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DI-Diver Supplies Answers for Banfi Vintners

Banfi Vintners, an international wine marketer, has ranked as the U.S.A.'s leading wine importer for more than three decades. It is an arm of the privately held Banfi Products Corp., a family-owned and operated firm founded in New York in 1919 by John Mariani, Sr. He named it for an aunt, Teodolinda Banfi, a woman of eclectic tastes who supervised his early education and greatly influenced his views toward fine wines. The company has been ranked as the nation's leading wine importer for more than three decades and is the exclusive importer for three of the current top ten imported wines: Concha y Toro, Riunite, and Walnut Crest. Banfi recently implemented Dimensional Insight's business intelligence solution, DI-Diver, to enhance their reporting capabilities.

Banfi imports wine from Italy, Chile, and Australia and sells to over 400 different distributor locations nationwide. Banfi's data set contains 400 products, which include over 300 active items, which are broken down in to 4 sub categories vintners/suppliers, brands, types, and product sizes. Banfi is currently running DI Solution on a Microsoft Windows NT server; users access the data with DI-Diver on Microsoft Windows based machines.

Prior to implementing DI-Diver, Banfi did much of its reporting using a home-grown query tool that limited users to three ad-hoc reporting formats. "Basically, what we had in place was a reporting system that was written and developed in-house, which was not very flexible, to say the least," explains Ed Joyce, Manager of Sales Development at Banfi. Joyce continues, "DI-Diver is a lot more flexible and is much quicker than the former system." Peter Wrins, Director of Information Systems agrees, "In the past, with the in-house system, our capabilities were all ad-hoc. Salespeople would go in and pick whom and what they wanted to report on, and how they wanted the data sorted. Every request was handled in the same fashion. If more information on a particular topic was required, a new report would have to be generated. With DI-Diver, we can now locate a specific piece of data and then dive down into further details from that point."

A common dilemma with the prior reporting system was the inability to access detailed levels of information with one query. For example, "our salespeople would look at Riunite for Florida and then they would want to know, on the depletion side, how much each particular distributor in Florida depleted. With the old system they would have to go back and re-run the query for each distributor. With DI-Diver, you can answer any question you want, no matter where you are by continuing to dive," explains Wrins

After implementing DI-Diver in March of 2001, Banfi immediately began taking data out of their SQL database in order to build DI-Diver Models. Banfi's DiveBook contains four main categories: Depletions, Sales, Open Orders, and a section called 'All Data' where users can view depletions, sales, and open orders simultaneously. "We are also in the process of adding a category in the DiveBook for Goals so our salespeople in the field will know what number they are shooting for," says Joyce. This Goal category would focus on not only sales goals, but also depletion goals for Banfi's national sales force.

Once a category is opened, users have the ability to explore a number of data Dimensions including, region, distributor, product, and time periods. One of the more complex Dimensions users can dive on is product. Joyce explains, "We start at what we call the vintner level. Vintner is more or less similar to a master brand. For example, Concha y Toro would be considered a vintner. Under vintner are different sub-brands; each brand carries a different price point. Next, underneath the brand level is type. Type would be Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot, etc. Then, under type is product. Product really relates to size, so, at the type level you would have something called Concha y Toro Frontera Chardonnay, but, when you go down to the product level it would be Concha y Toro Frontera Chardonnay 1.5 Liters, and so on." The ability to dive down to such a detailed level enables Banfi to quickly and easily identify any product-specific issues that may occur.

With DI-Diver Banfi can easily investigate key business issues at the click of the mouse. Joyce describes a commonly used dive at Banfi, "We have a report set up under the Depletion category called 'Depletions Recap' and it lists our brands down the individual rows. Typically, a question we would want to answer is 'who was down for the month?' Our sales force is divided into seven different regions and one of the things that we can dive on is region. So, we would double-click on brand, and then dive into region. You can easily see, by the numbers that pop up on the screen, which region is dragging everything down. Then, you can further dive into certain regions and analyze if there is a decline across the board, in terms of different states, or determine if it's one specific state that is driving the decline for the current month." He continues, "I can see what the total business looks like and take it down to the next level. If there is a certain brand that is up or down significantly, I can dive to see what drivers are behind that increase or decrease... is it a specific state, is it a specific product, or is it across the board in terms of product?"

More recently, Banfi has partnered with some of its distributors, gaining access to account level data. Banfi believes that the addition of account level information to their existing data set coupled with the navigational freedom of DI-Diver will enhance their ability to better target future promotions and track trends. "We can easily tell from our data that one of our distributors sold 2000 cases of a certain product to their customers in the month of November, but a majority of the time we just didn't have the detail to know where those 2000 cases went in terms of the various retail accounts; did the cases go to a Costco, a Publix Supermarket, or a local liquor store? Now, some of our distributors are sending us their account level data and our IT Department is working on putting that information into DI-Diver Models. This will allow us to drill down into specific retail accounts and enable us to define those retail accounts as on or off premise, as well as map where the cases are going," states Joyce.

With orders coming in on a daily basis, Banfi's complex data set is constantly changing. To keep up with these changes, Banfi updates many of their Models each night, giving users access to fresh data daily. "We update our Month-to-Date and Lookup Models nightly which takes around 10 to 20 minutes. We rebuild our History, and Goals Models monthly, so that any changes are reflected in the date that is reported on. Our largest models are the account level Model averaging 250MB and close to 500,000 rows, which will probably triple in size by year end," states Wrins.

As for future plans, Wrins and Joyce both agree that Banfi's sales force would benefit from the implementation of another DI product, Model Splitter. "We're looking at Model Splitter so that we will be able to break down the Models for each individual, for remote and disconnected use," explains Wrins. "This will allow us to push the Models out to the sales force, or we can leave the Models on the network so our salespeople can download them. Before, we were dependent on the salesperson to update their database. With DI-Diver we don't have to rely on them to update the data because we'll create new Models for them every night. With broadband access, they can pull down the individual Models they need and they'll be off and running."

Copyright 2008. Inroads Ltd, Hong Kong.