RATH Group: Taking refractory technologies into the future with fast self-service analyses by Qlik
Case study

RATH Group: Taking refractory technologies into the future with fast self-service analyses by Qlik

4 min read Nov 02, 2020

RATH is a specialist in refractory technologies, with a comprehensive product range of refractory materials for application temperatures up to 1800°C. For more than 125 years, Rath has combined material knowledge, application know-how and personalised advice under one roof.

Successful growth and changes in the organisation that became necessary as a result prompted the Rath Group to modernise its key figures and reporting in 2016. The central aim was to accelerate decision-making by means of standardised key figures. After a lengthy selection process in the spring of 2016, BE-terna was put to the acid test with Qlik and has continually proven itself to this day with its high level of competence and quality.

The search for a stirring Business Intelligence solution

The internal changes included the company-wide introduction of the ERP solution SAP PP, the production solution from SAP, and the resulting process changes within the company. This measure enabled new data to be generated, which had to be analysed more closely.

The path to Qlik Sense

The RATH Group had several requirements for the new reporting tool: KPIs had to be presented in a clear and up-to-date manner and it had to be possible to make comparisons within the reports. In addition, the reporting needed be standardised and visually appealing. In the selection process for the right solution, the first step was to look at the providers who, according to the Gartner Report, were leaders in the field of Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. While Microsoft and SAP seemed the obvious choices at first, after a thorough examination of all the options, the final decision was made in favour of Qlik, with BE-terna as implementation partner.
The cooperation started with a hands-on workshop, which immediately impressed the first employees who were involved. This was followed by a longer joint workshop between RATH and BE-terna to develop the prototype, which was then presented to the board of directors of the RATH Group and led to the release of the business case and the corresponding licences.
Werner Koberg, Head of IT at the RATH Group.

Qlik Sense in operation - faster than getting a coffee will allow!

Following its successful implementation, Qlik Sense has been in operation at the RATH Group since mid-2016.
Werner Koberg has been delighted with the resulting time savings:
When I loaded the inventory data into SAP in the past, it was always the perfect time to go and get a coffee to bridge the waiting time.
Since its introduction, the data transfer has been running via an interface to the ERP solution SAP. The data is read out periodically, then downloaded and sent overnight from the ERP system to the Qlik Server. In this way, the apps in Qlik Sense are automatically updated, so that users always have all the current key figures ready for Qlik first thing in the morning. Access is possible via all browsers, end devices and in all locations. The RATH Group currently uses 42 apps, which are divided into a total of 8 streams, so that every user can view the reports they require without delay. The "Material Price Checker" app, for example, automatically compares the inventory price with the transfer or group price in real time and highlights any deviations. The success of a production is ultimately measured by these data. Since both the transfer and group price were maintained in different routines and intervals, this sometimes used to lead to distorted results before the introduction of Qlik Sense. Thanks to the "Production Report", an enormous time saving could be achieved. Previously, the data for a comparable report was collected from the individual plants and different hierarchical levels, then merged and prepared in an attractive form for distribution to the individual plants. Since the raw data came from different systems, the comparability was manageable. With the Qlik app, the production areas could finally be measured against the data from SAP and sustainable goals could be defined and controlled. In addition, the time and effort required to create the reports was drastically reduced.
Additional apps are also available, which allow for the creation of an overview of warehouse developments, profit analysis or sales orders and thus provide a holistic overview of process developments in the company. This is a great step forward and time saving for the RATH Group, as the various reports enable the employees to keep track of the key figures relevant to them, and they can therefore act more quickly.
For the future, it is planned that Qlik Sense will become the "Single Point of Truth" within the RATH Group. Employees will be able to directly access all the information they need for their daily work.

About the RATH Group

RATH stands for refractory expertise. For more than 125 years, the RATH Group has combined material knowledge, application know-how and personalised advice under one roof, incorporating tradition and innovation in a unique way. Stringently selected materials and precise processing techniques ensure the highest quality. The results are perfectly fitting refractory solutions for the most diverse applications in refractory construction, refractory insulation or in blast furnace construction. In the last business year, the RATH Group recorded sales revenues of over 100 million euros for the first time and currently employs around 550 people worldwide.
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