A large and growing national retailer has built its success on keen insight into its customers. But having equally sharp insight into its inventory was proving a challenge. The retailer had no tools for inventory visibility within its existing business intelligence and reporting infrastructure. Without the ability to track inventory through the supply chain, merchants were cancelling needed purchase orders (POs) or unnecessarily placing additional orders for items with volatile demand. It was time for a data-driven decision making solution that would increase sales and overall profitability. The retailer engaged Point B to bring visibility into its inventory, using Tableau to improve reporting, move data, and modernize its reporting framework by integrating its third-party logistics providers and existing PO data.

Seeing the whole picture

Point B brought our client cross-discipline expertise in retail, supply chain and data visualization. By leveraging Tableau, we led the development of a robust data model. The model incorporates data from third-party logistics providers and existing data sources, including SAP, to give this retailer a holistic view of where inventory is located in the supply chain. With new visibility into the data, our client is able to avoid out-of-stock issues, which increases sales and improves customer satisfaction. The data also gives our client a better understanding of item-level costing by attributing logistics cost to individual SKUs, which will inform future buying decisions.

‘Weeks of Supply’ made visual

We worked with our client's internal developers and architects to deliver a Weeks of Supply visualization in Tableau that provides detailed inventory analysis at both the distribution center and store levels. It highlights SKUs with potential shortfalls, enabling merchants to take quick action. We enriched this Weeks of Supply visualization by incorporating third-party logistics data, further increasing visibility into inventory in transit from the manufacturer. Through a new reporting suite, our client now has self-service analytics that allow merchants to make actionable decisions fast.

‘The raingear effect’

Empowering merchants and buyers with new information enables them to make data-driven decisions that lead to higher sales and profitability. During the project, our client started using its new reports in daily operations, with measurable success. Just one example: As a large rainstorm approached the central U.S., the retailer used its new reporting and data visualization to move raingear to its stores in the region—with a positive impact on sales. It's all the result of good data made visible and accessible.