Nike manages data to provide more opportunities for strategic thinking
by Mary Lou Jay – Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association
Facility managers struggling with tight budgets may be reluctant to add another position to their payrolls. But the FM team at Nike has found that bringing an analyst into their department has yielded an outstanding ROI. During the two years that Christine Hinzmann has held the Facilities Analyst position, she has enabled them to not only better leverage the data from the ServiceChannel platform they use but also to use the collected data more efficiently and effectively. “A few years ago I saw a real need to add an analyst to our department because our store count was growing, increasing the data we needed to analyze to make informed decisions,” said Walter Fuller, Nike’s Senior Facilities Manager. “There’s so much information. The facilities managers and I were so busy doing the keeping-the-lights-on work that we really didn’t have time to break away and to focus on that information. Plus, we didn’t have the skill set of an analyst.”
As the FM data analyst, Hinzmann has been able to extrapolate the company’s raw data from ServiceChannel and transform it into reports and analyses that provide the managers with valuable insights. She uses a variety of formats (often pivot tables) that enable them to manipulate the data and uncover problems and possibilities within the department’s operations. “The data that Christine has been sending us allows us to find the root causes of certain issues and address them quicker and better, and it allows us to think in a strategic, forward- thinking mindset,” said Shawn Browning, Territory Facility Manager. “Instead of reacting to every repair, we are now able to be more proactive and find an issue before it becomes repetitive or before it causes a problem.”
Data helps the department make better decisions. Hinzmann and Brian Peoples, Nike’s other territory facility manager, developed a report on janitorial costs, breaking the information down into spend per store and per frequency. “We then used pivot tables to look at several what-if scenarios,” said Browning. “For example, if we had to adjust our budget for janitorial spend by adjusting the frequencies for over 230 stores, what would that look like from an overall budgetary standpoint? With the pivot tables, we could quickly adjust frequencies based on a certain number of stores, thereby adjusting the cost and quickly giving us an end result on a budget number. It made it very simple and very analytic.”
[ezcol_1third]“We’re finding that our vendors’ scorecards are getting better because our strategic partners are trying new things.”
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. That’s what Christine brings to the team: the ability for us to manage our resources because we have the opportunity to analyze a trend,” said Fuller.
One area in which Hinzmann’s analyses have helped achieve outstanding results is vendor performance. Using data from the system, Nike developed a scorecard to rate its strategic partners on a scale of 1 to 100 using five different variables.
|PROVIEW CONVERTS DATA INTO INSIGHTS|
“We have seen a quarter-over-quarter improvement in our strategic partner’s scores, and we’ve seen more ownership on their end to strive for higher and higher success on the items that we measure,” said Fuller. “That has been a real success story; our vendors love having this conversation about their performance and really being able to highlight what they’ve done and show the steps they’re taking to get better and better to meet our measurements.” Some vendors have even begun using a similar approach with their own subcontractors to spur improvements further down the line.
The department couldn’t achieve these results without the data to back it up. “The data that we share drives the conversation, but the conversation drives the ideas and the innovation and the inspiration to experiment and try different ways of doing something,” said Hinzmann. “We’re finding that our vendors’ scorecards are getting better because our strategic partners are trying new things. But we never knew that these situations existed until we collected the data and organized it in such a way that it started making sense.”
Cleaner Data, Better Results
Hinzmann has no background in facilities management—it’s not necessary for her job, she said — but does have “a love and a passion for data.” She partners with the other members of the facilities management team to determine what reports are necessary. She may get an idea for a report or an analysis while looking at a spreadsheet, or a facilities manager may want to study some trend and ask her to pull data on a particular topic or a certain store.
In addition to her analyst responsibilities, Hinzmann serves as Nike’s ServiceChannel Administrator.
“There’s a lot of data flowing in and out and you run into problems when nobody is paying attention to the data- base mechanics,” she said. Reports are not reliable unless they are generated from good data, so someone must be in charge of scrubbing the database to keep it updated with information about added or deleted stores, vendors hired or replaced, etc.
Before Hinzmann came on board, Nike was using about 50 percent of the ServiceChannel capabilities. Now that number is close to 100 percent, according to Fuller. Hinzmann and the ServiceChannel account manager have developed an excellent working relation- ship that allows Nike to benefit from new modules and extra features. “You need somebody who is solely focused on the data and the administration of the data to take advantage of all of that,” Hinzmann said.
“The perfect balance for a FM department comes when you have a clean database, a person who is doing the administration of that database and finding new and interesting ways to look at and present data, and a facilities manager who can rely on the data and act on it.”
Analysis Makes the Case
Fuller said that an FM department that wants to hire a data analyst should gain the support of upper management. They were fortunate because Nike managers realized from the start the need for that position within their facilities management team.
“We are a very successful department in many ways and they wanted us to be able to tell the story analytically so that people would understand it,” said Fuller.
That’s important at a time when many FM departments are being outsourced. “It’s a big concern for our industry today. Setting up credibility with leadership is essential to success, whether that’s with the finance team or the operations team, the general managers or the VPs,” said Browning. Having a data analyst on board has allowed Nike’s FM department to provide reports with relevant information and formats suited to each audience, from dashboard visual displays to budget spreadsheets to charts and graphs.
“Being able to tailor these reports and to know your audience better enhances the FM team, keeps our credibility at a high level and lowers the chance of us ever being outsourced,” Browning added. “It’s a very symbiotic, extremely strong relationship that has allowed us to elevate our game.”
“Having these capabilities allows us to continue to show our value through analytics,” said Fuller.