A yogi, a truck driver and a realtor walk into a conference

07-17-2014 09:21 AM
Occasional Contributor
3 0 3,731

How a new kind of business intelligence is driving business success through happy people, health communities and a better bottom line

Close to 400 people put their businesses on the map at the Esri Business Summit, starting on Saturday, July 11 at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel. Attendees from as far away as Japan, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Thailand and the United Kingdom came to hear more than 40 speakers discuss how GIS and location analytics are making a difference at their companies, for their people and in their communities.

From Subjective to Objective

John Crouse with The Wendy’s Company

John Crouse, the director of real estate services for The Wendy’s Company started the conference by talking about how the popular fast food chain is using Esri technology to make more informed decisions by understanding their customers’ behaviors – a challenge because Wendy’s doesn’t collect customer data through loyalty cards or other means.

Wendy’s relies on Esri’s Tapestry data to give them insight into who their customers are and help them avoid opening restaurants in the wrong locations.

“GIS takes the subjectivity out of our work and helps us do things that benefit the company,” said Crouse.

Crouse estimates that in the first two years, the company potentially saved up to three-quarters of a million dollars.

A better work environment through GIS

The benefits of GIS outlined during the four days of the conference were many and they didn’t stop at just helping the bottom line.

Jeff Rivera the vice president of national account sales at Con-way Freight, a $5.5 billion freight transportation and logistics services company, talked about how integrating GIS into their “lean” business culture helps improve the working conditions of their drivers.


Jeff Rivera, vice president national account sales, Con-way Freight

He introduced the audience to Jackpot, a Con-way Freight driver. Jackpot has driven two million miles over the past five years without an accident or an injury—an incredible feat in light of all the things that can go wrong on the road including broken down rigs, traffic congestion, and customers late with shipments. And when Jackpot is late, or misses a delivery window, it is frustrating to both the customer and to Jackpot.

Esri is helping Con-way understand what obstacles drivers like Jackpot encounter and make those hidden wastes visible. For example, using ArcGIS, managers are able to see where there is unnecessary wait time, heavy traffic or bad routes and provide alternative scenarios to save time, money and eliminate waste. This improves morale, job satisfaction and, ultimately, service to customers.

“Esri provides a clear solution to transform how we route our drivers so we can eliminate waste and increase value,” said Rivera. “Esri solutions helped us work with our customers differently.”

A part of the community

Another company dedicated to its employees is Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is a privately owned fast food restaurant chain headquartered near Atlanta, Georgia. Steady growth since the first restaurant opened in 1967 has led Chick-fil-A to become the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain the United States, with more than 1,700 locations in 39 states, bringing in sales of more than $4.6 billion annually.

Chick-fil-A’s Chan Lee, a senior analyst, spoke about the company’s success and its dedication to their operators. He attributed their success to their operators’ dedication to the communities where they are located.

Chan Lee, Chic-fil-A

Because the operators are so integrated with their local communities, it is important to ensure that other restaurants aren’t opened in established markets. This is possible by using Esri technology because it provides visibility into where customers are coming from.

“We really care about our operators and our customers,” said Chan. “So, we are very careful about placement and cannibalization. The only way to ensure we don’t have cannibalization is through GIS.”

Starting in child pose

Booth Babcock, the integrated planning manager for Lululemon also talked about the perspective of community first. Lululemon is a high-end, international athletic apparel company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The company was founded in 1998 as Babcock describes, “by a bunch of yogis” to fill a gap in the clothing market for active women participating in sports.

The company sets the bar in technical fabrics and functional designs, working with local communities for research and product feedback. Lululemon has grown from one local store to around 250 and has successfully branched into men’s and young girls’ wear.

Booth Babcock, Lululemon

Babcock said the company was looking for a solution that was fast and affordable, and they found that in Business Analyst Online.

“We wanted to sign up and instantly have access to mapping,” said Babcock. “We’re not really software guys, but after twenty minutes, we were up and running.”

BAO provides the data Lululemon needs for every North American market, and they now use this as a base to build all their systems.

“This works well because we can replicate the same workflows over and over,” said Babcock. “And it’s not a black box, we can do whatever we want with it.”

The best part? According to Babcock, starting small with BAO means that they can handle the occasional misfire—like the rest of the company – in style. They can drop the project and move on.  This has helped them make their company’s bottom line, as well as that of their customers (thanks to those great black stretchy pants they are so well known for) – look good.

Going from ‘can I do it?’ to ‘I did it!’

Karan Singh, the director of research and strategy of General Growth Properties agrees that starting small – in this case with ArcGIS Online – was the key to them going from ‘can I do it?’ to ‘I did it.’

Karan Singh, GGP

General Growth Properties operates 120 regional malls across the United States, including some of the most well-known shopping centers: Tysons Galleria in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California’s Glendale Galleria, and the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

ArcGIS Online allows analysts to view each mall and drill down to individual stores to analyze store performance. Integrating locational, market and geographic data with sales and tenant-level analytics is giving analysts and managers a better way to manage store mixes and jump in when there is an issue.

“Our demographics change every day,” said Singh. “One day we might be engaging with Lululemon, and the next with Brighton Collectibles, so it’s important that we understand the people who come and shop at our malls, and that we present this to our retail customers.”

To learn more and see the other exciting presenters, visit esri.com/bizsummit.

- See more at: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/ucinsider/2014/07/16/a-yogi-a-truck-driver-and-a-realtor-walk-into-a-conf...

About the Author
Strategic Communications Will work for food.