There has been less discussion since Pipple joined Shimano, a manufacturer of bicycle, fishing and rowing parts. Why is that? Numbers tell the truth. CFO of Shimano Europe Thom van Egmond is pleased with the clarity this brought.
To further improve customer satisfaction, van Egmond asked Pipple to perform a process mining analysis. Due to the rapid international growth through acquisitions, quite a bit of internal complexity and variety had arisen, the management knew. The company now had a sales office in many European countries and also worked with distributors.
The analysis showed that four thousand different ways were used to process an order. “That’s what you get when a process consists of six or seven steps and countries, departments and teams use their own approach at every step,” van Egmond now knows. Another eye-opener was the lead times. “We thought we would complete all our orders within a few days. But we came across some that had been open for years.”
Benchmarking and focus
With the insights obtained, van Egmond was able to benchmark the efficiency of countries, departments and employees on the basis of hard evidence. A tool that greatly reduced discussions: “Data doesn’t lie.” And another advantage: they helped management to focus more easily on what could be gained the most, and not just change everything.
Creative with data
Other routes with Pipple also resulted in positive efficiency gains for Shimano. For example, they created a model that predicts the demand for spare parts based on the number of components Shimano sells to bicycle manufacturers. As a result, Shimano no no longer has to rely on retailers’ estimates for its inventory management. And Pipple taught Shimano’s data team to be creative. Van Egmond: “We mainly looked at our own data. Pipple had us brainstorm about possible links between stock data, other internal figures and data outside Shimano.” Literally outside, because that’s how they discovered that weather patterns can predict sales down to the product category level.