With customers in industries ranging from waste management and construction to mining and logging, this manufacturer was generating an enormous amount of very valuable data from their GPS-enabled onboard truck scales. The initial challenge involved the transfer and aggregation of the source data. The retrieval process was almost entirely manual, requiring customers to plug in a USB cord to each truck to pull data off hardware running on each vehicle. That data was then sent to the manufacturer and uploaded to its application for analysis, but that application ran on a physical server. The time involved in data transfer and analysis made it impossible to distribute the real-time intelligence customers needed to run their business, leaving sub-optimal processes in place for load and customer pricing optimization.
The Blueprint Way
The main roadblock to unlocking the potential of the manufacturer’s data was its infrastructure. Blueprint designed and implemented the process to migrate all relevant data and applications from a thick client application, which operates on-premises, to an Azure cloud environment, which immediately improved speed of access and overall application functionality. Once on Azure, the company’s applications could easily be scaled up and down, stay current with no patching requirements and easily add new customers.
With the backend infrastructure hosted in Azure, Blueprint created a first-class reporting dashboard for the manufacturer’s customers that was flexible enough to respond to a changing business landscape, deep enough to allow for analysis and intuitive enough to allow corporate decision-makers to respond effectively. The analytics platform and its backend infrastructure could also be set up, managed, used and supported from any device with a modern web browser.
Benefits - New software as a service (SaaS)
With the data and application migrated to the cloud, Blueprint pivoted to investigate how to provide even more value to the manufacturer than simple, fast data ingestion. It quickly became apparent that the data trucks were collecting could provide even more value to both the manufacturer and their customers, particularly those in the waste management industry — their most important vertical.
By combining streaming location and weight data, Blueprint delivered a powerful data product the manufacturer could sell to provide customers with more value and thus make themselves a more valuable partner. By focusing on their most valuable customer segment, the manufacturer was able to develop a software product that addressed many of the tough challenges of the waste management industry.
With near real-time location data streamed to dashboards and the data warehouse, customers who subscribed to this data product could easily spot inefficiencies in planned truck routes and quickly identify drivers who were not driving routes as directed. More impactfully, customers could access streaming weight measurement data from their fleets, opening a new world of analysis and optimization. A common challenge in waste management is the cost structure. While waste management customers pay by the dumpster load, regardless of weight, the provider pays to dump the waste by the pound, so if a customer has very heavy dumpsters, they become unprofitable.
Armed with so much new data, waste management companies were able to identify unprofitable customers and stop doing business with them, eliminating inefficiency and increasing net profit. The heavy competition in waste management also led competitors with less access to vital data to snap up those customers, further increasing the competitive advantage for those who subscribed to this product.
With Blueprint’s help, this manufacturer modernized its data infrastructure and tremendously reduced the time required to analyze data. More importantly, they recognized the value of ingesting, aggregating and analyzing that data at speed and offering it to customers as a product that returned value almost instantly. This work further cemented the manufacturer as a global leader in onboard truck scales while establishing it as a cutting-edge provider of valuable real-time data for customers and a tech company in its own right.