Alan McCraney, Director of Business Intelligence
Department: Business Intelligence
Region: North America
hours/week saved on reporting tasks
hours to enter reporting info => Cut down 3 days of consolidated reporting
departments now running custom reporting
to set up the Alteryx Platform
“Everything we do here at Montgomery Transport involves data,” says Alan McCraney. “Every team across the organization is broadly affected by it. That being said, the industry, as a whole, is very slow to take action to drive change using data.” McCraney is the director of business intelligence at Montgomery Transport, a nationwide, leading flatbed carrier specializing in over-length hauls.
“When I arrived here, the data management systems were unable to communicate with each other. There was only one analyst using Tableau, but he was unable to schedule out any reports which meant he had to spend most of his time compiling data to feed Tableau,” McCraney says. “So, reports on truck driver metrics weren’t matching up, payroll spreadsheets were unorganized, and closing for month-end was very time consuming.” McCraney chuckles as he continues, “On a scale of one to ten of how the data was managed, we were at a three.”
“Our company runs a large amount of processes through reporting data that was entered by multiple departments through VLookups in Excel. Manual entry and reporting can lead to discrepancies and is also tremendously time consuming. My ideal solution was technology that was easy to set up and effective at driving change quickly. It could free up time for me and my team, and publish to Tableau Server so that our executive team could get easy access to insights.”
My ideal solution was technology that was easy to set up and effective at driving change quickly. ... It could free up time for my team and me and publish to Tableau Server so that our executive team could get easy access to insights.
Prior to joining Montgomery Transport, McCraney had used Alteryx for just over three years. “I had heard about it by doing a simple internet search. I downloaded a free trial and the rest is history. What stood out to me about the platform was its ease of use, the ability to schedule email ad-hoc reports on an automated basis, and that I could run workflows to provide reporting capabilities for multiple teams.
“I put together a presentation for my boss demonstrating its abilities and what my vision was for integrating it into our systems. He was hooked, and after putting together a plan for it, we had it all up and running in a matter of days.”
McCraney notes that the company has saved a tremendous amount of time and inconvenience when it comes to cutting down time on reporting and time-consuming tasks. “We have several Designer licenses to use across departments to make things easier,” McCraney states. “We’ve set up automated billing for accounting, reporting for our fleet maintenance server, custom invoicing for our customers to speed up time to closing sales, and we cut down three days on closing for consolidated reporting. Those reports used to take 30–40 dedicated hours.
Easy to set up and effective at driving change quickly
Scheduled and automated ad-hoc email reports + workflows that provide insights to multiple teams
Powerful advanced analytics capable of solving complex business problems
“The impact on the organization has been awesome. It’s prevented me from having to hire two analyst positions on my team, and it’s saved me 100 hours a week on reporting tasks. I also know that it’s saved the accounting team over 200 hours a week on their own tasks. That’s been a huge breath of fresh air and has made everything run more efficiently. It’s like having those two analysts crunching numbers constantly without the need to write code.”
Communicating his newfound powers to his boss has been no sweat for McCraney. Laughing, McCraney explains, “Now that he (McCraney’s boss) gets it, his mind is constantly exploding with new ideas of what we can do in Alteryx.”
Even the larger organization has embraced the value of a data-driven culture. “There hasn’t been a question we haven’t found an answer to within the Platform, and if not, we get pretty darn close to it, so it’s great to have a single source of truth,” McCraney says. “I think we have been able to change our organization’s mindset now that we are able to solve problems with greater efficiency. It is a huge change culturally for us.”
There hasn’t been a question we haven’t found an answer to within the Platform, and if not, we get pretty darn close to it, so it’s great to have a single source of truth.
So what’s next? “The next step for us is to use the Platform for predictive analytics for things like fuel pricing, volume, and predicting truck driver numbers for each year. The biggest task we hope to solve will be to gauge driver turnover since it is a consistent issue across our industry.”
Even with his accomplishments, McCraney still recognizes that he’s fighting an uphill battle in harnessing data to impact cultural change. “Transportation still has an old-school way of thinking,” he says. “Implementing Alteryx has helped our thought process on how we do things going forward, and it helps us become more profitable by displaying consumable insights with ease.”