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Case Study



  • Delpharm


  • Pharmaceuticals


  • Data analysis with old, slow systems
  • Fragile integration of the various systems
  • Possibility of human error in data analysis


  • Microsoft Power BI, SQL


  • A new data analysis team
  • New analysis workflow
  • Increased data security
  • Faster data analysis


  • On-the-job hands-on training in SQL and Power BI


  • Skills acquired in SQL
  • First Power BI dashboards set up
  • Faster analysis and decision-making by the management


The Delpharm revolution is powered by data, with SQL and Power BI

The pharma company selected Pipeline to form a team of SQL and Power BI collaborators. A decisive step in modernizing cost and performance indicators and exploiting data synergy.

Queries, processing, and old spreadsheets

Andrea Figini, a member of the Innovation and Development team, explains how this innovation project came to be.

There comes a time when you can no longer say: We’ve always done it this way. We saw Power BI and thought it could represent a turning point for Delpharm.

The company had databases with several applications that recorded data on production performance, planning, and financial administration. All of this information was extracted and interpreted using SQL queries created on spreadsheets. Not only was this way processing and analyzing data very slow, but it left the company vulnerable and exposed to error.

We had to think about data in a new way, and above all find a system platform like Power BI, which can guarantee four key aspects:

  • System reliability
  • Data security
  • Resource flexibility
  • Speed of analysis and output of results

These requirements were the basis for choosing Power BI as an operating tool and Pipeline as a partner in a new cross-functional team made up of four talented professionals:

  • Alberto Di Maria    (Planning e Scheduling)
  • Andrea Figini          (Operational Excellence)
  • Damiano Bellotti    (Operational Excellence)
  • Massimo Levati      (Information Technology)

The Operational Excellence Manager accepted the young team’s request and promoted it within the company, which welcomed it and transformed it into an investment for enhancing performance and profitability. A first step toward a paradigm shift.

Industry 4.0: How to reduce machine downtime with data

At Delpharm, a pharmaceutical company with 500 employees, improving output performance means minimizing machine downtime. The team explained that this comes in two forms:

  • Stoppage and repairs caused by failures or breakage
  • Stoppage due to maintenance and setup for production changes

In these cases, processing machine data stored in databases is critical to implementing targeted resolution actions with tangible business results.

Thanks to the digitization and interconnection of data coming from multiple systems, it is possible to increase performance, from data collection and processing to immediate, targeted actions. A textbook application of the concept of Industry 4.0.

Spreadsheets. Oracle, SQL all data speaks with Power BI

Also at Delpharm, the necessary data comes from multiple areas (production, administration and operations) and is collected on different databases (Oracle, SQL and spreadsheets). Power BI made it possible to connect the various sources and display them graphically in a single customized dashboard.

This enables users to control the data in real time, in a fast and interactive way.

The team set itself the goal of creating some initial dashboard templates to help the Leadership Team appreciate the potential of the system and encourage them to support the change. The secure and protected sharing of data between the various functions and the immediacy and customization of reports was considered extremely useful for area managers and managers, who would be able to base their decisions on readily available and objective data.

You don’t need to be familiar with SQL and Power BI

To reach the objective, a training project divided into two modules was developed:

  • Four days of SQL basics
  • Four lab days on setting up dashboards with Power BI

Consisting of users with various backgrounds, from business to IT, the team’s response was excellent, and in just four days they had grasped basic SQL queries.

The next step was the development of the first interactive dashboard models, built in collaboration with experts in the various fields to identify and display Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as clearly as possible.

Business Analysis in-house

The climate was open and collaborative, typical of those who have a curious and proactive attitude toward technology and a passion for their work.

Thanks to suitable training and to Power BI, Delpharm has created an independent team capable of extracting and processing sensitive data without the need for external developers and consultants. A first step that paves the way for further development, customization, analysis and success.

The IT Manager commented on the results:

“I am positive because I finally see a structured group headed toward business goals with a systemic approach to data.”

Final results and team experience

We are delighted with the results. We really made a leap in quality. We started from the ground up have created a beta version of what will become our future BI. Pipeline really exceeded our expectations.

Andrea Figini and Damiano Belotti – Members of the Continuous improvement Team.

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