American Tire Distributors (ATD) is the largest independent tire wholesaler in the U.S. and Canada. ATD provides dealers across North America with tires, wheels, and supplies from a variety of brands. They also offer ecommerce solutions.
As VP of Planning Analytics, Danny Bharat is responsible for ATD’s planning tools and applications that are used throughout the organization. Danny also handles ATD’s entire spectrum of reporting business intelligence and advanced analytics—creating machine learning models, ML apps, and applications that provide actionable insights for the business across the supply chain.
“We had a lot of data sources, so a lot of integration debt builds up over time,” said Danny. “As any large organization gets an increasing amount of third-party SaaS solutions, you need to integrate everything in order to make sense of data and provide the detailed insights that the business is looking for.”
As ATD grew, Danny needed a comprehensive planning and analytics solution. The ATD team had implemented a variety of third-party data solutions, but these tools didn’t integrate with each other in an efficient or insightful way.
Danny had been searching for a solution that would allow his team to access detailed real-time insights all in one place. He also needed detailed summaries and insights to support the ATD’s financial planning processes.
From 350 Spreadsheets to a Scalable Solution
ATD had built a legacy application in Excel for labor planning and warehouse managers were dealing with 350 versions of spreadsheets. This process had been the same for a long time, but it wasn’t a good long-term approach for ATD.
“As you can imagine, it was a pain to make sense of the data,” said Danny. “There were lots of errors and lots of issues. As people customized these spreadsheets, there were 350 different flavors. It wasn’t a process that was sustainable.”
To overcome these challenges, ATD selected Acterys and Power BI as their data visualization and planning tools.
Acterys is a planning, budgeting, and analysis tool that integrates with Power BI. For ATD, one of the most important things was to have budget planning data and actuals in the same place. Acterys integrated key reporting and planning tools in a way that wasn’t possible with ATD’s previous system.
The ATD team already had some familiarity and experience with Power BI, however, they needed support to integrate Acterys into their existing workflows. With the team’s busy schedule, they needed an approach that was easy to learn and use for employees across the organization.
Streamlining FP&A Processes with Flexible Support
Danny and the ATD team engaged Collectiv to get their Power BI and Acterys integration up and running. Although the team already had existing Power BI knowledge, Acterys presented some new challenges.
While ATD’s planning and analytics teams were already highly capable, they needed extra training and support to get the most value out of Acterys. In addition to the initial Acterys implementation, they also needed flexible consulting they could rely on to onboard new team members or help with future challenges.
Collectiv’s flexible Consulting as a Service (CaaS) model is primed to address all of these needs for enterprise teams like ATD. Collectiv’s consultants have deep expertise in tools like Power BI and Acterys, along with industry-specific experience with FP&A and finance.
“Collectiv has been great in helping the team learn how to execute, versus trying to be the holder of knowledge,” says Danny. “They’ve been really good at training the team so they are capable of handling problems in the future—sharing the knowledge, but also sharing best practices and giving advice proactively.”
Training the Team to Enable and Empower Success
Danny and his team needed extensive Acterys knowledge that they could carry with them into future projects. Data reporting and planning is already a complex process, so they were looking for best practices that would help them use Power BI and Acterys as efficiently as possible.
Initially, Collectiv provided tool setup and onboarding for the ATD team. With Collectiv’s personalized insights, ATD was able to configure Acterys and Power BI to meet their organization’s unique needs. A hands-on training approach ensured that the entire planning team had the support they needed while learning a new platform.
“We found Collectiv to be focused on the right stuff,” said Danny. “Their main priority was enabling and empowering the team by getting everyone up to speed.”
Collectiv provided a customized Power BI Training that covered learning objectives across Acterys and Microsoft Power BI. This training gave the ATD team the best practices and actionable skills they could use in future projects.
With a stronger understanding of the Acterys and Power BI architecture, the ATD team had the skills they needed to move forward with streamlined reporting and planning challenges. Collectiv was able to provide support on an ongoing basis as well as for limited engagements to ensure that the entire team was always up to speed on Acterys and Power BI.
Reducing Application Builds By 4-8 Weeks
ATD’s planning and analytics team builds a wide range of complex applications, and they were able to dramatically reduce their time to market for many projects. Depending on the complexity of the application, the team reduced their project timelines by as much as eight weeks.
“Collectiv has been an extremely valuable partner—really capable and competent in Power BI and SQL, and they have mastered Acterys. With Collectiv, the ATD team has been increasing capabilities, finding the most optimal architecture, and shrinking time to market for applications.”
By streamlining their planning and analytics systems with Acterys and Power BI, Danny’s team was able to work more efficiently and deliver faster results. Ongoing training support ensures that the team has the necessary skills to tackle future planning challenges.
Wherever you are on your BI journey, Collectiv can provide flexible immediate support with CaaS and empower your team with one of our customized Power BI trainings. Reach out now to let us know how we help your enterprise achieve success.