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 a 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.
A successful EPoS/EFT Integration project resulting in significantly improved transaction speeds made a major impact on the business with Welcome Break recording its busiest ever trading period post-completion. David Willock, Welcome Break IT Director, wanted to build on the benefits gained by introducing, amongst other strategic projects, a central management reporting capability. He turned to IBM Premier Business Partner change++ to provide KPI reporting throughout the business using IBM Cognos BI.
change++ worked closely with Welcome Break to design interactive dashboard-style KPI reports for their Unit Brand Managers (UBMs). IBM Cognos Active Report allows the delivery of business intelligence to a broad set of users quickly by ‘bursting’ a single flexible report overnight with results divided for recipients and customised for each outlet. UBMs can monitor their outlet’s performance on a range of relative measures, e.g. food sales in week 36 of the current year compared 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.
Regional Managers, Site Operations and Finance Managers and head office business intelligence users have access to reports in a more traditional way via the IBM Cognos portal, giving them even more flexibility for analysis and ad-hoc reporting.
“What our managers appreciate about the interactive reports is that they can view on a daily basis 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.”
In addition to the standard reports, head office analysts have 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, making them completely independent of external support.
Managers at each Welcome Break site now have access to a comprehensive and consistent reporting system underpinned by IBM Cognos BI. Reports are routinely viewed on screens in meeting rooms at site and regional management meetings. With head office included, over 300 people use the system. 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.”