Nasco Healthcare is a global leader in manufacturing for medical simulation. For over 80 years, their products have helped frontline healthcare workers save and improve lives.
In 2020, Nasco CEO Ken Miller noticed that messy data and outdated techniques were interfering with the accuracy of foundational company-wide initiatives. The stakes were high—Nasco handles millions of dollars of open orders on any given day.
Miller teamed up with Stratus Data to upgrade Nasco to a data-driven organization. The partnership, he says, has “transformed the performance and future of our company.”
Initially, Nasco grappled with their data and business in a few notable ways:
- Skewed product mix. Only 120 of 8,000+ SKUs made up the top 50% of revenue.
- Messy data. For much of its history, Nasco was a family-run business, with limited investment in tools, systems, and processes. Employees entered and edited data without a standard procedure.
- Overlapping databases. After a merger, different sites continued to operate independently, with separate portfolios. Duplicate SKUs occurred across portfolios, but were named inconsistently, and difficult to detect.
- Manual reporting. Sales reporting was done ad-hoc and manually, with limited visibility into what was sold, to who, and when.
Miller interviewed 4-5 Data Science teams. “I gravitated to Stratus,” he says, “because they’re as smart as a whip. I was incredibly impressed by their understanding of data. And they were quick learners.”
Project 1: Portfolio cleanup & SKU rationalization
Automated product-naming system enables CEO to fully analyze full product line
Miller was trying to make plans for the next year. But he found that any truthful analysis of his portfolio was obscured by thousands of dead SKUs. Out of 8,000 products, only a handful were really earning money. How could he determine which to cut?
At this time, Miller had just hired Stratus Data. Founding Partner Charles Pensig stepped in to work 1:1 with Miller. They started by naming the highest earning 50% of products using Group and Family. They expanded to 80%, and then 100%. Pensig describes, at each phase, “melding what was in Miller’s head to mine, and then melding mine to a computer.”
Miller came away with a computerized system for naming products. It provided the necessary organization for him to cut 4,000 SKUs out of his portfolio, enabling an increase in growth margin profile.
Project 2: Automated sales dashboards and reports
Dashboards unlock company-wide data transparency, setting off significant year-over-year growth
The success of the first project gave Stratus Data credibility across Nasco’s stakeholders. “I turned Stratus loose,” says Miller, “and since then, they’ve become like part of our own team.”
Clean, organized data opened the doors to the world of data-driven competition. The immediate opportunity: automated reports and sales dashboards for the C-Suite and Sales Team. Equipped with these tools, Nasco employees could make educated suggestions based on customers’ past behavior, as well as the behavior of regional peers.
Automation saw two consecutive years of significant revenue growth for Nasco. Even before these numbers came out, internal engagement soared. The Sales Team could visualize performance real-time. What are customers waiting on? What can we provide to support them better? What does this mean for my own paycheck? Teammates were newly excited about their work. “These are results you can’t put a number on,” says Miller.