Heavy Equipment
Testing & Validating Provides Immediate ROI

About the company

Tractor & Equipment Company (TEC) was founded in Birmingham, AL, in 1943 to provide heavy equipment sales, rentals, and services to the region. Today, the company employs over five hundred skilled professionals at 20 branches across Alabama, Georgia, and Northwest Florida. TEC has become a technically advanced leader with the trained skills to go the extra mile for their customers.

Their Challenges
  • Significant time and resources generating company reports
  • Lack of real-time visibility into their most important key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Minimal internal resources to quickly learn and adopt a brand new reporting tool.
How we helped
  • Saved hundreds of man hours generating and distributing reports
  • Gave every decision-maker real-time, self-service access to KPIs
  • Reduced the learning curve and new software adoption by offering testing and validation sessions.
I’m seeing a windfall in savings of development time by doing the testing and validation.
- Chris Lucas, V.P./Data Processing Manager, TEC

In Need of On-Site Consulting

TEC was looking for an analytics tool to help them improve their reporting operations and provide an easier, faster process to deliver the company’s critical information to executives and managers. Chris Lucas, V.P./Data Processing Manager, and his team evaluated different reporting tools and decided to join the TARGIT family in 2017.
With over 20 years of experience generating reports in SQL and various databases, Chris knew there would always be a learning curve when adopting a new platform. Although he was confident that he could handle the implementation of  TARGIT Decision Suite, he also knew that his time and resources were limited.
Tackling the task of testing and validating data on his own would take significant time and resources. Chris couldn’t afford to pause his daily responsibilities to dedicate his time to getting TARGIT fully up and running, so he turned to us for help.
TARGIT’s testing and validation service was established to help companies ensure that the dashboards and reports created for their in-house development team in TARGIT Decision Suite actually meet their needs and match past reports. This service allows companies to move quickly from phase to phase on their BI journey with the peace of mind that their data is correct.
Chris loved the idea, so our consulting team traveled on-site to TEC to complete a two-day testing and validation process for Phase 1 of TEC’s BI and analytics plan.
“We were able to reconcile all the dashboards we were looking at for that Phase 1,” says Chris. “Our executives and managers can see now in real-time our Realized Labor Rates and Work-in-Progress (WIP), which they couldn’t see before. Also, they can now drill down into the WIP report to see whether a work order was completed, by which shop, and by which mechanic. And just being able to do that in those two days of testing and validation would have taken me months by myself.”
The testing and validation sessions have been exceptionally productive for the TEC team because they are learning how to use TARGIT Decision Suite in new and more comprehensive ways than they even learned in TARGIT training.

“I learned more about how to use TARGIT by seeing it in action and working with the consultants," Lucas says.

The Before and After Testing and Validation Process

“It’s opened our minds to further possibilities with TARGIT,” says Chris. “We started out with Phase 1 saying: Yeah, that would be nice to see, but now that we have implemented the dashboards, boy, it gets your brain thinking.”

TEC realized so many possibilities that they developed Phase 2 immediately after their first on-site testing and validating. Phase 2 has so far shown Chris and his team even more TARGIT Decision Suite capabilities that they had not previously realized the software could do. They are now very excited about all the things it CAN do.
“We are scratching the surface, and we feel there is so much capability there,” Chris said. Now, they have their eyes focused expectantly on Phase 3.  
Most of the company’s reporting needs were end-of-the-month reporting and first-of-the-month reporting to show the most recent closing period, which used to take Chris three hours to complete. 
“Now it’s done in real-time. I just check them to make sure they’re okay.”
When the management team acknowledged all of TARGIT’s capabilities, they thought of their own reports, and the light bulb when off. Management realized that they can get their hands on crucial company information daily instead of waiting until the end of the month.

How Does TEC Prove BI ROI?

“We can now schedule reports in PDF or Excel format, and executives and managers get their reports on Monday morning at 6:00 a.m.,” says Chris. “We were doing all these reports in Excel and sending them out via email manually. TARGIT has saved us man hours in generating these reports.”
TARGIT also delivers crucial company information faster and without necessary human intervention. Previously, Chris and his team struggled to get some reports done in a timely manner if they became particularly tied up with other projects. Those days of juggling the dishes are long gone. 
“TARGIT has also given us the ability to distribute reports to our service and parts managers automatically,” says Chris. “It takes the middleman out of the picture, which I like. And they can make decisions daily to improve operations. For example, Parts Managers have access to information like parts that are sitting around that don’t have a bin location, yet they should have one. That is real money for us!”
Chris continues, “Now, employees can find those parts and put them in a location. Or they can look at negative inventory, which tells them a sale was made, but the receipt hasn’t been done, so they are missing a piece of the cost of goods there.”
Service Managers have direct insight into each mechanic’s hours and output. This helps them create improvement plans, offer training, and provide more access to tools that would boost mechanic efficiency.
“The Gross Profit Analysis is a powerful dashboard that we are just starting to scratch the surface with it. We can now drill down into manufacturers and branch locations to see how each of them is performing profitability-wise. When our gross profit margin falls below a certain percentage, managers get an alert. They did not have this type of insight before. Maybe once a year they could see that. Now they get it every day. That affects the bottom line.”

What’s Next for TEC?

TEC is considering concentrating on Accounting for the next phase of their BI journey to data-driven excellence.
“What if they could see budgetary progress not only on a weekly or monthly base but on daily basis? Oh, wait a minute, they can because they have the tool to do that!” says Chris. “It would be a game changer if they could look at any branch and see how they are on parts, service, sales-wise on their budgetary goals for today.”
Gaining visibility into profitably for any particular day will help TEC decision-makers understand what causes an exceptionally high or low profitability day.
“This sheds insight on whether it’s something employees need to correct or if it’s something they just need to understand why it happened,” says Chris. “I’m very excited about what TARGIT can do for our accounting guys. I think that will be a fun phase.”
Gone are the days of delayed reports or manual distribution of information. Not only has TARGIT increased operational efficiency, but it has also provided a higher payback for the TEC team.
“I tell people this: Using TARGIT is like hiring another person, except there is not a recurring salary,” says Chris. “But that person is working 24 hours a day.”
Originally published March 17, 2020. Updated September 26, 2023