Heavy Equipment
Kelly Tractor migrates to InMemory for more powerful analytics

About the company

In business since 1933, Kelly Tractor provides rentals, leasing, sales, and servicing for all types of construction and industrial equipment in a variety of markets, including land development, water and sewer, housing, agriculture, marinas, and more. The company employs more than 500 people at locations throughout southern Florida, with headquarters in Miami.

Their Challenges
  • Kelly needed to consolidate and analyze data across many locations
  • Reporting required complicated coding and couldn't be used by most people in the organization
  • Departments were siloed in their knowledge of overall company health and goals
How we helped
  • TARGIT InMemory processes all new data incredibly fast, delivering up-to-date analyses of company health in near-real time
  • Users can make changes and create their own reports and analyses without a high degree of technical knowledge
  • Every department has instant insight to KPIs from internal and external data
We currently have very high TARGIT utilization rates. This lets us know right off the bat that we are competitive and high achieving.
- John Willis, Manager, Kelly Tractor

A Way to Consolidate and Analyze Data

Caterpillar dealers around the world face many of the same challenges in running an optimized business. The top of the list is commonly managing the rental fleet to maximize ROI and profitability. Kelly Tractor Co. was no exception.

In business since 1933, Kelly Tractor provides rentals, leasing, sales, and servicing for all types of construction and industrial equipment in a variety of markets, including land development, water and sewer, housing, agriculture, marinas, and more. The company employs more than 500 people at locations throughout southern Florida, with headquarters in Miami.

With hundreds of employees and more than half a dozen locations, Kelly needed a way to consolidate and analyze data across locations and offer company decision-makers in every department a unified picture of company health. They lacked a user-friendly reporting tool that was easily accessible to mid-and upper-level management. Reporting was done primarily by building queries in DBS and Cognos, which required complicated coding that was unfamiliar and out of reach to most people in the business.

“Report building was a trial and error process, and formatting the data into a user-friendly format required hours—if not days or weeks—of our people’s time,” says Katherine Kelly, Sales Operations Manager at Kelly Tractor Co. This meant users were spending more time organizing data and getting it into a workable format than they were analyzing information and making business decisions based off of the data.

In an attempt to gain more control of their valuable data, Kelly adopted Microsoft Dynamics AX in 2010. Kelly Tractor Manager John Willis was introduced to TARGIT's business intelligence and analytics solution for heavy equipment around the same time by TARGIT partner XAPT. Won over by the platform’s user-friendly reporting capabilities and easily digestible dashboards and analyses, Kelly Tractor had what Willis refers to as a “big bang rollout.” Once AX was in place, the TARGIT rollout immediately followed, with custom cubes built to replace what existed in Cognos.

A Migration to InMemory

Today, the company has 81 daily TARGIT users within Kelly Tractor management, with plans to pull even more users into the fold thanks to TARGIT’s new in-memory ETL offering, TARGIT InMemory. Most CAT dealers rely on Atlas to handle their accounting. But now that Kelly Tractor has seen the power and consistency of TARGIT, the company’s goal is to migrate all accounting into TARGIT for more frequent use.

Accounting employees are quickly being won over by TARGIT’s newfound speed for accounting processes. Before InMemory, it would take half a day for the TARGIT system to run a job each day. As the company grew, historical data was never purged, and the length of time to run a job kept growing.

“It would start in the morning, and the users wouldn’t have access to the system until the afternoon,” says Willis. “If you didn’t save a report or you wanted to show someone something new, you had to do it in the afternoon after the TARGIT job ran. This new solution is changing that.”

TARGIT’s InMemory Database offers incredible speed and processing power, allowing 50 GB+ database to fit into a few GBs of memory space. TARGIT InMemory can be used with standard edition of SQL Server and most other databases. Data can even be loaded directly from the source systems into the TARGIT InMemory Database using the TARGIT InMemory ETL Studio.

