Empowering kiwifruit growers with live, interactive reporting
Eastpack is New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit packer, serving more than 700 grower-shareholders and generating annual revenue of more than $150 million.
Every year, Eastpack stores and ships 30 million trays of kiwifruit, while continuously ensuring fruit quality.
Until recently, Eastpack provided a fortnightly storage report (PDF file) to each grower-shareholder via email but, following an upgrade to their ERP system, it was no longer possible to automatically generate simple reports.
Eastpack decided to seize the opportunity to do something it had always wanted: to help its growers get a deeper understanding of their own data, enabling them to focus on success factors for their own businesses.
To do this, the company aimed to provide real-time, interactive reports on everything from fruit condition to shipping progress. And to adopt a system that would scale easily as the organisation expands.
“We use Microsoft Power BI extensively in our business and we wanted to start publishing some of these reports externally, starting with our Storage Reports for growers,” says Kirsty Shores, Chief Technology Officer at Eastpack.
“We believe it’s important that our growers get real time information, to give them a better view of what is going on at any point in time.”
Although creating the Power BI reports was easy for the analytics team at Eastpack, distributing reports with specific data to 700 independent growers was not going to be so simple.
Eastpack considered having their staff manually filter and save a report for each grower – a very labour-intensive approach predicted to cost more than $30,000 a year in staff time alone. Not a scalable or secure approach!
There were two other problems: the growers were outside the company’s firewall and they did not have Power BI licences. So, the report-sharing tool in Power BI was not going to do the job.
Fortunately, there was Binokula, an app designed to help organisations share Power BI reports simply and securely with hundreds of external stakeholders.
Simple, secure, and scalable solution
Binokula was the ideal solution for Eastpack, enabling the fruit packer to automatically provide each of their growers with a customised, interactive Power BI report, updated daily.
Implementation of Binokula was quick and simple. Eastpack extended their Power BI report to include Row Level Security modelling, which required mapping growers’ external email addresses to their respective orchard identification numbers.
Kirsty agrees that adopting Binokula and “tying it all together” was straight forward. Her team looked after integration with the company’s website provider and made sure the source data was accessible.
Because Eastpack staff were already using Power BI, and because Binokula solved so many technical issues, the longest part in the whole process was for Eastpack’s managers to tweak the report design to deliver the most value to growers! Since May 2018, kiwifruit growers have been accessing their reports seamlessly, as part of the Eastpack web portal, which uses the Binokula Single Sign-On API.
Binokula benefits for Eastpack
“Because Binokula is an automated, hosted service, we don’t have to worry about having to do too much in-house,” says Kirsty.
BInokula easily scales to any number of users. With Row Level Security, each grower can see only their own data. For extra security, for example on shared computers, the report URLs expire after one hour.
Now that Binokula is taking care of report distribution, Kirsty’s team can focus on generating value for Eastpack and its growers through deeper analytical insights.
“We can be a lot more dynamic in our reporting. We can easily change the data we present and how it’s displayed.”
Other advantages of using Binokula include:
- Cost-effective (generating reports for hundreds of users every day)
- Easy-to-use (leverages existing Power BI skills)
- Daily updates (formerly fortnightly)
- No infrastructure investment required
- Works on all devices, including mobile
- Value-add for growers, increasing their engagement with Eastpack
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