Guest Blog – Differentiation in Five Steps from Mueller Inc.

To gain a client perspective on business analytics, we asked data science executives to provide their real-world expertise. In this post, we welcome Mark Lack, Manager of Strategy Analytics & Business Intelligence at Mueller Inc. Mark is considered a thought leader in this space and has won various awards including IBM Analytics Champion, Information Management’s Top 25 Information Managers, and IBM Champion Evangelist of the Year, among many others. We hope you enjoy our guest blog written by Mark. We have had the distinct honor to have Mark as a client for several years. Read on to learn how Mark has lead Mueller Inc. in their business analytics journey to differentiate themselves in their marketplace.

Mark Lack
Manager of Strategy Analytics & Business Intelligence
Mueller Inc.
Mark’s Profile

Mother Nature and extreme weather conditions across the central and southwest U.S. keep us busy at Mueller Inc. As a manufacturer of steel buildings and metal roofs, we’re in business to keep people and property a little safer as they contend with tornadoes and extreme hail.

At Mueller, we’re committed to technology; it’s a foundational pillar of our company. And technology is helping us gain efficiencies and also differentiate us from others in the marketplace.

Five ways analytics helps Mueller compete and differentiate:

  1. Revenue forecasting

By using cognitive analytics, data from across our company now offers business insights ten times faster. We don’t need to spend hours assembling, cleansing and preparing data. We simply load up our data, and within 20 seconds the solution presents us with visualizations of correlations that it has identified. Previously, developing a revenue forecast model took three weeks, but we now have a comfortable level of insight within a few minutes.

  1. Supply chain management

IBM Watson Analytics is also being used in inventory transactions; financial forecasting, specifically the movement of material; and detailing scrapped material, for example due to material or product shrinkage. We anticipate we can reduce inventory costs by using call center and purchase data to streamline supply chain management and gain insights that will allow us to better predict the need for materials.

  1. Marketing

Quick access to insights leads to asking more questions. So… we pulled data from our call centers and loaded it into IBM Watson Analytics without a specific purpose in mind. We gained valuable customer insights, which have empowered our marketing team to tailor our efforts in each individual market we serve.

  1. Employee health and safety

We invest a lot of time and energy in implementing stringent safety protocols, but accidents can still happen. We found that with IBM Watson Analytics we can evaluate our data to begin to predict workplace accidents. Once we have this insight, we can then take the necessary countermeasures to keep our employees safe.

  1. Small town roots and dedication

Technology also enables the company’s commitment to maintain our headquarters in the modest-size city of Ballinger, TX. The population is less than 4,000, so finding the right mix of talent isn’t always possible. We have learned to rely on technology to plug any skills gaps. Specifically, we use IBM Watson Analytics to automate our processes and extract load from our people. This streamlines how we do business and maximizes our staff time. Cutting manual steps is a key value of data science and allows us to stick to our values and our identity.

What’s next?

With IBM Watson Analytics, we have a window into what’s next. We have insights faster and in more detail than ever before, and the tool inspires additional queries. We are now researching the possibility of using drone technology in conjunction with IBM Watson Analytics software to reduce costly mistakes in construction projects through improved measurements. We are also eager to see how the planned IBM acquisition of The Weather Company can benefit our busine

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