EBB Group delivers 200,000 tonnes of sustainable paper and board each year to its customers, making around 1,000 deliveries each day, many same-day. It has a loyal 280+ employee base, over 80 of whom have more than 10 years’ service, The paper business is the leading family-owned independent paper and board supplier in the UK, with sales over £200 million. It is committed to its sustainability goals, being ISO 14001, FSC® and PEFC certified, and only sources timber from sustainable and well-managed forests where the cycle of planting, growing and logging is carefully controlled.
Supply restrictions during Covid had disrupted logistics, availability, shipping, costs and deliveries. Even as the European paper industry continues to recover, reaching pre-Covid levels, the alignment of supply and demand for raw materials and transport has put upward pressure on resources, costs and lead times.
In a similar timeframe, the business acquired UniBoard, Ireland’s leading carton board merchant serving the carton print sector. Since then, EBB has grown the business adding paper ranges to the portfolio, moved to a bigger facility in Dublin, built a logistics fleet of nine vehicles and opened up a new branch facility in Belfast.
Last year the Irish business was rebranded as EBB to maximise the benefits of the EBB Group. With high business growth and as part of its digital transformation, it was absolutely critical to both forming strategy and executing on it that the EBB Group could merge both companies’ databases and visualise all that information and update it in real time. This would help improve the speed-to-insight with a single version of the truth and in turn make it easier to keep up with customer demand and enable effective procurement management.
EBB Group’s aim was to build more of a data-driven culture within the merged organisations and, from an analytics perspective, empower that data to drive decision making.
Paul Griffiths, IT specialist at the EBB Group says “Although we are traditionally a one-hundred-year-old paper supplier, our business continues to grow through acquisitions, diversification and through ecommerce. Our focus on superior customer experience and sustainability is second to none within our sector, and having the right technology partner and tools to support our planned growth will be vital for our future success.”
Partnering with Codestone for a number of years on its widely used SAP Crystal Reports, EBB Group consulted with them to help expand and support its business intelligence and data analytics objectives. One of the key advantages of adding Power BI’s business intelligence capabilities to its suite of data analytical tools would be to increase the value of EBB Group’s data into its overarching strategy and operations.
Increased speed to insight
Microsoft Power BI integrates seamlessly into EBB Group’s Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) system which uses a Microsoft SQL Server to store data. Using simple interfaces, EBB Group’s end-users can create their own reports and dashboards. Concurrently, SAP Crystal Reports continues to be a relevant desktop tool for creating data reporting from almost any relational data source at EBB.
A collaborative approach to realising data value
The process to implement Power BI was made easy with Codestone. EBB Group’s IT specialist Paul Griffiths began by considering what reporting was required from the data. Codestone collaborated on initial requirements to create datasets that would produce the right queries, as well as demonstrated how to manipulate the data into reports and dashboards that would generate effective visuals.
Paul Griffiths, IT Department at EBB Group, explains, “We need data from across the organisation, whether for product codes, stock, procurement, customers or sales figures, so that we can conduct analysis from one version of the truth. The Power BI reports we have created so far are giving us really effective insights using easy-to-view visualisations.”
The success of the initial use-cases has already caught the attention of the procurement team who are planning to build reports that will provide deeper purchasing insights.
We are currently at the beginning of our journey to harness the real power of Power BI. Ultimately it will help us make better decisions based on one source of truth across our disparate data. Codestone’s team is helping us create a future-proof framework of data capabilities that will drive the business towards greater data value through analytics.
IT Department at EBB Group
Discover the Benefits
The EBB Group can create datasets from any source to create one version of the truth with their data.
Uncover insights at speed
Data from across the merged companies is easily turned into visuals with advanced data-analysis tools and AI capabilities.
Empower employees with unified data
Employees and departments can access, manage and act on data insights, creating reports relevant to their requirements using easy-to-use dashboards.
Optimise business intelligence
Adding Power BI to its range of complementary business intelligence tools supports the Group’s data analytics objectives.
Support by expert partner
EBB Group has confidence Codestone’s innovation-led approach will help them achieve more value throughout their digital transformation journey.
The Codestone team was not only friendly and helpful but also easily reachable and available throughout the entire process. The project was completed in a timely manner, and despite the usual challenges that can arise, they managed to address everything we hadn't initially considered. It was a successful collaboration. The technical support was seamlessly provided by Codestone, with the remote working setup, video chats and helpful 'how-to's, making the entire process smooth and efficient. We truly appreciate their commitment, professionalism and expertise in ensuring everything was done to our satisfaction.
IT specialist at the EBB Group