How our Data & Analytics team helped a foodservice distributor client manage their data and improve productivity with Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW)
When it comes to data, our client has their fair share. As a leading foodservice distributor in the United States, they collect, store and analyze data from various avenues – including the 15,000 restaurants they loyally serve, the impressive network of delivery drivers they employ, and the substantial inventory of fresh food they must maintain. But, that much data can cause operational challenges in a business.
Without a modern data platform, our client faced functional inefficiencies in the way they managed their data. They used an outdated spreadsheet system, and their team spent too much time sorting information and not enough time extracting valuable key metrics. They craved a process they could automate, repeat, digest easily and update daily to meet their organizational needs.
However, to find this, they needed the help of a partner. According to our client’s VP of Technology & Supply Chain Services, “Centric has become one of our most critical strategic partners. We’re able to leverage their expertise on strategy, executive coaching, continuous improvement, best business practices, data visualization, and general web and mobile application development to deliver significant value across our organization.”
Enter Centric: Streamlining the Data
Impressed with the expertise, commitment, and care we bring to our clients, they approached us with a new challenge: could we help them streamline their data management and reduce workloads on their accounting team using an enterprise data warehouse (EDW)? Our answer: of course.
To begin this endeavor, we assembled a team of highly skilled resources to facilitate the development and deployment of the EDW. Our priority was to ensure key stakeholders could harness the full power of the EDW and glean the most value from their investment. The next step was to begin work on the architecture of the EDW.
We approached this by working closely with the client’s Executive Steering Committee to create an EDW User Story Backlog that would establish prioritization for additional deployments over time. Based on this backlog prioritization, we could build additional components of the EDW, establishing the repeatability, convenience and ease of use their existing data management system lacked.
A top area of concern for our client’s Steering Committee was inventory shrink. They wanted the EDW to help them track the reasons associated with why they couldn’t deliver produced inventory to their customers along with the costs associated with that lost inventory – metrics including everything from the reasons for the lost inventory to distributors, customers, routes and even drivers and their contribution to the amount of lost inventory. Using these metrics, we built a dashboard in Tableau that could give users a quick glimpse into why and where inventory was shrinking and help identify issues quickly and near real-time.
The Results: Delivering Support and Improvement to Three Major Areas
In just a few months, our client could better support its customers. The insights derived from the reporting platform allowed them to spot opportunities to improve margin and control costs, which has had a measurable impact on their bottom line.
“The tools Centric helped us build allowed us not only to survive the downs and ups of the pandemic, unprecedented and unexpected volumes of new business, recent significant weather events, and other major impacts to our business, but they’ve allowed us to stay connected with our customers and associates,” their VP of Technology & Supply Chain Services said.
Here are three major areas the client saw improvement:
- Focusing on growing the client’s business (vs. creating reports): Previously, report creation was a very manual process. But with our help and more efficient processes, our client saved over 2,000 hours annually generating reports – the equivalent of one full-time job. This freed up time allowed teams to devote time to higher-priority work, improve the business, and increase productivity.
- Visualizing data: Using legacy reports as a template to build others, we were able to provide reports quickly and conveniently in a familiar format while greatly enhancing their ability to visualize, compare, and gain insights from their data.
- Deliver business value: With the delivery of each user story, our client’s catalog of reporting metrics grew. This helped them track historical trends across all metrics, quickly identify problems or challenges, and fix issues as soon as they arise. Also, it allowed for greater insights into their business. For example, one major benefit centered around customer profitability. With this exercise, the client was able to identify areas that helped them make strategic business decisions, which, in turn, enabled them to better understand and manage expenses keeping their fees competitive.