BraunAbility Makes Unexpected Discoveries and Financial Gains with Sisense

Executive Summary

BraunAbility, the market leader in wheelchair accessible vehicles and commercial lifts, was founded by Ralph Braun after he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and unable to walk by the age of 15. Determined to find a better way to stay mobile over being pushed around in manual chairs, he invented the first electric scooter, which eventually branched out into a full industry that works to grow mobility around the world.

BraunAbility always looked to data to try and solve challenges, but the process eventually became too time-consuming and error-prone to continue manually. That’s when Craig Schrimsher, Director of Dealer Development and Demand Analytics, set out to find a solution. After implementing Sisense, BraunAbility now has a near real-time understanding of the financials that drive the company.

Outgrowing Excel

BraunAbility builds their products on various makes and models of cars, creating thousands of different SKU combinations. They were using Excel in order to answer common questions relating to their products such as: how does the mix of product look region to region?, what are trends in customer preference when it comes to exterior color?, and which combinations of conversions are most likely to sell on which combinations of manufacturer trim packages?

With customer demand and combinations growing exponentially, it became difficult for BraunAbility to keep up as they would have liked. On top of that, answers to these important questions would vary day to day and department to department depending on who was pulling and analyzing the data. Craig said it was clear they had outgrown Excel.

The Search is on

BraunAbility decided to move to an ERP system that would support all of the backend systems they were already using. During this process, it became clear to them that they would not be able to support this project without also implementing a business analytics system. So, instead of trying to make one solution work for everything, they decided to go with a market leader in each specific software category.

Although no one at BraunAbility had any previous experience implementing an analytics solution, they knew they
needed a couple of things:

  • A way to combine all of the different data sources they have in one place in order to get insights out of them.
  • The ability to connect data from their ERP and CRM in order to see a full lifecycle of their products all the way from manufacturing to delivery to an end user.

In the end, what stood out about Sisense? The deployment was the most nimble, flexible, and easy to implement. According to Craig, “We felt that we could do the most with the least personnel with Sisense.”

Discovering Unexpected Insights

Although the initial implementation was with the sales and operations planning teams, other departments noticed Sisense and now also rely on dashboards to make decisions. BruanAbility’s internal finance department, for example, relies heavily on Sisense for monthly counting validations, while their purchase department uses Sisense to create purchase variance reports to see which suppliers cost more money than they should.

We feel that we’re better equipped to be proactive in what we’re offering to our customers due to data.

BraunAbility was also able to unveil some surprising realizations by using Sisense. For example, they had always offered discounts on different products to their customers but, they never had a way to segment and attribute discounting down to the product level. With Sisense they use discount data to drive production and make informed decisions about what they keep in stock and if the discount they’re offering has an impact on the sales rate. With this new information, they see better profit margins across the board.

Hero Moment

Craig says that Sisense has had a huge impact on his team’s day to day work. Prior to Sisense, their day to day was spent creating reports. Based on the time of the month, team members would have specific reports they needed to create and would spend tons of time pulling data out of ERPs and the CRM, trying to find relationships, creating reports, and then sending them off to management. The entire process would take the better part of the beginning of every month, leaving them with only a couple weeks to focus on other work. With Sisense, these reports are done in minutes allowing Craig’s team to focus on other core parts of the business.

On top of this, Craig says that one member of his team would spend the first 45 minutes of every day going into their ERP, counting numbers of products, updating an Excel sheet, and creating a PDF that was then sent out as the sales rate to the entire company. Because this is now taken care of easily in Sisense, this team member has been able to make leaps and bounds in his career by becoming a master of analytics and gaining a skill that is hard to come by and important in today’s marketplace.