Andy Hill, Co-founder & CEOAndy Hill is an ardent thinker who began his entrepreneurial journey in the early 90’s, when he helped establish a consulting business that specialized in the optimization of maintenance spares inventory. Identifying the need for an inventory management decision- support tool, Hill focused on inventories held by asset-intensive companies and conducted extensive research on statistical profiles. This led to him co-found Oniqua Intelligent MRO, a firm whose analytics help to reduce operational costs and eradicate waste. Oniqua’s cloud-based technology platform, combined with expert consultation, makes advanced analytics simple and easily accessible. The company helps customers rapidly reduce costs and risks while achieving higher service levels through increased efficiency.
“In dynamic, asset-intensive MRO environments, materials managers squeeze in time to review tens or hundreds of thousands of items in their inventory. The sheer volume and diversity of MRO inventory, the constant change, and the time constraints make it extremely difficult to get the right materials to the right people, at the right time and at the right cost - all on a continual basis,” explains Hill.
The Meandering Journey
Over the years, Hill consulted dozens of organizations and observed that his global customers wanted to roll-out Oniqua’s solutions across their sites, giving this inquisitive entrepreneur a boost to build his company’s presence across North America, South America and South Africa, and more recently into Europe. “Developing each of these regional businesses was like launching another start-up, and it took time to understand the market dynamics and build awareness,” adds Hill. Since then, Oniqua has been working as a single global team leveraging talent effectively and efficiently.
Compelling Value Propositions
Focused on enhancing operational performance, Hill elucidates that each generation of Oniqua’s products have been created to address specific business concerns and increase market adoption. In essence, this process has revolved around making advanced MRO analytics simple and accessible to all Utilities and asset- intensive organizations by removing the barriers associated with on premise implementations, hiring in-house analysts and dealing with dirty data. The
Oniqua team works closely with end-customers to provide extremely compelling value propositions to Utilities. These include minimizing production risks and stock outs, increasing reliability and safety, reducing inventory value, spent on managing spares inventories. In addition, Hill also ensures that his team works on consolidating purchases across service territories and optimizing use of vendor-held stock and consignment arrangements to quickly identify problems and opportunities. Oniqua also improves supplier performance, procurement efficiencies and maintenance effectiveness.
Optimized Asset Performance
Oniqua's flagship offering is Oniqua Analytics Solution (OAS), which provides the unique capability to perform end to end analysis across MRO materials management and operations and maintenance. OAS uses sophisticated statistical analyses, prescriptive analytics and optimization algorithms specifically designed for asset-intensive industries. These algorithms and analytics capabilities help companies intelligently balance costs and risks across MRO supply chain and maintenance operations. They simulate different ways in which assets are managed, and prescribe adjustments that lower risk and cost. Leveraging the results, OAS also provides interactive visualization and actionable insights. “Visualization and ‘what if’ scenarios make complex data patterns, trends and opportunities easy for users to identify and comprehend, enabling them to take better decisions and effective action,” asserts Hill.
Enabling accessible and convenient cloud deployment facility, OAS allows users to get all the powerful optimization capabilities of OAS without the costs of managing software, infrastructure and resources.
Oniqua Analytics Solution (OAS) provides the unique capability to perform end to end analysis across MRO supply chain and maintenance
Combining the essence of analytics technology, services, consulting, coaching, support and updates in an integrated offering is Oniqua’s “Intelligent MRO” solution. Hill believes that Intelligent MRO will transform the way Utilities and other asset-intensive organizations manage their capital-intensive assets. “Our cloud- based offering combines the world’s most advanced MRO analytics technology with analyst services, master data capabilities and industry expertise to optimize asset performance,” he reckons.
To provide continuous improvements in the product, the company approaches development using agile methodologies and lean thinking to maximize value delivered to clients. Oniqua’s skilled analysts operate the software on behalf of clients to rapidly identify opportunities for immediate savings. This option assists customers particularly in remote locations, where it is difficult to attract and retain skilled analysts. Hill’s team strives to deliver impressive return-on-investment to clients.
Reduced Inventory Value
Oniqua has helped clients significantly optimize their MRO materials management effectiveness. The custom dashboards, user activity reviews, work queue performance enhancements, new and improved inventory forecasting, single-click reporting, demand profiling and dynamic business impact builder have helped clients to move unused inventory back to the suppliers and identify better supply chain workflow.
These capabilities and their cost- saving features have earned the company an impressive customer list that spans some of the world’s leading Utilities enterprises including Tennessee Valley Authority, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and American Electric Power. For instance, Nebraska Public Power District’s inventory value growth was ten percent annually. According to industry benchmarking, NPPD had higher inventory levels than its peers. “Previous attempts to optimize inventories were short lived at best, as inventory was coming in the front-end faster than they could get rid of unneeded stock,” Hill expounds. With the help of the Intelligent MRO solution, NPPD was able to reduce its inventory value within a year with no negative impact on service levels or fill rates. Compared to the previous inventory growth trend, the client observed a net improvement of $25M in inventory savings.
Hill’s shared vision is to help Oniqua’s customers drive asset performance. The company has also helped two-tier asset- intensive customers and Utilities reduce their inventory values. One such example is Oniqua’s assistance to Bermuda Electric Light Company, helping them increase service levels on critical items and reduce inventory value by over 30 percent. This has avoided the need for costly warehouse expansion since replenishment costs were reduced to a great extent.
While nurturing client relationships can be a challenge for customers throughout the world, Hill has lead the Oniqua group to adopt a number of unique support models, including remote mentoring and diagnostics services conducted over the internet to solve this challenge. Going forward, Hill asserts that the company would focus on measuring the economic value delivered to customers by implementing innovative solutions. By analyzing customer data in the cloud, the company can analyze cause-and-effect and see exactly how the recommendation generated by the software improves customers’ businesses. “This feedback helps our technology team to develop new techniques and inspires our delivery team to help users achieve more. We figure that if we can relentlessly focus on this metric, we could keep the competition at bay and provide a sense of purpose for the Oniqua team,” he concludes.