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Ben & Jerry's Business Intelligence System
Ben & Jerry’s, located in Waterbury, Vermont, produces 190,000 pints of ice cream and frozen yogurt daily and ships to over 50,000 grocery stores in the United States and 12 other countries. Every single pint is meticulously tracked, first by being entered into an Oracle database. With that information carefully organized, Ben & Jerry’s uses a sophisticated data-mining tool set from a company called Business Objects (now acquired by SAP).
For example, the sales people can easily monitor sales to determine how much ground Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt is gaining on Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, its number one selling product. The consumer affairs staff can even correlate each of the several hundred calls and e-mails received each week to the exact pint of ice cream. If complaints are consistent concerning a specific batch, the consumer affairs staff can drill down to the supplier who provided the ingredients such as milk or eggs.
In one particular instance, Ben & Jerry’s received a large number of complaints that its Cherry Garcia Ice Cream didn’t have enough cherries. The complaints were coming in from all over the country, so it wasn’t a regional problem. Employees continued drilling through business intelligence with Business Objects and determined that the manufacturing process (from the supplies of raw materials to the mixing) was satisfactory and had no anomalies. Eventually the problem was determined to be that the ice cream box for Cherry Garcia Ice Cream had on it a photo of frozen yogurt, a product with more cherries than the ice cream. Simply changing the photo on the box solved the problem.
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