Customer Story

Designer & Supplier of Specialty Products Turns to Single Source of Truth for Data, Creating Path for Growth

About Company

This company is a leading designer and supplier of high-performance wire, cable, connectors, assemblies, and accessories designed to withstand the toughest environments including in defense, aerospace, and medical applications. Founded more than 40 years ago, they built a robust portfolio of brands through numerus acquisitions, offering their customers a wide variety of unique connectivity solutions.

As the company seeks to become the biggest player in this space, they plan on additional acquisitions—growing their customer base and product line. By expanding the products and services they offer, supplier of specialty industrial products ensures that their solutions keep pace with their customers’ evolving needs.

Goal

The company is experiencing rapid growth through acquisition—nearly doubling in size and revenue in the last couple of years, and the goal is to continue that trajectory. To maximize the enterprise value and ROI from a private equity investment, they needed to integrate data from the companies they acquired and provide top-line sales and profitability reporting to the board, as well as operational and market trend analysis to drive organic growth.

Problem

Since each of the company’s nine brands has their own legacy systems and data assets, getting a consolidated view of enterprise-level data required a great deal of manual data aggregation in Excel. This manual process was slow, resource intensive, and limited to summary-level information leaving many “what” and “why” questions unanswered.

The business had started to move the data from each acquisition into Epicor, which worked great as an ERP platform but lacked built-in reporting or the ability to pull data into custom reports. They needed a central data repository to provide a single-source of truth and give them a timely view into what was happening across the business—sales, procurement, fulfillment, order-to-cash, customer experience, upsell opportunities, etc.

Additionally, to continue to scale the business through acquisitions and get the insights they need to manage their rapid growth, the company required an efficient, automated way to get accurate, timely data and standardized reporting to the executive suite as well as to the Board of Directors.

Solution

We started by conducting a strategic data assessment to understand what key data points they needed in order to provide top-level reporting—identifying that their most important KPIs were around sales orders, accounts receivable, and margin contribution. From there, we outlined the technology and infrastructure they needed to get insights into these key areas of the business and built a solution using the full Microsoft Azure stack:

  • Azure Data Factory for warehouse logic and data orchestration
  • Azure SQL Managed Instance database
  • Azure Data Lake for data backup and project configuration storage
  • Power BI for business intelligence and analytics
Get started with your own strategic data assessment.

The supplier can now onboard each existing and future brand into Epicor, where the data is then automatically integrated into the Azure data warehouse and then transformed and sent to Power BI to populate a three-tier dashboard.

Onboarding each business unit to Epicor will take 6 to 8 months—a long time before the business can get the insights they need right now. This is especially cumbersome as additional acquisitions are part of the company’s growth strategy. We recommended that they leverage the Microsoft Power Platform (Power Automate and SharePoint) as an interim solution—a data entry portal—to ingest key data points from each new business directly into the data warehouse—skipping Epicor temporarily—so that they could get immediate insights while keeping on schedule for the permanent migration of all data. This interim solution gives them the ability to move quickly and capture key data from each new acquisition and provide the required enterprise-level reporting to drive growth.

Results

With a new enterprise data warehouse, the supplier of specialty products now has a single source of truth that all business users—across the company—can pull data from and build reports. They also have an analytics solution made up of three dashboards—sales orders, accounts receivable, and margin contribution—that provide a high-level overview of analysis, a deeper dive into drivers and detractors of any given analysis, and then a granular drill down of more specific data related to drivers and detractors. Users in any department, within any business can view these reports, but more importantly the corporate team can provide the executive suite, as well as the private equity firm insights into:

  • Sales Orders: Provides insights into trends for entered versus shipped orders in respect to their different business units, as well as trends on products, customers, sales reps, and terriroties. These insights will equip the supplier to make informed decisions on which business units are performing well or under performing, why, and how to address any problems. It will also allow them to cross sell and upsell where there are new opportunities.
  • Accounts Receivable: Provides insights into deliquent accounts—insights that will inform cash flow, as well as a need for additional resources. As the company scale, accounts receivable will become more complex, requiring quick action based on accurate and timely insights.
  • Margin Contribution: Provides insights into product margin in relation to all their business units—insights that will inform where there is opportunity to gain more value and where there is a need to make adjustments to costs, processes, procurment of products, etc.

Finally, with the interim solution to move high-level data from acquired businesses to the enterprise data warehouse, the company has a repeatable process with a fast speed to value for onboarding new acquisitions and gaining immediate visibility into valuable insights.

This company is a leading designer and supplier of high-performance wire, cable, connectors, assemblies, and accessories designed to withstand the toughest environments including in defense, aerospace, and medical applications.

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