Story 1
One often hears the statement: “We know that we are making a profit on half of our portfolio, but we cannot say for sure, which half.”

A leading Dairy company faced this problem. Whilst it was making a significant (65%!) Raw Material Margin, all profit was lost in Production, Distribution and General Admin overheads, resulting in a negative Trading Profit. The client needed insight into where the profit was being lost and how things could be turned around going forward.

DataSpank was brought in to extract, clean and align the last 5 years of SAP data and to allocate the big buckets of overheads down to an item level. Where there were errors in classification of products or bills of material on the ERP system, corrections and reallocations were made on the extracted data. This allowed for a more accurate view of reality over time. Using the clean data, we then built a user friendly Tool, allowing us to analyse down to the lowest level of profitability in order to extract insights and actions. An example of one of the outputs was a much more accurate P&L for every product item, for comparative purposes.

Together with the client, we ran and explored several scenarios. By analyzing each of these, they were able to make informed decisions related to product rationalization, gain a different view on the innovation pipeline and realise improved profitability.

And jobs were saved. This made us at DataSpank very happy.
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Story 2
DataSpank loves new startups, particularly those that have a positive impact on the environment and have the potential to generate jobs.

The DataSpank team was introduced to a Chemical Engineering PhD student who developed a concept that involved the conversion of farm waste, that is toxic to the environment, into a valuable product.

A Business Case was needed in order to motivate potential investors and ultimately customers.

Our team conducted an initial top line analysis, showing the size of the potential prize – i.e. number of potential consumers, volume, value and bottom line profit. This was used to secure additional funding and bring the product to market.

DataSpank is always keen to support similar, initially small startups to enable them to grow, thereby complimenting the quest to create more jobs.
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Story 3
The South African Textile Industry suffered major declines over many years for numerous reasons, amongst these being the escalation of imports, lack of focus on areas where the greatest opportunities lie, supply chain and operational issues, as well as a lack of focus on the development of skills. The relentless bottom up approach of a Supply Chain driven strategy did not seem to be working.

This resulted in the formation of a cluster, with all involved parties sharing the purpose of creating a Sustainable Strategy for the Textile and Apparel Industry in Southern Africa. The cluster included Retailers, Suppliers, and many other players involved in the industry. The primary objective of the Cluster was local job creation and sustainable economic growth.

The Sustainable Cotton Cluster (SCC) project was funded by the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) and both the IDC and the DTi (Department of Trade and Industry) were key sponsors on this project, to our client TMG – (The Moss Group).

As part of the project, DataSpank was approached to answer the following question: Can you quantify the demand for Textile product in Southern Africa? In hindsight, the easy answer was “No!”, but we obviously said “Yes!” and then found a way to answer this question. This included the quantification of how many items were required by:
1. Various Governmental divisions (e.g. Police, Defence Force, Navy, Correctional Services, Department of Health, etc.)
2. Several Industries (e.g. Construction, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Hospitality, etc.)
3. Retail demand by Consumer Demographic group, Gender, Age, etc.

DataSpank developed a Textile Volume Demand Tool that quantified the demand for Textile products in South Africa by sector, division, category and item. And given certain assumptions around fabric composition, we were able to quantify the implications across each step of the value chain.

The Textile Volume Demand Tool also enabled us to develop a point of view on demand, ten years into the future. A scenario planning facility was also built, enabling the project team to calculate various size of prize opportunities, based on a specific set of assumptions. For example, using the Textile Volume Demand Tool (TVDT), The Moss Group were able to inform the Textile Industry on Strategy and to quantify the opportunity for key retailers to purchase locally, whilst at the same time giving clarity on the impact on local value chains and job creation opportunities.

The implementation of the Strategy is underway and we, at DataSpank, are excited about continuing to support our Client and the Textile Industry on this exciting turnaround journey.
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Story 4
As it happens, through word of mouth, DataSpank was approached by a Wealth Management startup company, to create a Tool that allowed them to capture and analyse data gathered through conversations with any new client.

The aim was to build a Tool that was based on their own methodology and the process that they followed with their clients. We took on the challenge and built a Tool for them, to analyse and improve their clients’ portfolios and grow their wealth to new heights. We did this by tapping into their years of experience in Financial Services and their uniquely developed methodology.

“Wealth Management?”, you might ask. In our defence, it was a bit like a dare. It was like facing and conquering one’s innate fear of CA’s and Actuaries. Let’s face it, they can be scary.

The great news is that DataSpank loves these guys. And they love us. Our tool has enabled them to quickly move from raw data to insights and actions. This makes their time spent with clients far more effective and apart from dazzling their clients, time is saved, freeing them up to spend more time on growing their clients’ wealth.
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Story 5
Whilst very positive value growth has been achieved by certain liquor categories in South Africa over the last few years, the Wine Industry’s share of value of the liquor market has been a challenge. Consumers have demonstrated a strong desire for premium brands. This premiumisation trend was not effectively leveraged by the wine category. It was important for the industry to shift from product based to a consumer led strategy.

DataSpank was approached to answer a range of important quantitative questions relating to consumer behaviour and category/brand usage and how this varies by consumer segment. Our Consumer Landscape Tool formed the basis for scenario planning.

We also developed a robust high level Volume, Value and Profit model for the Wine Industry by category, sub category and price tier. This was done without access to formal and expensive data sources, but we have our ways and means and industry aligned behind our robust point of view.

The analysis and insights provided by our Tools and Models enabled a greater understanding of the Wine consumption landscape and the Strategy going forward, to protect and grow the industry and the jobs that go with it.

And whilst one of us at DataSpank drinks beer, the others drink wine. There must always be wine.
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Story 6
DataSpank is excited to be involved in the FutureMe programme in South Africa. Whilst DataSpank has not been directly involved in setting up the organisation, we certainly give the vision and goals of this programme our stamp of approval. We are sure that you will too.

FutureMe is a holistic, technology-enabled programme aimed at getting high school learners to be more work-ready when they leave school. The purpose of FutureMe is to assist young people in becoming more self-aware and confident; more aware and knowledgeable about subject, study and career choices and employment opportunities; and more prepared for and effective in the working world. We are passionate about addressing the youth unemployment crisis in SA as well as the skills gap in the working world and intend to act as a bridge between youth and the working world.

The FutureMe programme is delivered during Life Orientation lessons within the school timetable and applies to grades 8 – 12. The programme is currently being piloted in 2 disadvantaged schools in the Cape Town area working with grade 9s in particular. We are looking to expand the programme to cover all grades and to expand into more Cape Town schools during 2017, with a vision of national expansion from 2018 onward. The plan is to service schools across various socio-economic sectors, from non-fee paying schools through to high-end schools, as we believe the challenges around work-readiness are pervasive across society. The variety of schools also allows for interesting comparisons when it comes to analyzing the data and generating insights.

The programme will be technology enabled and we are working with Microsoft and their software development partners to develop the technology platform and app.

DataSpank is excited about this particular opportunity to make a difference, as many of the learners have never been outside their immediate communities, so have not had exposure to what is out there. They make subject choice decisions in a virtual vacuum and consequently have little chance to escape the cycle of poverty and inequality.

We are of course also very excited to be working alongside the FutureMe team, to spank the data that is gathered in the process and reveal the insights around the future workforce in South Africa.

Keen to get involved? See more here:
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