Boosting the Bottom Line: 3 Ways Data Can Drive Profit for Manufacturers

In this episode, we talk with Mike Wertheim from Hayward Industries. Mike shares how Hayward is using data to boost the company’s bottom line and outlines his team’s top priorities for 2020. 

3:41: 3 Ways Data Can Drive Profits

Mike: Data is important to everybody. For Hayward, we are a manufacturing company and it comes down to the bottom line. We use data for everything and yes we use it to determine how our company’s doing, but we need to do more than that. We need to drive profits and really grow the business. So, I’ll give you three ideas of some things that make data very important to [us]. 

We are a big company that’s in a mature market. The swimming pool industry has been around a long time. And the way to grow in that market is through acquisition. And when you acquire a company and there’s a different set of data, there’s a lot of problems. 

The other thing is we are definitely trying to compete — We have traditionally been a B2B company — and we’re trying to compete in this age of online purchasing and there are so many channels that people buy their products from. And to do that, we’ve really got to go deeper and reach out to the actual consumers when possible. 

The last thing is technology. We have several opportunities to utilize newer technologies. Iot, everybody knows Internet of Things is a big thing, but we’re trying to do more than just make the next great product. We’re trying to gather the data that’s going to help us make business decisions, grow business and use those smart devices for our business intelligence.

6:13: Mergers, Acquisitions, and Master Data Management

Mike: I’ve been with the company 5 years and [during that time] we have acquired 5 different companies. So that gives us a major focus on things like master data management, where we’ve got to all be talking the same language. 

Of course, the first thing when we acquire a company, we’ve got to get some basic data. We’ve got to know their sales, we’ve got to know their products, we’ve got to report that all the way up to the highest level and up to private equity. But I mean there’s so many things. Our strategies are varied…You’ve got to try to reduce the data sources when possible. We’ve got to take a corporate approach to straighten that out.

9:47: B2B2C

Mike: Hayward was always a traditional B2B company and we focused on selling products through a distribution channel. But we’re so blind when it comes to selling our products through the distribution channel. So now in conjunction with our distributors, we are actually collecting data about the products that they sell to their customers. That data is so valuable. It’s probably the number one thing that our executives are looking for. What are they buying, why are they buying it? What aren’t they buying? If you don’t have that visibility, um, that’s tough. And then the other thing is you want to figure out how to reach out to consumers. We’re never going to sell directly to consumers, but we’ve got to drive that consumer demand. And there are different ways of doing it. You mentioned before that B2B2C, we are exploring opportunities to offer things to consumers that will drive them to our dealers. And you know, that’s really critical.

15:16: How IoT is Driving Service and Product Development

Mike: We have a chemical monitoring system, a floating connected device that monitors chemical levels, pool temperature… and reports back data. The consumers have an app where they can see what’s going on and that’s great. They can share that information with servicers and servicers can see… “oh, you’re having consistent problems. Maybe I should come out and help you out.”  

Now the other thing we do with these chemical monitors is we actually sell chemicals in what you would think of as pods, like Tide pods. And they’re actually color-coded so you don’t even have to know what they are. So your connected device tells you, “oh, you’ve got an issue. Please drop in two blue, three green and a red into your pool and that will fix your problems.” So, we’re connecting on the service side, and we’re connecting on the consumable side. 

19:56: E-commerce for Manufacturing

Mike: This is a big shift, but I don’t know anybody in manufacturing that is not trying to figure out how to get closer to that consumer. So everybody is fearful of selling directly to consumers. We don’t want to compete with our dealers, we don’t want to compete with our distributors. So how do we get close? And one of the strategies that we’re looking to implement selling services. We’re going to sell services directly to consumers, and [deliver those services through our dealers.]

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