Focus on: Empower Employees, Optimize Operations, Transform Products

This is Sheila’s favorite part: the tall doors slide open with a soft rush of air and she darts inside the store, ears flapping, yanking her purple leash—and her owner’s arm—through the doorway. With shelf after shelf of toys and treats, and so many delicious smells to decipher, Sheila pauses in the entryway for a second to take it all in. Within moments, she catches a familiar scent. With her stubborn tongue lolling casually over the left side of her jaw, the Beagle waddles toward her favorite Pet Supplies Plus employee, owner in tow.

“Hey, Sheila. Come here, sweet girl,” the store team member coos as he kneels to rub behind her ears. “How are you doing today?”

After a few more gentle pats, the team member stands to greet Sheila’s smiling owner. “Welcome back to Pet Supplies Plus! How can I help you and Sheila today?”

Known as “America’s favorite pet store,” Pet Supplies Plus takes pride in offering convenience, values and excellent customer service. Across its 425+ corporate and franchised locations, Pet Supplies Plus provides a wide range of products and services for household pets; including self-service dog washing and professional grooming. The company has one of the highest net promoter scores in the industry.

Pet Supplies Plus em-barked on a digital transformation journey to increase productivity, streamline processes, and improve user access to data across the entire business. Chief Operating Officer at Pet Supplies Plus, Miles Tedder and Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Jeff Suttle, worked together to guide the digital transformation of their company.

Identifying opportunities for modernization with Microsoft Dynamics and Power BI

With so many locations, Pet Supplies Plus was looking for a way to improve data access and organization by consolidating company data into one application. Before being replaced with Microsoft Dynamics, the business’ previous POS system provided basic information to leadership, helping them evaluate trends, sales, and other metrics. However, the system wasn’t 100% accurate and lacked a perpetual inventory. In addition, the company’s financial system, which managed general accounting and finance reports, operated in an entirely separate infrastructure, and decreasing efficiency. Overall, the disparate platforms made it difficult to leverage meaningful metrics like shrink, inventory, item records, and more.

“We needed something responsive that didn’t require developers to build code,” said Jeff Suttle. “Something that business users can really get into and rally around, with rich features and functionality, that’s also modern and capable of doing the different things that we’re going to ask of it.”

Pet Supplies Plus recognized this opportunity to transform their business intelligence and reporting. Previously, franchise store data and reports were all separate from the corporate system, disrupting connectivity and communication. The company decided to address this challenge with a Microsoft solution, allowing for a seamless implementation alongside their other Microsoft technologies.

Miles Tedder explained, “We wanted to provide a self service, user-friendly, intuitive option for business intelligence and analytics for the company that was rooted in one version of the truth, and available to all levels of the organization.”

Enhancing company-wide connectivity to keep data accessible at every level
To solve Pet Supplies Plus’s data challenges, the company adopted Power BI at the corporate and franchise level, empowering leadership to stay connected and informed. With the new digital environment, franchise owners could communicate and collaborate easily to make smarter, data-driven decisions for their business.

“We were impressed with where Power BI was at the time, and even more impressed with the capabilities and the commitment that Microsoft was making to a user-accessible, self-service business intelligence solution for accompany of our size,” said Miles.

With Power BI’s organized dashboard, employees can more effectively interact and communicate with product vendors. The system also enables them to deliver financial records pre-formatted to match corporate financial reports, empowering store owners to stay connected to their business. Power BI’s technology also supports a digital self-reporting stock process that acts as a more efficient, modernized alternative to sales employees walking the store and manually counting products. With access to meaningful data on a number of different enterprise metrics, Pet Supplies Plus franchise owners have access to accurate reports and better business intelligence capabilities than with previous legacy systems.

“Now they can sign into Power BI, click a button and there’s their data,” explained Jeff. “It allows them to filter, to sort, to select a SKU, to review their entire department—whatever they want—and print it off if they want to.”

Pet Supplies Plus also leverages Azure to improve the flexibility and reliability of the Microsoft products they’ve already adopted. Azure’s scalability powers an adjustable digital environment that evolves with the company, accommodating growth or further digital transformation. Compared with business intelligence offerings in the past, Azure is a more cost-efficient and less IT-heavy solution for the company, ultimately driving data-driven decisions for anyone with access to the system.

Delivering modern technology to enable customer service to continue to shine
Pet Supplies Plus employees have been overwhelmingly receptive to the new products, eager to leverage the modern technology to drive efficiency, convenience and stronger connectivity across all levels of the business. Easy access to accurate data also allows store teams to spend less time wading through complicated data and more time engaging with neighbors and their pets on the sales floor, providing the excellent customer service Pet Supplies Plus is known for.

“From my perspective, it’s the self-serve access to real-time, actionable business data that has been the biggest success,” Miles asserted.

Securing a technology partner to manage adoption and ensure a seamless transition

Technology partner Rightpoint played a key role in managing the company’s digital transformation, bringing their own experiences and best practices to the partnership. In addition to offering meaningful guidance and inventive solutions, Rightpoint also helped the company build a user-friendly infrastructure that would allow employees to easily leverage the data most relevant to their needs. Along with Rightpoint’s guidance, Microsoft successfully delivered adaptable, reliable technology to enhance efficiency across the board. By leveraging the flexibility of Power BI and Azure, the company transformed workplace efficiency at every business level.

“The clarity of vision and commitment for Power BI was extremely important, and Microsoft has not only delivered on what was expected, but more,” Miles explained. “They’ve provided guidance, assistance, and collaboration both with Power BI’s utilization with Dynamics AX, and the deployment in Azure.”

When it comes to a successful digital transformation, reimagining infrastructure always requires proactive planning to guarantee success. Adopting Microsoft tools like Power BI and Azure means that company metrics and data previously under the purview of the company’s IT staff, can be easily-accessed and navigated by corporate business users and store teams. Miles and Jeff both advise other organizations to focus on change management before and during that transitory period. Knowing how to effectively leverage that increased potential is essential to successfully managing any organization’s transformation. Strategically leveraging powerful data solutions is the most effective way to modernize companies and plan for a strong future.

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