Weaving a comprehensive data platform for Bru Textiles

Nov 15, 2023
  • operations
  • IT
  • discrete manufacturing
  • SAP

For Bru, a leading global supplier of interior furnishing fabrics, innovation is second nature. In 2021, the company decided to set up a brand-new data platform to further strengthen its market position. “We had a pretty extensive wish list that covered reporting, self-service, advanced analytics and forecasting,” says IT Director Dieter Verlaeckt. “But the most important thing to us was getting the basics right. And that’s where working with delaware really paid off.”

The fabric of innovation

  • Client: Bru Textiles, a leading global supplier of interior furnishing fabrics based in Kontich (Belgium)
  • Challenge: Keep up with customer and employee expectations, and stay ahead of the curve in a competitive field
  • Solution: A comprehensive data platform, with a future-proof architecture that enables continuous deployment 

The challenge: proliferation of systems and sources

In the past few years, Bru has grown considerably. As a result, the amount of IT tools and data sources that Bru’s employees interact with daily has increased as well. Dieter: “Many colleagues started working with Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables,” says Dieter. “So, all our interesting data remained locked in these individual silos. Moreover, there was no shared taxonomy, no common understanding, of what this data meant.”

Obviously, that had to change. “We needed a data platform that would connect all our data sources in a logical way to create a ‘single source of truth’. And we wanted it to do more than crank out reports: it had to be future-proof and ready for advanced and self-service analytics too.”

The most important part was getting the basics right. And that’s where working with delaware made all the difference.
Dieter Verlaeckt, IT Director at Bru

The solution: steady wins the race

To find a partner that could help make Bru’s platform dreams a reality, Dieter got in touch with multiple companies. Dieter: “delaware immediately stood out, since we’ve already had a positive experience with their approach. We knew we were going to be well taken care of.” The delaware team, spearheaded by technical architect Frederik Declerck, opted for an Azure-based architecture that is hybrid, modular, and rapidly scalable to keep up with Bru’s continued growth.


FAST BI

“Speed is one of the main challenges in these types of projects,” explains Dieter. “You don’t want to hasten things too much, since this always results in costly mistakes. Luckily, we had access to delaware’s FAST BI template solution, which offers out-of-the-box reporting and analytical capabilities on top of SAP S/4HANA, by leveraging the Azure platform. This really helped us to kick-start our project.

delaware’s FAST BI solution helped us to accelerate our data journey at Bru.
Dieter Verlaeckt, IT Director at Bru

The result: quality over quantity

“After unlocking several data sources, we started to focus on ‘360-degree-view’ use cases,” says Frederik. “Here, data quality is key. That’s why we decided to develop automated data quality tests, in close collaboration with the business.” 

“We really want business users to trust the information they are getting, and build their own dashboards with confidence,” adds Dieter. “In the near future, we want to get started with more advanced analytics use cases, like demand forecasting.”

Automated sustainability reporting

For Bru, improving sustainability and operational excellence go hand in hand. The company fully understands that data plays an essential role in this. Their most recent sustainability report is a great example of this.

Frederik: “For example, by using the HIGG index and information about the composition of each fabric, Bru will have a better view on the environmental impact of their products. This will allow the company to make more sustainable procurement decisions.”

“The business value of the project is becoming clearer and clearer to everyone at Bru,” Dieter continues. “And my faith in the project and the toolset is strong. But most of all, I have full trust in delaware and its people.”

For delaware, working with Bru was a great experience as well. Frederik: “Most companies don’t have the capabilities to set up their proper data and analytics team, so in those cases we take on everything. But for Bru, remaining in control was paramount. They want to be able to do it all themselves in the end. This is also why the project team consisted of a combination of Bru’s own people and delaware experts, and why training and co-development were key to success.”

By the numbers

  • +15 million meters of fabric shipped around the world per year
  • 100 countries: Bru's products are sold to leading fabric brands, furniture manufacturers and hospitality and healthcare organizations around the world

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