Today’s supply chains rely on a myriad of systems, often isolated from each other, to operate efficiently.  Within this space of disparate systems, there is a need for better holistic visibility.  We also believe the supply chain visibility gap is an area that typical analytics solutions traditionally fail to fill.  At MacGregor, we combine Toolbox, our intelligent analytics platform, and our advanced analytics team with a new, fresh approach to the supply chain’s problem of inadequate visibility and lack of behavior-changing analytics.

The Challenge and Root Cause

Supply chain visibility, specifically within distribution and the logistics operations surrounding warehousing, has been historically underserved.  Ask supply chain executives if their organizations have the right visibility to make impactful business decisions and most will tell you they are sorely lacking.  The challenge is complex yet simple, dozens of execution systems and expensive integrations are the focus for IT – just to keep the business running and deal with the expansive economic and technological growth over the past five years, IT organizations are resource thin.  Operations face a similar dilemma, they are challenged with growth, thin margins, and a shrinking labor force.  The combination of managing the day to day operations and the aforementioned labor constraints, leaves most prospects we talk to drowning in plentiful, yet unorganized and low-impact data analytics.  Forget larger goals and aspirations like business intelligence or predictive analytics – Big ideas and long term ROI is being traded for today’s problems and needs.

The Solve

MacGregor loves data, just like our customers.  But what we love more than data, is a customer who can truly say they have taken that data and massaged it into actionable insights and predictive signals that help them change behavior and improve business results.

At MacGregor, we challenge our customers to shift their perspective when they implement our Toolbox analytics platform and align their thought process with what we call an “outside in” approach.  This “outside in” approach adheres to three simple tenants that create the environment that leads to very successful supply chain analytics deployments:

  1. An operationally-focused perspective that aims to solve business challenges
  2. An exceptional user experience for Toolbox users with a focus on change management and adoption
  3. The creation of analytic guideposts that align with the largest operational challenges and goals of the organization

More than Visibility; More than Fulfilling Requests

Most of our analytics customers choose Toolbox for two key reasons:

  1. First, we built Toolbox specifically for the needs and nuance of the supply chain. Additionally, our consultants are deep domain experts that understand how to effectively weave the data points from multiple systems into a holistic picture.
  2. Second, Toolbox provides customers with a highly configurable platform that allows them to create their own predictive alerts, dashboards, and visualizations separated by permissions and roles.

Our analytics team recently engaged a large CPG customer struggling with the aforementioned challenges; They spent significant time focused on day to day firefighting, labor shortages, and debating the differing views and ambiguity on root cause items directly impacting their cost to serve and ultimately their P&L.  Our analytics experts modeled the customer’s historic data across the entire distribution network and reviewed that data with the customer’s leadership within the framework of our analytics process.  Throughout the meetings we drove operations and IT to focus on the business results, at the top level, and then drill down into details to determine relationships and causation, rather than focusing on the belief that more visibility, without focus, will lead to a solution.

The output from these meetings was a clear action plan to correct some glaring issues with manufacturing, inventory positions throughout the network, and fill rates.  These actions led to an immediate decrease in labor expenses and cost to serve, through a dramatic reduction in reactive overtime hours, as well as more efficient scheduling and forecasting.  In addition to improved fill rates and a lowered cost to serve, warehouse managers had a newfound understanding of what really impacted their labor performance with the ability to see both historical and real-time data.   This data and tailored visibility to the specific inputs that directly impact their workload empowered them to make more informed decisions, faster.  Operations leads were given access to predictive signals that would suggest labor requirements and impending challenges in certain areas, potentially days in advance, based on standard parameters and recent performance patterns.  Simply put, cost savings, operational visibility, and increased efficiency were improved which increased another type of ROI in the business – Executive confidence in management’s ability to operate the business and make impactful decisions and recommendations.

MacGregor doesn’t just deliver data and reports, our industry and analytics experts identify and create insights around key business drivers, operational efficiency opportunities, and new ways to measure, improve and communicate across teams.  Toolbox provides the ability to consume data in real time and deliver insights to all levels of your organization, putting you and your team in a better position to ask and answer critical business questions before they become critical business issues.

Take the next step towards the visibility your supply chain needs and reach out to our analytics team to learn more about our process, people, and platform that is redefining what a successful supply chain analytics deployment looks like here.

Toolbox – Simplifying Supply Chain Analytics.,