Manufacturer, Watts Water analyzes 25 million transactions per year

Watts Water Technologies is a global manufacturer of plumbing, heating, and water quality products. The strategic pricing team went from struggling to understand data from 25 million yearly transactions with Excel to, today, gaining insight “in 30 seconds” with help from Tableau. In this video, director of strategic pricing Kris Munson discusses how Tableau is “an absolutely huge time saver.”

Watts Water Technologies manufactures plumbing, heating, and water quality solutions. The publicly-traded company generated revenue of nearly 1.5 billion dollars in 2013 and operates in 40 locations across the world.

In video 1, Kris Munson, Director of Strategic Pricing talks about life prior to Tableau.

At that time, his team was:

  • Analyzing data from 25 million transactions each year
  • Struggling to gain insight with Excel

The team implemented Tableau and brought in some help from Tableau partner, Slalom Consulting.
Today, the team is:

  • Seeing the story of the data in “a matter of 30 seconds”
  • Sharing dashboards to mobile devices like iPads for insight on-the-go
  • Finding answers to questions that they previously wouldn't have known to ask.

In video 2, Kris talks about deploying Tableau Server implementation went.
The company needed to:

  • Ensure various departments could see only their own data
  • Get up to speed quickly

After bringing in some help from Tableau Consulting’s Server Rapid Start, Watts Water Technologies:

  • Set up appropriate data access for members of different departments
  • Completed access project so quickly that the team was able to do “bonus” training with extra time

Dynamic channel management

Tableau: What would you say to someone considering Tableau?
Kris Munson, director of strategic pricing: If a friend of mine was considering buying Tableau for their business, what would I say? I would say, "Why are you waiting? Why haven't you done it?" You're gonna ask yourself, "How have I ever lived without this?"

Tableau: Tell me a little about Watts Water.
Kris: Watts Water is a global manufacturer of water products. We're a $1.5-billion company. We have 40 locations approximately around the globe. We primarily go to market through authorized agents. So we have roughly 50 to 60 agents around the country who work on our behalf.

And with those agents, we have territory pricing where we're able to respond to competitive situations.

Tableau: How did you handle data before Tableau?
Kris: We did some of it in Excel, and you end up just looking at rows and rows and columns of data, and you go blind and you can't really gather any insight from it.

Tableau: And now?

It's so dynamic that you can just change stuff on the fly that you find yourself asking questions and finding answers to stuff that you never even thought about.

Kris: With Slalom's help, we were able to build a new dashboard that will dynamically calculate price realization across all of our markets and channels on the fly.

And so you can no go in, change the timeframe or change the channel or change our source system and in a matter of 30 seconds, it's able to go through the 25 million transactions that we do a year and calculate our price realization for us.

So it's been an absolutely huge time saver. And with that, we were able to take that report and deploy it on Tableau Mobile so that now my boss is able to run that report from his iPad when he's up at his cabin in Maine on the weekend.

It's so dynamic that you can just change stuff on the fly that you find yourself asking questions and finding answers to stuff that you never even thought about.

Maintaining separate data for different departments

Tableau: What specific needs led you to Tableau?
Kris: When we installed Server this year, we had a couple different needs for it. One of 'em was my need that I needed to be able to build some pricing reports and dashboards for myself and my team and my boss to be able to review.

And then we had this other need for product management where they just wanted to be able to kind of do stuff with Desktop and publish some of their own reports, but we didn't really want any cross-contamination between the two.

Tableau: Why not?
Kris: The work that we do on price realization, they don't need to see it. I don't want them messing around with my data source. When we set up the server, we actually used Tableau Consulting to come in and help us do the server setup and the quick start. And part of that was setting up different sites on the server.

So we have a pricing site and a marketing site, and they're separate, and we're able to use the Tableau Server Active Directory integration to, you know, automatically load people in and keep everyone where they should be, and it's worked out great.

And he and my analysts were able to really work through it in a pretty quick time frame and it actually left us with enough time that he was able to do some hands-on training with our entire product management staff to show them a couple of best practices in Tableau, but then also how to use desktop to connect to server.

We already had our data source published out there, and they were immediately able to start crafting reports. And they thought it was fantastic.

Tableau: Have you been supported by management with regards to Tableau?
Kris: Yeah, so my boss that I have, he is a former finance guy that is now in charge of product management, pricing, and a whole bunch of other things for the organization.

And he has absolutely fallen in love with the product, the insights that we're able to gather coupled with the speed is just amazing.

Tableau: What was the issue?
Kris: We had a tough problem with a price realization report that I needed that I knew that we didn't have the knowledge to do in house yet.

So we engaged with Slalom. We've had them in house working on some other software stuff, so we decided to give their Tableau practice a try. And the relationship has worked out great. We had one of their developers that was on site at my office for I think Jason was there eight weeks. Worked closely with myself and my senior analyst and my boss to get the report developed. And it's been great.

Earlier this year we got ten licenses and bought Server and deployed Server so we could have a little bit of data governance. And we turned product management onto it.

Tableau: Can you share another Tableau story?
Kris: So last week before I came out here, I was talking to one of the product managers and she tells me, "Chris, I came in at 8:15 this morning and had something that I needed to look up." And she goes, "And so I fired up Tableau and I kind of know what I'm doing in there now." And she goes, "And I started working on that, got that question, and that question led to another question, which led to something else."

And she goes, "And before I knew it, I looked up and it was noon and I had spent four hours working on there and it felt like ten minutes because the product is so much fun and so easy to use."

Tableau: How else has Tableau changed your work?
Kris: I come from a company that, you know, if you took Excel away from us, everything would grind to a halt. And now with this, I find myself using Excel, you know, less and less. It's just — there's so much power in this — in this software, it's so easy to see insights into your data that you otherwise couldn't.

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