Nowadays, being data driven can be seen as one of the biggest industry buzzwords, however, for enterprises that really think of data as an asset and consequently use it to improve decision-making, a whole new world of opportunities opens up. Stedin, a Dutch utility company, is facing increased complexity and is required to adhere to faster changing internal and external needs, as a result of the ongoing energy transition. The Supply Chain department within Stedin is an important business function and one of the department's ambitions is to leverage data more, to become more data driven in its decision making across the board to better face the aforementioned challenges of the energy transition. Maximiliaan Apel from the Data & Analytics team at BearingPoint helped Stedin with initiating and establishing a Business Intelligence team to facilitate this ambition.

Stedin is a distribution grid operator that provides gas and electricity to around 2 million households, which makes it one of the three big distribution grid operators in the Netherlands. Stedin is responsible for renewing and maintaining the gas and electricity grid and is mainly active in the Utrecht, Rotterdam, the Hague and Zeeland areas. In 2020 Stedin merged their Logistic, Procurement and Facilities division into one Supply Chain department.

Four-step approach

To enable data driven steering for the Supply Chain department, a Business Intelligence capability and a corresponding team was advised to be initiated. This team was to be a central information point regarding all data-related matters within the organization; whereby data generated by the Supply Chain was to be reported in a visual and manageable way, with the intention to create actionable insights and support decision-making by the Supply Chain department. Guided by these preconditions, BearingPoint assisted in the set-up of this new business function.

The team’s foundation, to realize a more data driven Supply Chain department, was built upon a four-step approach:

  1. Insights: Based on the objectives, bottlenecks and important processes within the department, the team determines where the information need lies to support decision-making, defines the required insights and consequently formulates the key performance indicators (KPIs).
  2. Data: Next, the team identifies the data that is required to provide for the aforementioned insights. Successful data management starts with collecting the right data. Subsequently, this data must be stored correctly so that the integrity, quality and accuracy of the data can be guaranteed. The data must be analyzed in the right way to derive the right insights, whereafter it is reported to the business.
  3. Steering: For the business to be able to use the information and KPIs supplied by the Business Intelligence team, recurring meeting structures are constructed with the right people at the right frequency to analyze the right data at the right level of detail. In this way, ownership and responsibility over the reported data and the corresponding insights by the key stakeholders is guaranteed.
  4. Performance improvement: The last step is to convert the information into action to improve the Supply Chain performance. Data driven steering requires an action-oriented way of working based on insights to continuously improve, which is facilitated through recurring meeting structure by means of constant monitoring of the data and following-up of improvement initiatives.

Organizing on a strategic, tactical and operational level

Alongside the four-step approach, the Business Intelligence team is organizing all its activities on three distinct levels in the Supply Chain department: strategically, tactically and operationally. Which means that at each of these levels the four steps are executed, thus per level the relevant insights/KPIs are defined, and a recurring meeting centered around these insights/KPIs is organized with the appropriate people for that level. Resulting in a meeting-architecture that is well connected per division as it branches-out along the organizational levels (see Figure 1).

The reason for organizing according to these distinct levels is twofold:

  1. Focus for the relevant insights/KPIs is created top-down. Resulting in a KPI-tree where the KPIs from the strategic level are broken down into more detail for the tactical level and subsequently these are broken down into even more detail for the operational level. The rationale behind this is that the whole of the organization should be focused on the same set of goals, while the level of detail of information for different people with different positions in the organization can differ.
  2. On the other hand, through the recurring meeting-structure an information influx is established bottom-up from the operational levels to the strategic level. Induced by the fact that KPIs are displayed in such detailed fashion at the lower levels, the reason for the performance of these KPIs will always be discovered on this level. This can then be escalated to the level above and the level above that due to the structured reporting cascade, resulting into the fact that all information would be available at any time throughout the organization.


“By means of the top-down KPI-tree and the bottom-up reporting cascade the Stedin’s Supply Chain department, through the Business Intelligence team, has taken the first steps into becoming data driven and thereby is able make better informed decisions”, says Maximiliaan Apel. “BearingPoint helped Stedin with the conceptualization, structure and growth of the Business Intelligence team, which is now a fully functioning team within the Supply Chain”.



Lucas van Luijtelaar

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