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Case Study

Using a costing model to solve a special orders problem

Baker Tilly utilizes Tableau analytics software to map costs for food provider.
Man consults on the phone while working on the computer
Case Study

Using a costing model to solve a special orders problem

Baker Tilly utilizes Tableau analytics software to map costs for food provider.

The business challenge

A leading U.S.-based food provider with major operations in the U.S., Europe and Latin America needed to determine what the cost of a special order was for the Company. These orders represented $16M of $24B of revenue. Prior firms, like Boston Consulting Group, had attempted to solve this problem but did not offer any practical operational/tactical results to better manage the business.

The Baker Tilly approach

Baker Tilly was engaged in early 2019 to build a dynamic costing model, which we built in Tableau Prep (an ETL tool), and delivered as Data Visualization. The process combined management interviews and extracted data from 13 systems.

Using Tableau analytics software, our value architects boiled down millions of rows of special order data into one visual dashboard that empowered us to:

  • break down special orders by type, geography and cost category
  • uncover all the costs associated with special order activity
  • understand the underlying drivers and frequency of these costs
  • understand and document process variation across markets and different special order types
  • and, ultimately, identify patterns and process improvements in the company special order process

The impact

The company received a powerful visual analytics tool from Baker Tilly that mapped end-to-end costs across the special order process. Our advisors used the tool, along with their in-depth understanding of supply chain optimization and cost accounting, to help the executive team look at existing data through a new lens. And then we used that data to identify special order process improvement recommendations to help drive the successful adoption of their direct fulfillment model. The analytics tool told management a story and gave them visibility into powerful what-if scenarios that help answer questions around the profitability of special orders.

This isn’t the first problem we’ll help the company solve. This same analytics tool can be used again as a change management tool to help introduce the client’s new direct-to-consumer platform. We are currently proposing on future roles to help them with the launch of document business rules for special orders, and building a tool to help local area presidents manage the problem real time in the future.

For more information on this topic or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.

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