Kaho Musen delivers insights in minutes instead of weeks with Tableau and cloud databases


Kaho Musen runs a home center chain called "Home Center GooDay" with 63 stores mainly in northern Kyushu, Japan.

The company’s Executive Vice President, Mr. Takashi Yanase, wanted his teams to use the company’s point of sale (POS) data to guide better decisions. From hypothesis testing to identifying issues and communicating with branch managers, Mr. Yanase knew better access to data was crucial. But using Excel to analyze such huge quantities of data was nearly impossible, and writing custom code took up to 3 weeks.

After trying several different business intelligence technologies, the team decided on a solution of Tableau on top of AWS. Employees across Systems, Project Management, and buyers in the Sales department all use Tableau to quickly query up to 160GB of data. Employees use Tableau Desktop to author visual analyses, then publish to Tableau Server where others can access and interact with published visualizations.

Today, Mr. Yanase estimates that analysis takes “1/100th” the time it took before—and the company is enjoying a renewed commitment to informing decisions with data.

Tableau actually motivated me to proceed with my work based on data. Our new management policy is to gather data that we didn't before and to analyze them using Tableau. I believe that was the biggest change that this tool has brought us.

Tableau: What does your job involve?
Takashi Yanase, Executive Vice President: I am a vice president of a retailer of home improvement products called GooDay that has 63 branches mostly in north Kyushu area. My main job is to analyze data and that is on sales and expenses.

Tableau: Was there a particular problem you were facing?
Mr. Yanase: Since we are in retail, we had a lot of point of sale (POS) data, but we were not able to utilize it. We wanted to somehow be able to use the data for analysis.

Tableau: How has Tableau changed things?
Mr. Yanase: The time it takes for us to get an insight is significantly shortened. I used to use Excel for all this and it took forever to complete my tasks, but it feels like the time shrank to about one hundredth by using Tableau.

Tableau: What does Tableau allow you to do?
Mr. Yanase: It's been a challenge for me to share the figures with branch managers whenever I visit our store. However, by showing them the graphs and the figures through this tool, the communication has become much smoother. And now, since we can tell where the problems are, we are able to take appropriate measures for them.

Before, we weren't able to effectively utilize the data as the data was just too big. However, Tableau lets us clarify our target and allows us to visually analyze it, so the analysis takes much less time and our hypothesis testing in the stores is much, much easier now to perform.

It used to take me about 2 to 3 weeks to write a program, but by using Tableau's Business Dashboard, it now takes me only few minutes to create a report, and it is much easier to perform daily analyses.

Tableau: How has Tableau impacted you personally?
Mr. Yanase: It actually motivated me to proceed with my work based on data. Our new management policy is to gather data that we didn't before and to analyze them using Tableau. I believe that was the biggest change that this tool has brought us.

Tableau: What encouraged you and your organization to check out Tableau?
Mr. Yanase: We started trying out different tools after receiving a suggestion from our System department to review the data analysis methods within the company. Among all of the tools we've tried, we felt that Tableau was the easiest to use and it took the least time to complete tasks...and so this is what we currently use.

It is mainly the System department and Project Management department that use this. Buyers in the Sales department also use this.

Tableau: Tell us more about your data sources and storage.
Mr. Yanase: We now use the POS data from the register and "blend" the product data and the information from our suppliers.

We used to use the local database by Oracle, but recently we use services by AWS. We handle about 160GB of data in terms of size.

Tableau: What are the most important benefits for you from Tableau Server?
Mr. Yanase: What's convenient about Tableau Server is that it creates a workflow where a well-informed person can prepare a graph on his own Tableau Desktop and share it with others via the Server with a few simple steps, and this makes everything extremely easier.

Tableau: What’s next for your company and Tableau?
Mr. Yanase: We want to increase the number of people who can analyze data through Tableau, and train more people with data-driven mindset.

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