BI Systems Development

Welcome Break gives Unit Business Managers clear, up-to-date view of business performance

Project: change++ worked with Welcome Break to build an interactive dashboard giving Unit Business Managers (UBMs) across the country a clear, up-to-date view of how their business unit was performing against KPIs.


Services: Business Intelligence.


Results: Managers at each Welcome Break site now have access to a comprehensive and consistent reporting system that lets them see at a glance where they need to focus attention.



The client

Welcome Break is one of the UK’s leading independent motorway service operators and has 27 sites across the UK. Formed in 1959, Welcome Break attracts 80 million motorway customers each year with offers from leading hospitality and retail brands including Waitrose, Starbucks, Harry Ramsden’s, KFC, Burger King and Subway. Hotels on Welcome Break sites include Days Inn and Ramada, and the business operates fuel forecourts for BP and Shell.


Their needs

After successfully integrating its Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) systems, Welcome Break saw improved transaction speeds and recorded its busiest ever trading period. David Willock, Welcome Break IT Director, wanted to build on this success as part of a wider strategy by introducing a central management reporting capability. He turned to IBM Premier Business Partner change++ to provide a KPI reporting tool that could be used throughout the business.


What we did

change++ worked closely with the team at Welcome Break to design an interactive dashboard to display reports, allowing their UBMs to review their daily performance against KPIs at a glance.


We used IBM Cognos Active Report to deliver up-to-date business intelligence to UBMs across the country. It does this by ‘bursting’ a single flexible report overnight, dividing and customising the results for each recipient and outlet. This allows UBMs to monitor their outlet’s performance on a range of relative measures. For example, they can now quickly compare food sales in week 36 of the current year to week 36 in the previous year. The reports are fully portable and can be used online or off, on mobile devices, tablets and notebooks.


We also gave Regional Managers, Site Operations and Finance Managers and head office business intelligence users access to reports in a more traditional way, through the IBM Cognos portal – giving them even more flexibility for analysis and ad-hoc reporting.


In addition to the standard reports, our solution also gave head office analysts a self-service reporting capability for writing reports, building dashboards, spotting trends and investigating issues of concern. change++ recommended and arranged training for this team and they now write their own reports, removing the need for external support.


The results

Managers at each Welcome Break site now have access to a comprehensive and consistent reporting system underpinned by IBM Cognos BI.


“What our managers appreciate about the interactive reports is that on a daily basis they can view whatever information they want to focus on; whether that’s benchmarking their unit’s performance against other brand units across the business or reviewing something specific like losses - either through stock loss, wastage or theft,” says Welcome Break’s Head of IT Service Delivery, Matt Warren. “They also really like the ‘look and feel’ of the reports, especially the graphics that clearly indicate trends and variance in performance.”


These reports are routinely viewed on screens in meeting rooms at site and regional management meetings. Over 300 people use the system, including teams at head office. According to David Willock, “Everyone responsible for influencing performance in the business now has access to a flexible tool that tells them at a glance where to focus attention. We’re giving UBMs more information than they’ve ever had and believe this will really support them in managing their businesses.”


Willock concludes, “This is very much an ongoing project – we’re currently working on providing content for the commercial teams via the IBM Cognos Portal and in due course dashboards will be delivered by an internal analyst team – but the central reporting capability we envisaged for Welcome Break is already well advanced and delivering significant benefits to the business.”