How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?
CHEP is a leading pallet pooling company, moving over 330 million platforms which are constantly shared and reused by producers and distributors across the world in a circular model. This model makes data analytics one of our strategic initiatives that runs through our programmes as an enabler.
We are working on data literacy to ensure everyone in the organisation has a common understanding of what data is and how it can transform us. One example of this is using advanced data analytics to support the efficiency and productivity of our assets. This supports both our business and sustainability objectives.
2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?
First, I moved organisations in 2020. My previous role was within travel and, due to the unprecedented impact on leisure and corporate travel, I decided to look for a change in industry. I started my role during lockdown, and this had a huge impact on how I built relationships and learnt about the organisation. Just as most people did, I quickly adapted my ways of working and tried to stay positive in what was a challenging time.
Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?
I see data and analytics playing a big part in CHEP’s future. We are currently sitting on a wealth of existing data and starting to collect and store new internet of things data. Combining this with our plans around data enablement and literacy, I see a really exciting future.
Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?
Data is crucial to our whole business agenda, and, more specifically, to improving the productivity of our assets. Understanding the flow of our pallets will not only help us avoid unnecessary losses but will also allow us to provide a more efficient service and more complete insights to our customers. Essentially this means supporting both our business goals and the environment.
What has been your path to power?
I started my data career as a business intelligence developer and quickly became interested in how organisations could use data to push their goals and strategy. I had an in-depth technical understanding, but lacked the knowledge of how businesses worked and how business strategies were developed. I decided that this was an area of focus and started to bridge the gap. This change in personal focus was mirrored by my change in reporting line – moving from reporting into the CTO to eventually the COO.
Having this combined technical and business understanding has allowed me to work with a range of stakeholders in design and developing data strategies that have value and growth at their heart.
Most recently, I’ve focused on treating data as a product and worked with several executives on positioning data, analytics and data science as a product – rather than a function. This is a game-changing approach to realising the value in data and supporting data literacy.
What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?
I’m incredibly proud that I’ve managed to create a data meet-up community up here in the North West. This has now evolved into a podcast that I record with a good friend of mine on a monthly basis. Being part of the community is important for me and it’s great to hear how the community and podcast has helped our members. One thing that really strikes home about data is that everyone faces the same challenges – we are all just at different parts in our journey.
What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?
I believe data literacy needs to be incorporated into the way an organisation operates, rather than being a standalone initiative. This way it becomes a natural process and something that organically becomes a part of the culture. This will have profound results and benefits if done right.