Kenworth Truck Company is a leading manufacturer of heavy- and medium-duty trucks. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.

Kenworth is a thriving company and part of PACCAR, a global leader in the truck design and manufacturing industry. PACCAR is committed to designing, manufacturing, and providing cutting-edge services and solutions to customers around the world. “We have many teams and departments at Kenworth focused on sales, operations, and engineering. However, we share a common goal: we want to help our customers meet their goals and exceed their expectations,” says Reid Nabarrete, Kenworth assistant chief engineer. Kenworth generates a wealth of data through the day-to-day activities of its distributed teams and network of dealers.

Over the years, the Kenworth team came to learn that collecting data doesn’t mean much to the business if the data isn’t actionable.

“We have an abundance of data across several different systems,” says Nabarrete. “We have a great opportunity to figure out how we can aggregate our systems and data to provide something that’s going to be valuable to our internal business users.”

“One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is how many data sources and types of data we have,” says Nabarrete. “We decided to build a single source of truth for our data. We wanted a way to automate our data collection and drive good governance to decrease risk, increase business efficiencies, and support internal user productivity.”

Seeking to migrate from on-premises to the cloud and transform data from a nuisance to a benefit, Kenworth turned to AWS Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner Slalom.

Slalom is a consulting firm that helps companies thrive at the intersection of business, data, and technology. With over 5,000 seasoned consultants and technologists in 25 markets, Slalom partners with companies to tackle their most significant business challenges.

“We’ve built a model that ensures we can support clients with local consultants, which is really critical for success,” says Erik Johnson, Slalom’s practice director of information management and analytics. “We’ve also focused our efforts on being leaders in the space of advanced analytics and have a deep bench of experts ready to help customers transform through the power of data.”

As a multiple AWS Competency and AWS Service Delivery holder, Slalom hosted a serverless analytics hands-on lab with AWS to demonstrate what is possible with data using serverless technology and advanced analytics solutions. Kenworth was one of many clients in attendance. “Going to the hands-on lab showed us that the high-level vision of what we wanted to build was not only possible using serverless technology, but could help us fundamentally transform the way we approach data,” says Nabarrete.

Following the event, Slalom met with Kenworth to understand the organization’s pain points, challenges, and opportunities. “We wanted to evolve and take advantage of new technologies to drive insights and efficiencies from our data,” says Nabarrete. “We started by asking questions of our data, such as: ‘What can we do with it? Where can we put it? How can we aggregate it? And who’s going to own it? How exactly do we do this type of work?’ Slalom guided us through these conversations and provided us with invaluable thought leadership.”

“Kenworth had many priorities to tackle involving the sales order lifecycle,” says Johnson. “Having a way to view the sales order lifecycle end to end was important. We realized the team needed a way to organize, prioritize, and build a roadmap and be able to look at it over a 24-month window of time. We helped them evaluate a logical way to execute a cloud migration and optimization strategy to address their priorities.”

Slalom conducted a series of two-hour workshops with individual teams involved in the sales order lifecycle process to demonstrate the technology and solicit feedback on where to start. “At the beginning of the engagement, we’d decided to execute a proof of concept (PoC) to prove the success of our recommended strategy,” says Johnson. “The workshops informed where we should start the PoC, and we decided to begin by building a serverless analytics solution on AWS.”

Slalom recommended building a solution on AWS because of its serverless analytics capabilities. “Serverless on AWS is different,” says Johnson. “AWS stands apart from other providers with Amazon Athena, an interactive query service, at the heart of its serverless offerings. No other cloud provider has an answer to Athena.” Kenworth had information dating all the way back to the 1990s about its truck chassis bills of material and history of engineering changes, but did not have easy visibility and access to the data. Slalom chose to build a PoC to bring this data together in one place and give Kenworth the ability to run rapid analysis against a large database without having to take the traditional approach of using a relational database or platform as a service.  

allergan-truetear

Kenworth's PoC Architecture on AWS

The solution pulls files from four of Kenworth’s source systems and loads the data into a data lake on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). It uses Amazon Athena as the serverless query engine pointing to Amazon S3 and integrates with AWS Glue for managed extract, transform, and load (ETL) capabilities. AWS Lambda reads files into S3 and applies metadata. Amazon QuickSight is used for data visualization and Tableau plugs into Athena to run some of the more complex reporting.

By using its serverless solution on AWS, Kenworth can identify patterns and trends in its data to drive process improvements in the sales order lifecycle and gain efficiencies in back office processing, leading to accuracy on the factory floor. “The successful completion of the PoC inspired in us much hope and optimism for the business outcomes we could achieve in both the short- and long-term by using serverless technology,” says Nabarrete. In Kenworth’s eyes, Slalom’s local engagement model is crucial to the success of the PoC and the ongoing engagement. “Working with the Slalom team on-site is extremely helpful to us,” says Nabarrete. “Our contacts at Slalom have a unique ability to execute tactical work while explaining and providing us with documentation along the way to help us learn how to do it ourselves. They teach us how to fish.”

The Kenworth team hopes the PoC is just the first of many successful implementations they’ll complete as they continue to migrate to AWS and take advantage of technology to transform the organization. “We want to start looking at how we can leverage tools like Amazon Sagemaker and Amazon Kinesis,” says Nabarrete. “The data is there and we’re excited to see what we’re able to do as we continue to work with Slalom and build on AWS.”

600x400_Slalom-Consulting_Logo

Since its founding in 2001, Slalom has grown into a $1 billion company with over 5,000 employees. Its clients include more than half the Fortune 100, along with startups, nonprofits, and innovative organizations of all kinds. Slalom is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN) that helps clients design, build, and migrate AWS deployments to reduce complexity and maximize value.

For more information about how Slalom can help your company build your AWS environment, see Slalom's listing in the AWS Partner Finder or visit the company’s website.