Case Study

Shaping the future of commodity trading with predictive analytics

Inspire11 partners with a Fortune 250 agribusiness to establish a solid predictive analytics framework, propelling them to the forefront of their industry.

Capabilities

Data/ Cloud Architecture
Data Visualization
Data Science – Machine Learning
Microsoft Azure
Snowflake
Power BI

Industry

Agriculture

In an era where the global agricultural sector faces unprecedented challenges—from fluctuating market demands to the urgent need for sustainable practices—companies increasingly turn to technology to stay competitive. In this evolving scenario, predictive analytics and machine learning are not just tools but essential drivers of innovation and operational efficiency. Inspire11 is at the forefront of this shift, partnering with industry leaders to harness the power of data and technology to navigate and shape the future of agribusiness. 

Our partnership with a Fortune 250 agricultural company is a testament to these efforts. Together, we addressed operational pain points and bottlenecks by establishing a predictive analytics foundation. This strategic collaboration led to the development of a Business Insights Center, facilitating a shift from reactive to proactive management across all levels of the business. Armed with a full suite of data science capabilities, the company consistently trades within the top five percent of the market, driving 15% year-over-year gains in revenue.  

The opportunity

The food and agriculture industry is a game of commodities where buying low and selling high is essential to long-term business success. Our client recognized a pivotal opportunity to enhance profitability by addressing sub-optimal commodity pricing and fragmented data storage. To achieve its strategic goals, the organization partnered with Inspire11 to transform its operational landscape. 

Together, we aimed to overhaul homegrown analytics tools, provide real-time financial market insights, and create sustainable data-based solutions that flexibly scale over time. 

Why Inspire11?

The client was seeking a partner that could provide not only multi-disciplinary data and analytics capabilities, but also bring a financial and business mindset. Inspire11 was uniquely qualified due to our functional knowledge, experience with the selected technology tools such as Snowflake, and our proven track record of delivering innovative solutions. 

Additionally, due to the nature of the industry and business challenges, the potential outcomes and impact were clearly measurable and significant. When margins are thin and volume is high, as was the case with this client, incremental improvements can have a major impact. Inspire11 saw the opportunity to dramatically transform the way the client operated, and thus realize substantial year-over-year revenue gains. 

What we did

During the first phase of the engagement, the team focused on creating a strong data foundation by leveraging Snowflake services to consolidate data into a single point of consumption (i.e., data warehouse). As part of this migration, Inspire11 worked with the client to cleanse and enhance existing data, building automated data pipelines to refresh the organization’s data from multiple legacy systems.

Consolidating, automating, and cleansing the data was essential to the client leveling up its analytics. 

Initially, Inspire11 performed the following activities →

  • Centralized the data from over 80 manufacturing sites, internal master data sources, and market/ reference data.
  • Developed a centralized platform displaying trade positions by leveraging PowerBI and Snowflake data warehouse.
  • Enabled aggregate analysis and drill-down capabilities to real-time contract status.
  • Developed tools to visually present ongoing movement and volatility within the market.

Essentially, the development of analytics capabilities enabled the client to gain a more in-depth understanding of current market perspectives and positions while avoiding any blind spots across the organization.

After the initial analytics foundation was established, the team developed predictive financial models to recommend specific strategies based on historical contracts and pricing decisions. 

These predictive models included →

  • Automated transactions based on agreed-upon business rules and scenarios with high confidence.
  • Hedging rules created by running hundreds of thousands of simulations, allowing traders of various experience levels to drive consistent performance.
  • A historical benchmark for comparable years and market conditions to augment trader subject matter expertise and to deliver additional value.
  • A more holistic view of profitability founded on hundreds of models for commodity-shipping locations blended with freight costing data.
  • Push notifications to highlight and prioritize high-value opportunities requiring attention and management input.
  • Forward-looking predictive analytics tools to forecast trends and long-term market behavior.

A predictive analytics foundation to unlock data-driven insights, revolutionizing the decision-making processes and driving growth.

Impact & Outcomes

With the help of Inpsire11 and the new predictive analytic foundation, the client was able to realize value aligned with the following areas: 

Revenue Gain

The organization leveraged this foundational data platform and predictive financial model to increase year-over-year contract gains by over 15%! The client recouped the project costs within three months of launching the solution. After launch, trading teams consistently sell within 5% of peak market prices.

Organizational Enablement

Our partner established an Analytics Center of Excellence (“CoE”) for group-wide adoption beyond the core project team, conducting dozens of PowerBI training sessions to further advocate the power and availability of analytical insights.

Paradigm Shift

The organization’s new capabilities allowed our partner to shift from reactive historical analysis and explanations to proactive, long-term strategic planning.

Ready to build your predictive analytics foundation?

Other recent work

The future belongs to the disruptors. The people who create radical change by challenging complacent business models, industries, and ways of working. The following case studies show how the organizations we work with are disrupting the world around them to create a better tomorrow for all.