“When we originally implemented TARGIT, the approach at the time of roll out was to build all these cubes based on particular areas, such as service, parts, etc.,” explains Willis. “The more people started to use it, though, the more they were finding different data sets were lacking. Every time we needed something added, we’d have to go back to XAPT and they would add it to a cube. Years later, we have a large number of cubes, making it hard to cross-analyze. Once we committed to the InMemory solution, I wanted it to be possible to make a virtual snapshot of our library and have it ready and available to the users every day when they came in in the morning. And once this batch job ran to update the data, they would copy over on it. That has been working pretty well.”

Vital Business Tool

Every department within Kelly Tractor now relies on TARGIT as a vital tool to monitor business trends and facilitate the decision-making process. TARGIT generates operating statements for every manager based on their area of responsibility. Some managers are often responsible for multiple store locations or departments and can now view their operating results using various criteria, without having to spend time combining data or printing multiple operating statements. For example, a manager who oversees both the West Palm Beach and Fort Myers locations can easily view a combined operating statement, or view each one on its own simply by changing the criteria of the report.

And it isn’t just managers logging in to TARGIT first thing in the morning. Kelly Tractor’s Executive Vice President, Nick Kelly, has fully embraced the solution.

“He practically lives in this thing every day,” says Willis. “It’s unusual to have a dealer principal have this level of BI and actually have his own reports and be able to build his own reports to show people things.”

An Instant Grasp of KPIs

For Kelly Tractor, the Rentals department is incredibly important for company profitability. That’s why keeping a constant eye on KPIs is critical. With TARGIT, users get daily analyses delivered in user-friendly dashboards that display KPIs such as time utilization, dollar utilization, maintenance-to-income ratio, and repair margins.

All of this data lets employees know which rentals are profit-making products and which are a burden.

“We currently have very high utilization rates,” explains Willis. “This lets us know right off the bat that we are competitive and high achieving.”

Katherine Kelly goes on: "TARGIT has enabled us to easily pinpoint areas of weakness such as unprofitable product lines or models that incur higher repair expenses than average. Management can assess when it is the right time to dispose of rental fleet equipment or when we need to change the mix of our fleet, therefore increasing ROI.”

Each department has its own KPIs to benchmark to ensure that they, too, are working up to company and CAT manufacturer standards. Users can look at the big picture, and break everything down by location. Reports are embedded directly into the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform, so users only have to open one application to work with and view all of their data. Scheduled batch reporting and SharePoint access also ensure high user adoption throughout the entire organization.

With TARGIT Decision Suite already pulling data from multiple sources, users are starting to look at data outside of the organization, such as routes, to make even better, more informed business decisions for utilization and profitability.

And because data is updated daily, employees never have to worry about making decisions based on old data in such a rapidly changing environment.

The TARGIT Partnership

Kelly Tractor’s TARGIT story goes beyond technology. Working with both TARGIT and XAPT has been a true partnership from Day One.

“You guys are great to work with,” says Willis. “It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone whenever you run into problems and get people who are concerned and want to help and are very responsive. I can’t even say enough great things about them. This isn’t a product that is sold and then everyone walks away from it. What happens after the sale is fantastic.”

The company has found tremendous value in TARGIT training to make the most of their solution.

“We had good training thanks to Angel [ERP Project Manager at Kelly Tractor]. Many users were self-taught before that, so they were struggling a little bit. Now the people that are using TARGIT are fluent with it.”

With regular software updates and new features hitting the market, regular training keeps TARGIT users on top of the most important BI trends and advancements, increases user adoption, and ensures users are doing much more than just scratching the surface of the power within their TARGIT solution.

With so much analytical power at users’ fingertips, Kelly Tractor is a true TARGIT case study in success. Watch the video below to hear what Kelly Tractor's ERP Manager, Angel Lara, thinks about his experiences with TARGIT Decision Suite.

Originally published March 17, 2020. Updated September 26, 2023