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Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. – Gearing Up for Accelerated Analytics

A well-known and established company, Kawasaki Motor Corporation’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.™” is recognized worldwide. As a multinational corporation and global technology leader, KMC markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, Side x Sides, and Jet Ski® watercraft through a network of almost 1,200 independent retailers and about an additional 7,400 retailers specializing in general-purpose engines.

Kawasaki realized that its existing spreadsheet-based business reporting and planning processes were becoming too laborious and time-consuming to support its growing organization.

The market for high-performance sports vehicles is complex. Some products may have increased or decreased sales depending on the season, while other products’ demand may be reliant on the geographical location. Production schedules often need to be adjusted to match anticipated rises or falls in retail sales.

KMC realized it needed clearer visibility of how all these factors relate to each other so they can respond quickly to changing market conditions, creating more effective business plans.

Aviana Takes the Wheel

By working with Aviana to enhance an existing IBM® Cognos® TM1® application and re-design its IBM Cognos Business Intelligence environment to meet current business needs, KMC has simplified and accelerated reporting for more than 200 users.

With the re-organizing of its reporting environment, Kawasaki replaced 35 separate packages with a single enterprise package and automated several key aspects of its business planning processes.

Introducing enterprise analytics has been a huge step forward for KMC. Jay Martinez, Business Intelligence Analyst, says: “When we first demonstrated the tools, people were saying: ‘this is going to save me a week of my time.’ Thanks to those savings and the additional enhancements we’ve delivered, more than 40 percent of our employees are now enthusiastic analytics users.”

Powerful, Flexible Analytics

Unifying business reporting requirements into a single IBM Cognos package has given KMC’s users a much more powerful and flexible analytics capability, as Jay Martinez explains:

“Previously, it was difficult for users to pull in data from different data sources into a single report for analysis. Now it’s easy. For example, we can now look at sales across both retail and wholesale, and match them against current inventory – which is a huge advantage when we are looking for ways to optimize our operations.”

Kawasaki’s Program and Planning Analyst, Ryan Shirley, comments: “By making it easy to leverage the massive amount of data at our fingertips, we are better able to analyze current retail trends at a more regional and district level. Previously, we were hindered by a lack of data, so we were only directing our marketing efforts at a national level; now we can dive deeper and target marketing efforts to specific areas of the country to make sure they get the perfect program for their market.”

Automated Business Planning

Kawasaki’s business planning capabilities have also been augmented by using seasonality tables in IBM Cognos TM1 to automate the distribution of sales figures across months of the year.

Ryan Shirley, Program and Planning Analyst, explains: “Each product has its own seasonal sales patterns – for example, personal watercraft tend to sell very well at the start of the summer because that’s the best time to be out on the water, while motocross bikes sell better in cooler months and when the racing season begins. Our new solution allows us to just enter the top-line figures for sales targets, and the numbers automatically get spread across the months in an intelligent way.”

This spreading used to be a manual process, which took the planning team at least two full days each year. Now, it happens instantly, and the results are much more consistent. Calculations are based on the historical sales data held in the seasonality tables, rather than the experience and intuition of individual users.

Aviana’s Footprint

The BI enhancements from Aviana provided a single view across all KMC’s data sources while enhancing insight into seasonal sales. The solution saves weeks, eliminates manual data entry, and has encouraged over 40 percent of the business to become users.