SMC Electric Supply Accesses Multiple Data Sources to Gain Better Business Insights with Entrinsik Informer
SMC (SMC Electric Supply), a private, family-owned corporation headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, distributes the industry’s top automation, data comm., electrical, industrial, pneumatics, safety and security products typically used in machine builders and manufacturing facilities from over 250 manufacturers from 14 locations in Missouri and Kansas.
When Jesse Owsley, software program manager at SMC joined the company, he quickly realized that reporting capabilities within the organization were very limited and not sufficient for business needs. SMC had multiple databases that held important data, many of which had none or limited reporting abilities within the application. Staff was either making do with native application reporting, using SQL Management Studio or having an IT staff member write custom reports for users.
“We have multiple data sources that we use in the organization including two ERPs, an ecommerce software, warehouse management system, and a CRM. We didn’t have one reporting tool that could gather and combine data from all our disparate sources,” said Owsley. SMC also lacked the ability to access important live data, such as online accounts being created by customers on the SMC website.
Owsley and other staff at SMC knew that they needed a more efficient way of accessing and managing data within all of their separate data sources. While at a conference in 2015, SMC was introduced to Informer and immediately saw the benefit in the software. “We were immediately impressed with what Informer could do for us. It could connect to all of our data sources and report off of them in real time, which would be a huge benefit to the company,” said Owsley.
After a free trial, SMC soon implemented Informer and were up and running in only days. “Including the time it took to spin up a server, install Informer, connect to the initial data sources and to do the first application training sessions via telephone, I had less than 8 man hours invested in getting my first production reports which I continue to use to this day,” said Owsley. “Setup was my number one concern, but it was very straightforward. I’m not a technical person, but I could do most of the setup and mappings myself.”
After implementing Informer, SMC now has easy access to all of its important data, all in one easy to use platform. Another significant benefit was the ability to automatically schedule and distribute reports to other staff members, management, and vendors. “When users created online accounts, we want to know about it, and we didn’t have that ability before Informer. Now, we get that data in real time when we need it and also through daily reports that run automatically and go directly to my inbox,” said Owsley.
SMC staff now have the ability to access and manage data without IT intervention. End users can use Informer to run their own ad-hoc reports and dashboards to then distribute them to many others. Managers, vendors, and other staff members can view report pdfs or even Live Excel spreadsheets with Informer data, all without ever having to access the software itself.
“Another aspect of Informer that I really love is the ways I can export my query results for other people to see. Sometimes I don’t want the people consuming the data to see everything; only the pieces that they need. Live Excel is a great way to do that, and our users don’t need extra Informer licenses. That feature alone has fulfilled our ROI for Informer,” said Owsley.
SMC also uses Informer to distribute important information to vendors. Many vendors receive weekly or monthly reports on inventory, location, and sales of products. SMC can now gather all this information for the vendors in Informer by querying one or several data sources at one time, saving hours of time. “We can format these reports how we like as well, in csv or pdf form, for various vendors. Periodic sales reports, itemized sales histories, and proof of delivery reports can all now be run easily and distributed to vendors without any effort on our part,” said Owsley.
SMC can also now use dashboards to visually represent important data, and administrators can control who sees and manipulates data. “I can send out or embed a dashboard for others to see but control at an admin level who can see and drill down into the data behind it. The security in Informer is very granular and it’s been great to be able to control access to everything down to the row level. We know exactly who has access to what data,” said Owsley.
With Informer, SMC has seen great improvement in data management and overall business transparency. Whether tracking order fulfillment for vendors, reporting on new ecommerce customers as they sign up via website, or creating top-level charts of sales performance, SMC now has the ability to manage daily operations in an easy, transparent way, all through Informer.
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