volume of high-performing products. Because they can now zoom in to the level of factories and distribution centres, they know exactly how much capacity is available for each product.

Unilever happy and confident

“Gain a full understanding of supply chain costs, with the aim of reducing them.” With a noticeable increase in awareness of supply chain costs, an important step has already been taken just a few months after the implementation of the dashboard. Unilever is pleased with the initial results and is confident about taking the next step: actually reducing supply chain costs.

Jeroen Bronzwaer, Finance Manager Unilever:

“Thousands of reports are in use at Unilever. The joint will to develop a single report that is user friendly for all end users and contributes positively to the result was the driving force behind the success. We are proud that we have succeeded in creating a one stop shop in which the single version of the truth is available. None of the end users now have to consult other sources for this data."

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