Stylish, high-tech and good for you
From fashion to manufacturing to dairy, analytics helps small to midsize companies grow
Most people would be hard-pressed to find similarities between an online luxury fashion retailer, a high-tech manufacturer and a milk delivery business in the suburban Midwest. Gilt Groupe has made a name for itself selling fashion-forward merchandise to budget-conscious trendsetters. BGF Industries has been perfecting its heat-resistant fibers for aircraft and automotive parts, bullet-proof vests, movie screens and more.
And Oberweis Dairy has been getting its dairy products out the old-fashioned way – delivered right to customers' front doors. And yet as diverse as these companies are, they all share one key advantage: All three are using advanced analytics. Their successes show what small to midsize businesses can accomplish without hiring a team of analysts and programmers.
Tapping into the market for thrifty lovers of luxury
Gilt Groupe recognized that it needed a better way to gather, analyze and report data so it could know customers more intimately and be able to customize marketing more effectively. "We were able to get a deep understanding of our customer base through the profiling, segmentation [and] predictive analysis that we conduct with SAS Analytics," says Tamara Gruzbarg, Senior Director of Analytics and Research. With analytics the company can now "dig deep into all of the behavioral patterns and understand the preferences of different customer segments." Among its successes:
Gruzbarg's counsel to other SMBs: "It is never too early to start with analytics, even if you don't have full-blown capabilities right away. Simple segmentation based on one or two key variables, implemented at the right time, could go a long way in helping to move the business forward."
Read more about Gilt Groupe.
Weaving superior protection
With SAS Enterprise BI for Midsize Business, BGF created a cost-effective, easy-to-use early-warning system that helps the materials firm stay ahead of its competition on quality and productivity. Data is available in minutes instead of hours. "SAS allowed us to create an early-warning system that constantly monitors data and production trends so we can keep our quality high and our customers satisfied," said Bobby Hull, a BGF systems analyst.
BGF has always prided itself on minimal quality issues and a quick response when one emerges. "This just gives us another tool to respond quicker, faster and more accurately and that turns into dollars for us," Hull says.
Learn more about BGF Industries
Reinventing home milk delivery for a 21st century world
It also learned that running specials on milk sold through grocery store chains doesn't cannibalize from dairy store or home delivery sales. In fact, a sevenfold increase in sales at grocery stores during a recent promotion helped introduce many new customers to the Oberweis brand. And one of the side benefits of switching to analytics is increased productivity.
The company was able to automate reports that previously took its analysts 20 hours a week using Excel spreadsheets. "I think implementing analytics is a great way for a small company to become a large company," says Bruce Bedford, Vice President of Marketing Analytics and Consumer Insight. "One of the most valuable assets of any company, large or small, is its data, but you have to analyze it."
Read more about Oberweis Dairy.
This story appears in the Second Quarter 2012 issue of