Mercury Lighting (Mercury) is Canada’s largest independent lighting solutions provider, offering nearly 9,000 products. The ability to interpret their data helps them to map buying patterns of customers and better serve their needs.
For Mercury, every client presents a new challenge, and while lighting may be the common denominator for most solutions, every project is an opportunity to create something unique. As a result, each Mercury salesperson is considered a specialist within a specific vertical or product line.
Better serving customers
“Our markets have changed significantly in the past five years,” says Eric Tordjman, an owner at Mercury.
“The change is a function of technology, so the old methods of buying materials and hanging on to them for six months and not knowing if and when you’re going to sell them, no longer works. Data has taken our understanding of customers and their purchasing patterns, as well as market conditions, to another level. We used to be very reactive in our approach, but today we have access to better information which is driving good decision making.”
Mining value from business data
The company uses SAP Business One for its ERP, which is data rich beyond anything that the company can use, according to Tordjman. Having all the data is great, but the biggest challenge for Mercury was mining value from the information. The company would run sales reports for sales persons, letting them know what they sold last month, but that was the extent of reporting. The company needed a data analytics solution that would meet three key objectives:
1. Report back to sales people accurately and effectively. The previous reporting process was too labor intensive, so reports were only published monthly.
2. Provide a better way to evaluate the state of its business. While Tordjman could provide a sense of month-to-month sales or margins, he could never get to the level of profitability per salesperson. Mercury wanted the ability to view profitability on a daily basis, as well as who is selling and what is not selling
3. Improve supplier vetting. The company could not measure supplier performance and validate successes. Mercury needed a way to better understand how suppliers worked with company and individual sales persons.
“When we give the analytics and reporting to someone, we need it to make sense so they can understand the patterns and trends,” said Tordjman. “From there, they can measure and develop a pathway to success. There’s always a question of, ‘How did it happen?’ Mining the data in Phocas gives us that understanding. It answers the why and the how, which is the biggest challenge.”
Measuring supplier performance
Mercury is also using Phocas to help measure the performance of suppliers. Vendors frequently ask Mercury to sell more of their product, but often require the company to promote all their products to its internal teams.
“We tell them we can sell more products if they work with our individual sales reps and help them understand more about their product offerings,” said Tordjman. “We put the responsibility of product education and growth with our company in their hands, and we're now able to use Phocas to measure if this is happening, which allows us to hold vendors more accountable.”
Mercury is also planning to share sales data with vendors so they can understand how well their products are performing among its customer base.
To delve deeper into using Phocas with your SAP Business One ERP download the eBook, How SAP B1 users can make their ERP System go from good to great.