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CUSTOMER STORY

Digitizing fast-moving consumer goods to meet demand

40%

Target decrease in reporting time

30%

Reduction in technology infrastructure costs

Parle
CLOUD: Azure

“The Databricks Data Intelligence Platform allows for our data and AI teams to work cohesively to uncover newfound insights and predictive capabilities that will help us penetrate new categories and markets.”

— Sanjay Joshi, GM and CIO, Parle

Parle Products, a stalwart in the global biscuit and confectionery market for over 93 years, is a brand synonymous with quality, nutrition and superior taste. The food processing behemoth manages more than 40 popular brands with 400+ accompanying stock-keeping units (SKUs), including the world’s largest-selling biscuit, Parle-G. Parle’s customer and product data is complex — spanning numerous disparate source systems to support business operations. Because their teams were struggling with real-time business insights, Parle embarked on a transformative journey to become a fully data-driven organization, enhance their operational efficiency and penetrate new markets and brand categories. After investing in the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, Parle has simplified their data infrastructure while leveraging analytics to tighten operations. As a result, they expect a 40% decrease in reporting time and costs, leaving the company time and money to focus on expanding to meet customer demand.

Compromising the customer experience with inefficient data management

Parle faced significant challenges in wrangling vast amounts of data to drive real-time business insights for their global biscuit and confectionery business. With a portfolio boasting more than 40 popular brands and 400+ SKUs, the complexity of their data was exacerbated by the multitude of applications supporting business operations across a sprawling network of disparate source systems. Parle also had data coming from 100+ distribution centers, 7,500+ wholesalers, nearly 2 million retailers — and of course, their 130 manufacturing units. The sheer volume of transactions, including 17,000 to 20,000 primary transfers and 45,000 to 50,000 primary billing counts per month, underscored the urgent need for a sophisticated data management and governance solution capable of handling such complexity at scale.

This data fragmentation posed a considerable barrier to the decision-making efficiency of the Parle marketing and sales teams. The main challenge lay in their lack of comprehensive business reporting to compile analytics for these two departments, which prevented these teams from getting a single view of data across brands, products, customers and marketplaces. This also hindered Parle from leveraging their rich data to develop various AI/ML initiatives for their go-to-market functions, like continuous replenishment. At the same time, the marketing and sales teams needed the ability to test different publicity and promotion effectiveness based on consumer behavior and sales performance to optimize discounts, special offers and advertising campaigns.

Sanjay Joshi, GM and CIO at Parle, elaborates, “Data was siloed, with primary sales data coming from SAP Business Warehouse and secondary sales data coming from BoTree, which is a SQL Server database. Due to the different platforms, it was impossible to compare them effectively; it was a very manual process that involved the merging of multiple flat files together.” In response to the challenges posed by data fragmentation and complexity, Parle embarked on a digital transformation journey to enhance the efficiency of their data management and analysis — particularly for sales and marketing purposes — by empowering their business leaders with tools for both tactical and strategic decision-making. To complete this journey, they chose the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform.

Advancing retail operations with data intelligence and AI

Integrating the Databricks Platform into their data management ecosystem marked a pivotal shift in how Parle can leverage data and artificial intelligence to streamline operations and foster innovation. The Databricks Platform was instrumental in overcoming Parle’s challenges with data fragmentation and complexity. By democratizing data access, the Databricks Platform enabled various teams within Parle to work in a unified manner, facilitating better collaboration and a seamless flow of information across the organization. Within the platform, Unity Catalog worked in conjunction with Delta Lake, an optimized storage layer, to offer comprehensive data lineage, observability and governance across the entire data landscape. Parle capitalized on this newfound efficiency to bridge the gap between primary and secondary sales data from disparate sources, replacing manual, error-prone processes with robust, SQL-driven validation and reconciliation methods.

Because of this, the company began fostering a culture of collaboration among their data teams — including BI developers, data engineers and ML engineers — by offering a shared platform for diverse workloads. With Delta Live Tables, Parle can instantly build data pipelines with medallion architecture, using Bronze (raw), Silver (cleansed) or Gold (business-level) tables. Leveraging this structure, Databricks SQL can take over for seamless BI integration and efficient cluster management. This medallion architecture ensures data consistency and minimal redundancy. Joshi explains, “The Databricks Platform gives us a 360-degree view of our data, so we can identify KPIs and get better visibility into sales, marketing and finance.”

By transitioning from an on-premises solution to the Databricks cloud-based platform, Parle has realized improvements in workflows, performance and scalability. They have also harnessed the Databricks Platform to pioneer innovative solutions tailored to their operational needs, including the development of a continuous replenishment system (CRS). And now, Parle is designing ML to leverage secondary sales data to forecast monthly orders, enhancing supply chain responsiveness. The Databricks Gold layer played a critical role in this objective and created materialized views that served downstream BI applications like Power BI and Qlik. The setup generated rapid insights and boosted cross-functional performance by pre-aggregating data and reducing the computational load on front-end systems.

Transforming data insights into a competitive advantage

The federation of data from diverse systems into the singular Databricks Platform has been a profound shift for Parle, enabling the move from siloed data systems to a unified medallion architecture. This transition has allowed for effective tracking of business performance through defined KPIs, which was not feasible prior. Now, the introduction of internal data products, like Customer 360, Retailer 360 and Sales 360, is opening new avenues for optimizing KPIs across departments. By optimizing data cluster selection based on compute workload requirements, Parle is reducing the costs associated with business operations. This modernization effort in a tech infrastructure is expected to reap cost savings of 30% — alongside a targeted 40% reduction in reporting time and costs.

Additionally, by consolidating primary and secondary sales data into a single platform, Parle has eradicated manual processes. The BI team can now query and analyze data more efficiently, which has expedited the validation and reconciliation processes. By utilizing dimension tables and materialized views in Qlik and Power BI, Parle is effectively capturing essential business metrics to directly correlate with the performance of their salesforce and their overall operational goals.

Finally, the CRS is targeted to optimize the supply chain to ensure timely replenishment and the reduction of stockouts. Joshi concludes, “The objective is to make the ordering process for wholesalers better, from entry through execution. We are streamlining and digitizing this process and are working toward using ML algorithms to forecast the wholesalers' monthly orders.” As Parle continues to work on such projects, it will allow the business to achieve more targeted and effective marketing strategies, driving higher conversion rates and encouraging customer retention and brand loyalty. This comprehensive data strategy — centered on Databricks’ capabilities — underscores Parle’s commitment to maintaining leadership in the competitive, fast-moving consumer goods sector and branching out into new markets.