Delivering Global Insights into the Duty Free Market with SAP BO 4.0

Duty Free is an important market for many consumer goods manufacturers, including cigarette manufacturers like Imperial Tobacco. Duty Free is important not only as a major sales opportunity, but also as a market for showcasing and building brands towards a multi-national target group.  The role of the Duty Free team at Imperial is to translate local needs into the international environment in order to get Imperial’s brands into the hands of travelling smokers.


The Vision

Duty Free covers Airports, Border Duty Free Shops, Military Sales, Cruise Liners and General Shipping all over the world. The route to market, serving customers and consumers around the globe, is more complex than in the majority of domestic markets. As Duty Free is not a country with its own inhabitants, but ‘borrows’ consumers from domestic markets, it is essential to not only understand Imperial's performance in Duty Free, but at the same time the developments and trends in the home markets of their consumers. Offering the right product, brand and pricing to the traveler is essential within the Duty Free market.

For Imperial, the vision was to construct a single portal that would bring together all the relevant Duty Free sales, domestic markets data and traveller information – this would enable different functions in Imperial Global Duty Free to draw more detailed actionable conclusions and facilitate management decision making in an automated and therefore much less time-consuming way. The unique challenges of a complex market, with disparate data sources of variable quality and the specific purchasing behaviour of the Duty Free consumer would require significant intervention and data alignment to achieve this holistic view. 


Fulfilling the Vision

Existing databases were not ideal for the required alignment; implemented in many different locations as local solutions, not adjusted to reflect the disparity of data quality, and did not include all available data accessible to the relevant people.

Thorogood has integrated the key data sources and adjusted them so they are comparable: sell-in, sell-through and sell-out, by volume and value, by customer; domestic sales data for the consumer’s country of origin; passenger nationality data; and key financial information.  Data has been sourced from multiple databases to build a current picture backed up with four years of comparable historical information. 

The objective is to provide a clear picture which is sourced from a single database with multiple standard reports and dashboards which can be interrogated against different parameters such as brand, brand groups, market and location. The solution also includes a simple mechanism for users to build their own specific reports with the data sets relevant to their specific needs. Overall SAP Business Objects Reporting Suite helps make the reports user-friendly, and the business see strong advantage in their new solution:

“A fantastic tool to have all the management information you need at your

Andreas Lemke, General Manager

Imperial has also seen a strong benefit in partnering with Thorogood on this initiative;

The work relationship with Thorogood was very professional and more like a partnership. Thorogood showed their interest to understand the business and translated our requirements into a technical solution. Now with the new business intelligence system we have a single truth in all our reporting’s and every member of the global duty free team has access to the latest data.”

Steffen Last, Business Intelligence Executive 


Next Steps

With the system now live, Thorogood continues to support Imperial by managing data uploads through their offshore team in Bangalore, India. Imperial and Thorogood are planning the integration of additional data sources and the creation of further reports and dashboards to deliver even greater insights.