Superior Glove is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of hand protection gear in North America. While their data was spread across many different sources, it was exacerbated by their order management system that had a freeform method of inputting data. Reporting was manual, slow, laborious, and not particularly accurate. Deborah McDowell, Continuous Improvement Manager, was tasked with finding a reporting solution that could handle their complex needs. Since launching Sisense, Superior Glove has seen significant sales growth due to their ability to now see sales trends across regions and product lines that were not possible before.
The [Sisense] team has been great to work with. We feel that you’re partners, as opposed to just software providers.
The Opportunity: Growth and Competitive Edge
Superior Glove was beginning to expand out of North America and needed to be able to compete in a global market. This Canadian based, family-owned business has been around for over 100-years and specializes in cut-resistant, high-quality gloves for use in every industry. The organic growth of Superior Glove meant that there was a lot of opportunities to link together the different products and data sources within the company to get a unified look at the business. It was a necessary step to be able to manage their growth.
The Challenge: Connecting Sources for a Bird’s Eye View
The primary data issue Deborah faced was that data was dispersed between many different sources and was difficult to extract and use. Data sources included Salesforce.com, an in-house developed order management system based on a SQL database, 3rd party forecasting software, as well as different enterprise management tools used for HR, warehouse management, finances, and more.
This abundance of sources made it difficult for management to receive a bird’s eye view of the business and to use the data to make decisions. The company had no BI team or system in place, so there was no way to join the data into one comprehensive picture. There was no reporting system with an end-user front end, so all requests for reports had to go through IT, which was slow and wasn’t providing the necessary level of detail.
The order management system posed the biggest challenge as it employs a very open-ended front-end which allows users to input data in any way they want. The system had no integrated reporting system, so once again Deborah had to ask the IT team to create reports.
The Search is on
Deborah’s main factors when looking at different BI software solutions were cost, ease of use, flexibility, the ability to join different sources, and customer service. Customer service was very important as the company was implementing dashboard
software for the first time and the concept was foreign to many within the organization itself.
Deborah first looked at some of the big names and lesser known names in the BI industry. Since Superior Glove were looking for a platform that upper management could operate by itself, without over-reliance on IT, these solutions were rejected outright for being too complex.
Eventually it came down to Sisense, which was chosen mainly after Deborah was impressed with the Sisense team, who were there for her every step of the process and always available to courteously and professionally answer any question that arose. Sisense’s ease of use was also a major factor, as was the local IT department’s enthusiasm with Sisense’s technology and service.
Sisense allows Superior Glove to pull in all the data from their disparate sources using the Elasticube manager, saving the company the money and effort they would have had to invest in a data warehousing solution. The first two users of Sisense within Superior Glove were the President and Vice President of the company. An ElastiCube and associated dashboards were built for them so they could get an overview of the business as a whole. After some iterations and work with the IT department and DBAs, particularly in order to find the relevant fields within the order management system, the dashboards went live. The response was very positive, and they began rolling out to additional departments, one dashboard-per-department at a time.
The VP of Marketing was particularly enthusiastic, stating: ‘I don’t know how I lived without this.’
Previously, management couldn’t use the data to drive new initiatives. Sisense has allowed them to make better decisions based on what was actually happening — for example, which product was being better received by the market, and based on that to decide on additional product lines. By applying different metrics they could identify the problems in certain products or marketing campaigns, and decide how to invest resources accordingly.