A Master of Outdoor Products Masters In-House Data

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Plano's BI System

Plano Synergy's business intelligence system empowers its salespeople to take charge of the data, customize it to meet their needs and cull essential insights.

Even with this focused approach, there were some challenges. From dealing with the difficulty of extracting, transforming and loading data, to the cleansing of data, we faced and overcame hurdles all along the way.

Most critically, we needed support from our salespeople. Forced to abandon their old ways of working in order to embrace a new system that often challenged their assumptions, many of them were skeptical. So, in addition to putting them through rigorous training sessions, we spent months checking data to confirm its accuracy and gain the trust of the sales team.

Now, we have full support from our sales force. They actually rave about how the BI system has helped make them more productive and successful.

Realizing New Business Opportunities

Before the implementation of the BI system, an acquired company’s data would be largely invisible to the majority of our team. That led to inefficiency and lost opportunities. Today, with the new system in place, we can seamlessly integrate a company’s data into the BI system within days (or even hours), giving our team fast access to actionable insights.

One of the most important benefits of our BI system is how it has helped us accurately compare our sales forecasts with actual results. This enables us to ensure we build the correct products and the right amount of product in order to meet customer demands in a timely fashion.

Further, we have created a system that empowers our salespeople to take charge of the data, customize it to meet their individual needs and cull necessary insights from it. Overall, our salespeople are able to recognize patterns with different customers, which enables them to identify cross-selling opportunities, better target resources and more effectively assess individual performance.

A BI implementation is never complete, and we continue to work to innovate within our system by giving our salespeople more data-driven insights and aids.

With the BI system fully implemented for sales, we have moved onto purchasing, finance and operations. This methodical approach has allowed us to address and tackle challenges as they arise and ensure a successful implementation in each phase.

Our BI system has helped us transform our business. We are able to better serve customers and meet demand, and our salespeople have vastly more insight into their performance and deliverables—plus more time to focus on their most important tasks.

As we continue to grow our company and build on our reputation as one of the world’s top outdoor brands, our BI system is an integral part of everything we do and a key to our ongoing success.

Now, when Sarah goes to assess year-end results, she has the data she needs at her fingertips and can focus her time and attention on devising effective sales strategies for her team.

Mel Heckman is the director of business intelligence at Plano Synergy.

Photo of Mel Heckman courtesy of Plano Synergy

This article was originally published on 2016-01-28
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