As a global leader in third-party logistics, efficiency is always a priority for the operations team at Metro Supply Chain Group. But prior to partnering with Vena, tracking and reporting on key performance metrics—such as labour costs, fill rates and supply chain cycle times—just wasn’t very efficient at all.
“Our distribution centers would manage their own metrics and report them with a typical Excel spreadsheet,” says Paolo Mari, VP of Business Analytics and Commercial Management at MSCG. “Imagine pulling inventory data out of a warehouse management system, pulling your financials out of another system and then keying a report in manually or linking to multiple different input spreadsheets. It was really time consuming.”
With so much of his time spent wrangling data from the past, Paolo couldn’t empower stakeholders with a holistic view of real-time business performance. This made it tough to identify emerging trends and to tweak operations accordingly for maximum efficiency and profit—both internally and on the client side.
“You need to show customers that you’re delivering their products in a quality, cost-effective fashion,” says Paolo. “But without the right data to show how efficient you are, you really can’t prove that you’ve done that.”
When Paolo implemented Vena at the start of 2019, he’d just spent the past two years building a data warehouse for operational reporting. He still needed a solution to map operational metrics back to financial results, and that’s why he partnered with Vena—to develop a centralized approach to company-wide planning and analysis.
“Now that we have Vena, we can run multiple scenarios and use multiple forecasts to aid decision making,” says Paolo. “Operational metrics are important, but the story is not complete until you can see how they impact your costs, revenue and EBITDA margins. Vena is our way of bringing that all together and measuring the health of our business.”
When it comes to reporting for customers, Vena’s Power BI Connector is how Paolo delivers up-to-date productivity metrics. Instead of just churning out static reports every month, Vena consolidates live numbers from the data warehouse (SQL Server), ERP (Dynamics GP) and in some cases from the clients’ own source systems. Metrics are instantly visualized with Power BI dashboards so Paolo can tell a story with easy-to-read charts and graphs.
“A lot of our customers want to know about their costs per order, average wage rates and how they’re tracking against the budget in their contract. All of these reports are automated in Vena and refreshed multiple times per day,” he says. “The Power BI Connector lets us visualize and distribute our reports to anyone. Our customers can even go into Power BI and do their own analysis from our workspace.”
Now that key performance metrics are consolidated in one source of truth, MSCG can better serve clients by identifying and addressing trends proactively. The dashboards have helped foster a “culture of continuous improvement” at MSCG—now client managers can actually see where their numbers are headed and make the appropriate adjustments to save their clients some money.
“If we’re seeing a negative trend, we now have the tools to understand why so we can improve that operation for the customer. Then we go back into the reporting, determine if the improvement worked and identify what the next steps are,” says Paolo. “Vena and Power BI give us a view of everything that’s driving our costs. It really lets us tell the full story beyond just a budget or forecast.”
As Paolo continues to spearhead MSCG’s digital transformation, he’s excited to keep growing with Vena and to build more predictive revenue models. That’s the real value of what Vena’s Power BI Connector enables—the ability to look ahead confidently and to deliver analysis that’s easy to understand.
“We’re all about getting into the predictive analytics of supply chain and looking at labor costs, labor optimizations, pricing components and transportation,” says Paolo. “We can use the information we have in Vena to better serve customers in their businesses, to improve our own operations and to provide a lot of value to any organization that we deal with.”