It was a pleasure to sit down with our guests from Clifton Coffee Roasters based in the UK and Big Wave BI from Canada. If you haven’t had a chance to view episode 503, I encourage you to do so. Find out how Clifton Coffee Roasters handled their business during the pandemic by pivoting from an in-person business to a hybrid model all while increasing sales and opportunities by leveraging Microsoft Teams, Power BI dashboards, and Microsoft Forms.
For all of you not in the UK, Clifton Coffee Roasters is a specialty coffee roaster based in Bristol. They are passionate about sharing incredible coffees from all around the world and offering best-in-class support & training.
Over the past year they have:
Shared 115 custom coffees roasts with customers from 21 countries
Roasted over 900,000,000 beans (which is about 14,000,000 cups of coffee)
Trained over 500 baristas annually
Serviced customers with over 300 services and almost 200 installs
All while ensuring that 90% of coffee is direct trade and on average paying around 135% above Fairtrade average prices.
Harrison Dowling – Marketing & Ecommerce Coordinator We began our journey with Microsoft Teams back in 2018. We had reached a point of growth where communication was becoming harder, and we were starting to struggle with managing our files and data. Microsoft Teams moved us from a chaotic companywide WhatsApp group to a powerhouse of collaboration and our scattered digital filing system finally became united in one place. Microsoft Teams has since grown into one of the most valuable assets in our daily operation and has paved the way for more efficient and collaborative working.
Anyone reading this who uses Teams will know first-hand how transformative its file management and defined communication channels can be. But that aside, where Teams really surprised us was the plethora of applications it had tucked beneath its surface, some of which became paramount in our strategy surrounding the pandemic.
One of the stand-out applications we began to explore within Teams was Power BI. At the tail end of 2019, we started working with Greg Baerg from Big Wave BI. He was able to bring together data from several applications we were bouncing between and present them in a collection of department-specific dashboards. These dashboards gave us a detailed overview of live data, allowing us to drill down to the specifics and be more proactive in our decision making.
As the pandemic began to advance, so did the chaos in the hospitality sector. The UK’s guidance for COVID was changing weekly and varying in severity depending on the worst-hit regions. Power BI allowed us to home in on specifics like region, SKU performance, and volume comparisons. Having this continuous rich feed of live data meant we could make decisions based on accurate forecasting.
An example of just how powerful this was is “when that first connection for us to be able to see Sage data and crops, the data in one place was just, it was great, it probably saved me 40 minutes alone, just to just each day to get that information together,” Josh Clarke, Director of Coffee. From this data, then we had Greg build a dashboard that we could slice and dice the data any which way. Access to all this great data made us more aware which led to all of us asking more questions, like knowing what's going to happen before it happens, just has allowed us to get ahead whereas before we were just treading and reacting.
Another area where Power BI helped us was with retail. Before the pandemic, online retail was a fairly underdeveloped area of business for us. With the change in people’s working and purchasing habits, online sales quickly skyrocketed, and we needed to get a grip on purchasing trends to keep above our competition. Power BI enabled us to understand what was selling, our stock levels, our subscription output and therefore, where our time and money were best invested. We were able to quickly identify which SKUs were selling. “We’re now able to buy appropriately for each week, print labels and apply them to bags days ahead of time, because we can see exactly how many orders…how long that would take to produce and then also further ahead than how we buy now our subscription service allows drinkers if they want to get 52 different coffees a year.”
The Power BI work with Greg has quickly become one of the most valuable assets we had at our disposal during the early parts of the pandemic and remains one of the most important tools we have at our fingertips.
As we look ahead to the future, I do not think we will ever overlook the power that can be harnessed from clear and efficient streams of data. The work we have done with Greg has elevated our understanding of what makes our business tick. Having all of this within Teams made it easier for us to digest and allowed us to be more collaborative and efficient.
If you’re a retailer and want a consultation from Greg on transforming your business with Microsoft Teams like he did for Clifton Coffee Roasters, reach out via LinkedIn: in/gregbaerg or email him: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his website: www.bigwavebi.com.
Last but not least, for additional reading, I recommend the case study, plus this blog written by one of our Product Marketing Managers. Questions, comments, and/or suggestions? Contact us at IMT@microsoft.com.