Teknion sat down with J.Reneé Group’s CIO, Coby Sparks, to learn how Alteryx workflows and Tableau dashboard reporting have transformed his business intelligence profile, allowing them to order and forecast inventory more accurately.
Introduction and Summary: J.Reneé Group, a designer and manufacturer of women’s shoes, was already running a really good business — keeping up with inventory levels and ensuring women were able to get their favorite shoes in stores. But, with increased internet ordering and pressure from retailers to decrease ordering lead times from manufacturers, J.Reneé knew they could do better.
Teknion: Why did J.Reneé Group want to leverage more powerful data analytics in your business?
C. Sparks: We’ve been designing women’s footwear for more than 40 years. Doing business has become more of a challenge with the development of the internet, customer fulfillment, and Just In Time ordering and fulfillment. We have to improve the way we manage the demand in order to keep competitive.
For one shoe and one color, we’re known for doing multiple sizes and multiple widths. We could have several combinations of “narrows,” “mediums,” and “wides,” so one shoe could give us 60-plus SKU’s. If you multiply that by our four annual shoe lines, managing inventory is increasingly a bigger challenge.
Teknion: How did J.Reneé get a better understanding of your Inventory Management data?
C. Sparks: We’ve been using Tableau for a number of years and converted a lot of our management reporting to Tableau. We realized that to get to the inventory “size and width” level and to be able to analyze and forecast that data, we needed the data to be in a different structure within our database.
We were introduced to Teknion through a Tableau user group and then saw some of the work they’d done. We began talking about “how do we structure this data?” Teknion demoed Alteryx and with the help of Teknion we were able to put the right tools in place to be able to start working with our data in a different way.
Teknion: How has using Alteryx and Tableau tools together provided J.Reneé a comprehensive solution?
C. Sparks: It was all about the data. At first, when Jonathan showed us a new way to to organize our data, I thought he was nuts. I told him I have been doing database structures for a long time and his method didn’t make sense. Then, he gave me this “light reading” to do. It it was about a 560-page book on data warehouses and how to do dimensions. At that point, I became a believer in both Teknion and the approach. Once the data was structured the right way, we can use Alteryx and Tableau to access, prep, analyze and visualize the data for our teams.
Teknion: What are some of the ways J.Reneé is using Alteryx and Tableau in addition to inventory forecasting?
C. Sparks: Besides all the ad-hoc things that came up, once we had the data structured correctly, there were now new possibilities for looking at the data in different ways. We developed what we we call a “Flash Report”, which was a way for us to provide management with the daily data they needed and it can be emailed to them each morning.
Alteryx runs on a automated nightly schedule, and Tableau gets published to the server automatically, reducing lag times and errors in getting the data out every day With Tableau subscription, those emails go right to the people that need it. Most of our team are on their mobile devices more than on a computer, so we came up with an idea to set the dashboard to be responsive , so the team can even look at all the data on their phones.
Each morning, we can get the data we need to look at the critical pieces of the business and in a format that allows us to quickly review it. That’s key to running our business better.
Teknion: How has Teknion help transform data into insights for J.Reneé’s business?
C. Sparks: The main thing, again, is the inventory management. Just by having this Life Cycle Graph with other data around it in the dashboard, you can see how well a product is performing each week. That in itself is a game-changer. If you look at that information and you make one better purchase on one shoe in one style, that will have paid for the whole project.
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