Simplifying Supply Chains

Jason Ziegler MacGregor
Jason Ziegler

MacGregor PartnersMacGregor Partners is not a typical supply chain technology provider. The North Carolina based company was created with the mission to provide the JDA/RedPrairie community with a different kind of implementation partner – a customer-centric firm willing to do whatever it took to ensure successful warehouse management system (WMS) deployments, focused on the long-term sustainability of the solution. While MacGregor quickly cemented themselves as one of the preeminent JDA integrators, their interest in big picture technology needs across the supply chain is what set them apart from their competition. Their customer base, which spans the largest manufacturers, retailers, and third-party logistics providers across all industries, gave them a front row seat to the supply chain challenges that were not being adequately addressed by the software offerings available in the market. MacGregor saw these unmet market needs as an opportunity to provide tremendous value to customers by unlocking new levels of supply chain excellence. The most pressing need they focused on was rapid access to data, documents, and information across organizational systems to streamline workflows and processes in order to enable faster, smarter decisions across the enterprise.

Founded in 2012, MacGregor quickly catapulted to the ranks of the fastest growing companies in the country and now employs over 70 full-time associates. These associates span a dedicated on-shore support team, implementation partnerships with multiple automation and autonomous mobile robot (AMR) vendors, a holistic supply chain consulting group, three SaaS products developed by an internal team of supply chain software veterans, and a WMS consultancy that supports multiple WMS vendors.

“We continue to iterate and evolve as an organization each day. Not only because we are a team of inquisitive problem solvers at our core, but also because our client base demands that evolution. When an existing customer comes to us with a problem they can’t solve via the existing market, especially one that will move the needle for them, they effectively stoke the competitive fire in our organization to create a new and creative solution. The output of these relationships and engagements are unique solutions and intellectual property, along with a diverse and capable team able to provide more value in subsequent engagements,” states MacGregor’s president and founder, Jason Ziegler.

This ability to solve client problems, eliminate risk, and shape their clients’ business was the catalyst for their explosive growth. MacGregor is a two-time Inc. 5000 honoree for the fastest growing private organizations across America, as well as a proud recipient of multiple HR and “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” awards. While growth is a blessing, at this level, it hasn’t been easy.

“While our 50%+ growth each year can pose challenges organizationally, the continued growth is validation that we have a unique set of offerings that resonate with our clients. Our commitment to our customers is that we will improve each day and that they can continue to look to MacGregor for solutions to their Supply Chain technology challenges,” says Ziegler.

Listen to Ziegler and others at MacGregor talk about analytics or supply chain data and you instantly feel the passion the organization has for the value their flagship analytics platform, Toolbox, brings to clients.

“The decision to build a comprehensive analytics solution catered to supply chain was easy for our leadership team. We looked across our customer base, the largest manufacturers, retailers, and 3PLs, and saw them struggle to get their arms around their increasingly disparate and critical supply chain network data. If these billion dollar organizations found it challenging to identify and deploy a scalable, flexible, agile, and comprehensive solution to solve the visibility needs across their supply chain network, there was clearly an opportunity,” states Ziegler.

MacGregor knew their customer base had great reporting solutions that were fragmented across different systems, but nothing that extended across the entire technology landscape. They built Toolbox to seamlessly gather and harmonize network-wide supply chain data across systems, store that data in a single repository, and drive predictive alerts, signals, and behavior change throughout the enterprise. They believe Toolbox is the solution to rationalize and interpret data across a global 3PL, as well as the largest manufacturers operating multiple systems and a combination of 3PL across their network.

“When we deploy Toolbox, the only limit to the value it provides is our customer’s imagination, creativity, and desire to shape the future of their analytic landscape. To help them reach their goals, we discuss visualization in three discrete levels. The first level contains simple dashboards that show customers where they are today, but don’t drive any correlation or causation. These are quick to implement and provide quick ROI. The second level takes another step up the proverbial analytic staircase by pulling data from disparate systems into a more cohesive story that shows correlation and causation between events, driving action to resolve the root cause. The final level is where prediction takes hold and our customers are notified about the certainty of events taking place before they occur. This is also where AI and Machine Learning can be used for pattern recognition, ” adds Ziegler.

As part of their Toolbox deployments, MacGregor also focuses heavily on domain expertise and an agile, iterative delivery process. Mr. Ziegler recounted a story where MacGregor presented at a supply chain conference to about 150 Vice Presidents of the supply chain. They asked the group how many in attendance had a supply chain analytics program. Every hand went up. They then asked those hands to remain in the air if the organization was happy with the value of the analytics provided. Only one hand remained in the air. The reason for this wasn’t for lack of investment in high-dollar visualization components, contends MacGregor, but rather the domain expertise and process necessary to pull the disparate data and weave it together accurately. That domain expertise difference, argues MacGregor, is the missing link that separates successful analytics deployments from the rest.

“Compared to the typical big box solutions, like Tableau and PowerBI, Toolbox provides our customers with a cheaper and faster alternative to reach their supply chain analytics goals. The combination of MacGregor’s deep domain expertise, a process that couples financial ROI with every visualization, and a turnkey platform that can pass its normalized data to an enterprise data lake, is what allows Toolbox to provide immense value and a huge headstart to an organization on their supply chain analytics journey, while fitting neatly into an existing corporate analytics strategy,” states Ziegler.

Another MacGregor SaaS solution, Folio, addresses a different visibility and efficiency problem. Visit any manufacturing facility, distribution center, or transportation team. What is one common thread? Paper. Mountains of paper. As MacGregor began to explore paper and its hidden costs and imposed friction across the supply chain, it left an indelible impression on the leadership team when they realized paper’s far-reaching impact on an enterprise. Customers, partners, and vendors are constantly asking for visibility, access, and information on their paperwork. The operations team at each facility spends countless man hours, managing, filing, transferring, touching, and dealing with paper. The majority of this effort and time provides little to no value to businesses. MacGregor created Folio, the first supply chain document automation platform, to streamline every paper-based workflow across the supply chain, provide complete visibility across internal and external stakeholders, reduce wasted labor, and eliminate the risk of lost or damaged documents.

“Folio’s proprietary workflow automation engine is where our customers see the most value and opportunity to leverage the platform across their enterprise. We have several customers at or near seven-figure annual savings. The fusion of the typically disparate Document Management and Document Automation software platforms, is what makes Folio the future of paper management,” states Ziegler.

When it comes to the potential savings Folio generates, they have an ROI calculator that takes several inputs around the paper, labor costs, and time. The savings on this calculator become highly impactful at scale. As evidence, they have deployed the solution with several Fortune 250 organizations and one of these customers is on pace for seven-figure annual savings in labor and storage costs across their North American distribution network, not to mention their improved customer experience through self-service document visibility. Further evidence of Folio’s power and flexibility as a document automation platform is that sales have expanded into dealerships and investment firms, as well as HR, finance, and other business functions.

“At MacGregor, we see the advent of new, lightweight, and highly specialized technology and software packages as the future of the supply chain. Monolithic software packages and platforms don’t provide the level of speed, flexibility, and tailored solutions necessary to compete in today’s business climate. Our clients can continue to look to us to identify, build, and deliver these transformative supply chain solutions,” commits Ziegler.