100-year-old recycling business migrates data to the cloud with Fivetran and visualizes it in Tableau, enabling it to better serve its customers.
PADNOS chooses Fivetran to migrate on-prem data to SQL Server.
It would need at least 1.5 additional engineers to do the work of Fivetran.
In addition to the connectors, PADNOS relies on the uploads functionality and transformations.
Dashboards show trends for inventory, trucks-in-yard, and the cost of moving material, enabling the business to make critical decisions and reduce costs.
Pipeline & Transformations: Fivetran
Destination: SQL Server
BI Tool: Tableau
PADNOS, an industrial recycling business, has been operating for over 100 years and has over 20 locations in Michigan. The company helps other businesses boost efficiency and savings, reduce hassles, and improve environmental impact. As a traditional company, all of the business’ tools were completely on-prem. For its BI, it connected Tableau to its on-prem SQL Server and pulled data through the production system, which resulted in severe performance issues.
Jared Duquette, Analytics Manager and Architect at PADNOS, describes the challenges:
We had a couple of products and only two software developers. It was already taking too much development time to write the data locally into SQL Server. When the business said it was going to purchase Salesforce, I knew we couldn’t sustain our current processes. We couldn’t afford to have a mission-critical app like Salesforce crash. We needed a pipeline tool.
Duquette notes that the transition from on-prem CRM to Salesforce was the perfect opportunity for the business to bring on new tools and new data infrastructure:
You cannot grow and scale on a production system, so I knew I needed a cloud warehouse. My DBA suggested replicating everything from our production system into a second ODS copy, using SSIS and always-on availability, where reports could be pulled from. But I would still have to do triggers and transformations and my processes would still exist in the productions system — it wouldn’t have solved our core issues.
After researching data integration tools, Duquette chose Fivetran:
Fivetran is so easy. You put in your credentials, click save and you never think about it again. You don’t have to manually modify and manipulate tables like you do with SSIS. I would need at least 1.5 additional full-time engineers to do what Fivetran does.
PADNOS also relies on the Uploads functionality and has recently started using Fivetran Transformations. Duquette has set up sixteen transformations, with more added weekly. Previously, the business joined tables through SQL Server agent jobs. Now, instead of time-based transformations, the stored procedures are fired off based on when the data is updated, which has proven to be a much more scalable replication process.
Before the current stack, PADNOS had two Tableau desktop licenses, two people creating reports and about a dozen people using the data. Now, employees across the organization can access data in real-time enabling them to be more agile and react faster. It used to take days to generate a report that now takes hours.
One dashboard displays the amount of time that trucks are spending in the yard of the recycling center. “We now know when a truck is spending too much time in a yard, so we can come up with a plan to get it out a little faster and provide a better experience. We realize that if a truck is delayed in one of our yards, there is usually an issue. By having transparency to the data, we are able to react. Given the shortage of available trucks across the country, we know it is imperative to keep them moving," says Duquette.
PADNOS also has improved its audit of commodity inventory by displaying real-time data in Tableau. “To keep track of material coming into the centers, I’d have to look at thousands of lines of data, which is pretty much impossible,” notes Duquette. “Now that I can see and manipulate it, I can readily find trends for inventory, trucks-in-yard, and the cost of moving material, and make the necessary changes.”
While it may be a traditional recycling company, Duquette and PADNOS take data very seriously: “There is a lot of power and value behind data — our people produce great insight because they’re supported with the right tools and the right data. Ultimately, it is the customers who benefit, as we are able to give them what they want when they want it.”
About Fivetran: Shaped by the real-world needs of data analysts, Fivetran technology is the smartest, fastest way to replicate your applications, databases, events and files into a high-performance cloud warehouse. Fivetran connectors deploy in minutes, require zero maintenance, and automatically adjust to source changes — so your data team can stop worrying about engineering and focus on driving insights.
About Tableau: Tableau helps people see and understand their data. The Tableau platform provides the breadth and depth of capabilities that enterprises need, and adapts to your environment with unmatched flexibility and choice, while meeting the toughest governance and security requirements. People love using Tableau because it is both powerful and intuitive. Tableau leads the industry with the most passionate user community, over 86,000 customer accounts, and a commitment to customer-focused innovation.