Less than a decade ago, a U.S. direct-to-store marketer and distributor of international foods had just one warehouse and five employees. The booming business now employs more than 100 people who supply products to over 7,000 stores.
This supplier faced some data challenges as it grew. Using a best of breed approach for choosing business information systems obtained the best individual IT applications but left the data created in silos. Without a business intelligence or IT team, managers spent too much time trying to manually integrate and distribute data from different systems, leaving them little time to analyze it. Sales staff, who did most of their work on mobile platforms, did not have constant visibility to their metrics and had to wait on managers to provide them with updates. The lack of automated data integration was also concealing some data quality issues.
Besides giving sales staff an easy way to access accurate information on the go, leadership here wanted to create a solid foundation for future advanced analytics. We helped them begin the journey by working iteratively.
Small Steps Simplify Change
BlueGranite’s first step was creating a low-maintenance data warehouse, which exposed master data and data quality issues so they could be addressed. A company’s first data warehouse should have a high impact on its business processes and understanding of organizational data – it’s a lot to take in. Each phase of development helped staff learn the system and its features at a reasonable pace. We then created a secure system to ensure users would see only the data that was appropriate for them.
Sales staff can now use a mobile reporting app to see their numbers while out on their routes. The CEO can access his dashboard to see inventory or load times while walking through the warehouse. And after our training in the technology, managers and analysts are comfortable creating reports and sharing them with others. Users feel empowered to analyze their data and use exploratory analysis to uncover things that can improve the business. Employees have constant visibility to their metrics, and mangers spend less time compiling data and more time analyzing and discussing it.
Now that it’s quicker and easier to pull accurate numbers, leaders can use that data to back up opinions and make informed decisions. This rapidly growing supplier has a clear vision for its next steps and is excited to continue to build out its business intelligence environment to get there. The company plans to use analytics as a strategic advantage to ensure future success.
We’d love to help you discover the many ways easy access to precise data can benefit your organization. Contact us today.