Customer Success Story: Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids 

January 27, 2016

Goodwill Industries has a mission of changing lives and communities through the power of work. Funded in large part by the organization’s retail thrift stores, Goodwill helps individuals with barriers to employment work towards self-¬sufficiency by providing individualized talent development services and employment. Originally founded in Boston in 1902, the organization today has chapters throughout North America, last year helping over 26.4 million people train for careers.

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The Greater Grand Rapids branch was founded in 1966 and today, the chapter’s 20 stores in eight counties provide revenue that supports the multiple placement and training programs. This Goodwill chapter needed a better way to track the growing amount of retail data generated by those 20 locations to optimize their business, ultimately serving a wider footprint of individuals in need. Managers had scores of questions about the business, but with numerous systems and no way to integrate data, had no way of answering them.

Goodwill was collecting data in Microsoft Dynamics ERP as well as marketing, POS, and HR systems – none of which were capable of communicating with each other. So Goodwill went on the hunt for a business intelligence and analytics solution. A dedicated team sampled demos for an array of possible BI solutions and found TARGIT Decision Suite to be the best fit for the needs of the organization.

Of all the BI candidates, TARGIT Decision Suite was not only in the sweet spot of pricing for this non-profit organization, but it was also the most scalable. The team wanted a solution that could grow with the organization and would be easy to make changes and adapt with them.

[Read how TARGIT helps companies plan and expand their BI strategies in this guide.]

Goodwill has found implementation to be beyond their expectations. TARGIT experts and consultants were highly responsive and helped Goodwill get up and running quickly. With all of their systems finally integrated in one cohesive solution, Goodwill immediately set to work answering some of their most pressing questions.

Goodwill industries

Uncovering surprising insight

“The first thing we did was run a report to see if there was a correlation between labor hours and productivity at the stores,” states Tracy Amid, Vice President of Business Intelligence at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids. “And for the first time we could see the effect of different elements on various parts of the business, such as labor hours versus production. We had hunches in the past, but no hard data to back it up.”

[Read how TARGIT helps retailers around the world uncover insight.]

Immediately, Goodwill began uncovering insights that surprised them. “What we found is that the results we expected weren’t true across all 20 stores,” says Amid. “We could see that stores weren’t cookie cutters of each other. Some were short staffed but production was very high; some had production that matched staffing; and some had high staff but low production.”

With stores throughout eight counties, Goodwill had to account for eight different communities and various demographics. TARGIT Decision Suite armed them with data to see potential causes and affects across all of them. “It allows us to ask questions that we couldn’t before, and the answers help us make smarter decisions,” says Amid.

TARGIT Decision Suite has also helped Goodwill gain valuable insight into their customers. With their loyalty points system, they can now track customers and super consumers and dissect that data by location. “This is one of the most insightful things we’ve done,” says Amid.

Employees can now track who makes the most purchases and who makes the highest value purchases. By identifying these customers and monitoring their behavior through TARGIT—such as average transaction and day and time they most often shop—Goodwill is able to get to know their shoppers on a more personal level.

“This was not information we could get before TARGIT,” says Amid. “TARGIT allows us to segment information by time, date, etc.  And the most surprising thing we uncovered was that these super consumers were the opposite of everyone else.”

Goodwill has also gained direct insight into the promotions they run, which enables them to run more effective targeted marketing. “We ran a quick report and were able to see that when we have a sale, shoppers who haven’t visited us in months come back,” says Amid. “This is the type of insight big box superstores might get. For a non-profit like us, this is amazing to be able to directly see the effectiveness of our sales.”

Forecasting for the future

Recognizing the value of a robust BI strategy, Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids has created a new business unit designed exclusively around TARGIT. With training from TARGIT University and guidance from TARGIT consulting, Goodwill will have a team of super users who will be experts in the software.

The team has been stockpiling the reports and analyses with answers to the questions that most impact their business before rolling out the solution to users across the entire company. Using TARGIT, the Workforce Development Department has worked out a future business plan to be presented to the board. From there, the group will identify three to four major projects that align with the organization’s overall strategic plan for the coming years.

“TARGIT is a critical part of our strategic planning,” says Amid. “We’re using it to map out long term projects and will be using it for forecasting.”

When the rollout is complete, Goodwill will make the most important KPIs available for all employees to see with TARGIT’s Storyboard feature, which displays the company’s most important dashboards on monitors and television screens in offices and on the ground in retail locations.

TARGIT enthusiasm is catching on quickly across Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids. Throughout the integration period, the BI team has been meeting regularly to discuss findings and plan for future expansion. They also focus on spreading the gospel of TARGIT throughout departments.

Seeing TARGIT Decision Suite’s capabilities piqued the interested of the Director of Finance, Nathaniel Lloyd, who is already seeing the power and potential. When he asked to see the five-year revenue trends for each store and overall, he was blown away when the BI team was able to pull up a report within minutes.

“Are you kidding me?” says Lloyd. “This would have taken me all day to run.”

The results generated by Greater Grand Rapids are catching notice outside of Michigan too. Kathy Crosby, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, shared their results at a recent board meeting for Goodwill Industries International.

“Other CEOs were amazed when they heard what we were doing with real time data,” says Crosby. 

Goodwill is eager to go all in on the road to becoming a fully data-driven organization. The results they’ve uncovered so far are just the beginning. That’s because improving business goes well beyond the benefits of an efficient organization. The better optimized the organization becomes, the more individuals they are ultimately able to serve on the road to self-sufficiency.

You can find out more about how Goodwill Industries is helping promote self-sufficiency in your community and find a retail location near you by visiting their website www.goodwill.org.