fbpx
🥇 We are ranked the highest for Augmented Analytics in the 2022 Gartner Critical Capabilities Report! [Free Download.](https://www.pyramidanalytics.com/gartner-critical-capabilities/) 🥇
🥇 We are ranked the highest for Augmented Analytics in the 2022 Gartner Critical Capabilities Report! [Free Download.](https://www.pyramidanalytics.com/gartner-critical-capabilities/) 🥇

Export Packers

An Ontario-based importer, exporter, and distributor of food commodities, Export Packers has been around for over 80 years.

#
DOWNLOAD PDF

Key Figures

Culture Change

Built employee trust to become more data-driven

Improved Bottom Line

New focus on margins and profitability

User Friendly

Ease of use accelerates time to insights

New Efficiencies

Time, money, and human resources saved

Real-Time Warnings

Red flags raised when profits fall or shipments delayed

THE CHALLENGE

An Ontario-based importer, exporter, and distributor of food commodities, Export Packers has been around for over 80 years and is one of Canada’s largest privately held companies. Despite being a market leader with a reputation for quality, customer service, and innovation, the company wanted to utilize new technologies and increase efficiencies around business-to-business relationships.

When John Stakel joined the company as Head of Information Technology in 2019, his mission was clear: “I was brought in to rehabilitate the technology stack. We had a tendency to be entrepreneurs at every level in the organization, which is great but very execution-oriented; we were absolutely lacking in all sorts of actionable insight.”

The company’s ERP system was Microsoft Navision, running on SQL Server with a Citrix publishing tool. For business intelligence (BI), information from Navision was authored into Excel or taken directly into hundreds of Microsoft Access databases, depending on the level of integration. Either way, it was hard to get insights into inventory, sales, procurement, and the profitability of trades.

“We created a scheduler because other jobs were kicking the Access databases off the system, but it was just putting a Band-Aid on the problem,” explained Stakel. “As well as investing in a new ERP system, we wanted to change the culture, the way people in the company think about information. We needed to convince them that there’s a different way to consume insights than a PDF and Excel spreadsheet.”

John Stakel started to look for a best-fit analytics solution. In previous roles, he had come across MicroStrategy, Cognos, Power BI, Tableau, and Qlik, but the first time he encountered Pyramid Analytics was in the procurement process for Export Packers. The scope and value proposition of the Pyramid Decision Intelligence platform was a revelation to him; it made the buying decision easy.

“Pyramid offered a lot of functionality at exactly the price point I needed. It gave me a mature analytics platform that we could start working with in a way that didn’t put pressure on the rest of the organization,” said John Stakel.


THE SOLUTION

To identify levels for reporting, the internal IT team had to scope the relationship between dimensions; they had to familiarize themselves with ETL processes, data transformation, and data modeling.

Onboarding people to Pyramid was a culture change and a technical challenge, according to Stakel, but what he liked about the platform was the way it could be rolled out incrementally—his point about not putting too much pressure on the organization at the start. “We would work in one area of the business at a time,” he said. “We started with the trading organization.”

A first iteration was developed with a data model and dashboards that allowed the sales team to dig down into revenue and profitability. Next came the procurement group. To make a big change workable, they were able to compare their old reports with new ones from Pyramid to understand the transition.

“There was a trust-building exercise that took a few months,” explained Stakel. He described it as a journey to “change hearts and minds,” to move away from transactional and operational analytics to deeper-rooted intelligence around profitability, looking at margins on a product-by-product basis.

Benefits

Pyramid has provided wide-ranging benefits for Export Packers, from straightforward efficiency gains, removing manual work hours and freeing people to work on higher-value tasks, to strategic wins like evidence-based decision-making. An executive dashboard exemplifies this that the Senior VP of Trading shares with the team each week, showing where growth and new business opportunities are most likely to come.

Another benefit has been cutting the chargebacks paid for failing to meet contractual agreements. “Pyramid’s platform has helped provide visibility into unnecessary costs that eat into our profitability,” said Stakel.

He praised Pyramid for making light work of setting up dashboards and pivot tables—flexibility and user-friendliness that avoided the steep learning curve he had experienced with other BI tools. A simple interface includes red flags that alert users to business fundamentals—a profit margin dipping below a certain amount or a shipping date missed.

John Stakel credits Pyramid for making the company more data-driven, an incremental change achieved with tools that never get in the way of the data. “Pyramid’s Decision Intelligence platform was exactly the right solution for us in terms of price point, functionality, and usability—and just what we needed to start convincing our people of a different way to consume data, rather than through PDFs and Excel,” he said.

Pyramid was precisely the right platform for us in terms of price point, functionality, and usability, and just what we needed to start convincing our people of a different way to consume data, rather than through PDFs and Excel. Pyramid’s platform has helped provide visibility into unnecessary costs that affect our profitability.

– John Stakel, Head of Information Technology at Export Packers

With Pyramid Analytics, Export Packers can:

  • Become a data-driven company
  • Change the culture one department at a time
  • Save time and money and reallocate resources
  • Give people analytics tools that are easy to use

Get the latest insights delivered to your inbox