Oil Changers is California’s largest independent fast oil and lube business. Founded in 1984, Oil Changers was one of the first operators to develop the “stay in your car” experience focused on quality, speed, and simplicity. Oil Changers started as a family business with 34 locations before being sold in 2018. Since then, it has expanded rapidly to 115 locations and has plans to quickly get over 200!
Rapid growth can come with its own set of headaches. Inefficient processes that were manageable when a small business can become unsustainable as a bigger business.
Oil Changers existing process involved taking raw data extracts from its POS system and loading them into a database to produce excel reports. The team was constantly reinventing the spreadsheets and coming up with other things that they wanted to see but getting the data was difficult and tedious. This process was manageable at 34 locations but no longer feasible at 115 locations.
As Oil Changers grew over the past few years, it knew it needed to jumpstart its digital transformation journey to maintain a best-in-class customer experience and support future growth.
The problems that we were facing I think are going to be common at any fast-growing company or private equity backed platform company. When you're growing as fast as we are, there's a lot of different parts of the business that can start showing cracks in the dam, so to speak. We needed to come up with scalable next generation solution so it would stop being a concern for us going forward.
- Kabir Merchant, CFO at Oil Changers
The company’s IT infrastructure was hosted and managed on-premises. In addition to organizing the data, management wanted a way to extract actionable insights on how each store is performing to understand profitability and address shortcomings in real-time. Due to the fragmented architecture across stores, it was difficult for the company to quickly see store level and aggregate KPIs in a consolidated report.
“We had engaged with another company prior to approaching The Zig. That company had very good, very smart people but it was delivering a scope that didn't really get us from A-Z, and frankly came at much higher prices. We would have to take the project the rest of the way, but my team wasn't capable, and when you're talking about small, fast-growing companies, there are going to be gaps in capabilities. We needed a partner that could help fill in some of those gaps and The Zig was a perfect fit,” says Merchant.
After reviewing Oil Changers’ existing infrastructure, The Zig’s engineering team determined the best approach was to build a new data warehouse on Azure. The team chose Azure because it offered the smoothest migration path by leveraging the flexibility of Azure Data Factory (ADF) to create Extract Transform Load (ETL) pipelines. The maturity of ADF tooling simplified the process while keeping costs low and manageable. The auto scale pricing (based on consumption) meant Oil Changers could maintain the entire architecture without incurring costs during periods of low use. Once the infrastructure and data were in the cloud, The Zig was able to build real-time analytics dashboards in Power BI.
The team was very helpful in thinking through multiple approaches. Sometimes when you work with consulting companies, they'll just say this is my solution and I'll just roll it out at every company that I can. Instead, The Zig was very good about thinking through the problem and offering different approaches we can take. It led to a more bespoke answer, but without over engineering it so that it could be easily managed by my IT team.
- Kabir Merchant, CFO of Oil Changers
To prevent disruption to Oil Changers’ existing workflow, The Zig’s architect and engineers used a three-phase approach to deliver the final solution. This ensured that their existing infrastructure was running in parallel with the new Azure infrastructure.
As a result of working with The Zig to migrate to Azure, Oil Changers has been empowered to take advantage of a cloud-native strategy without the burden of legacy technology.
"We came to The Zig with a digital transformation project that they did a great job on. We can now analyze information we never had time to pull before. We are getting richer insights into how our business is performing and where our opportunities are. I'm really excited about what else we can unlock and use to drive our profitability", said Merchant.
Overall, by engaging The Zig, Oil Changers was able to:
One report that I used to run when I first started with the company required me to download something for each store from our POS system. At 34 stores it was annoying. At 115 stores, that's a waste of time. So now something that would take hours upon hours is fed to me every morning in an automated solution and requires really no effort on my part.
- Kabir Merchant, CFO of Oil Changers
By collaborating with The Zig and building on Azure, Oil Changers has a new infrastructure and is prepared for their next phase of growth.
What stood out about The Zig is the talent level across the whole organization. The team really takes hold of the project and makes it their own, so they really feel like partners as opposed to just consultants. They were very responsive and understanding, and frankly, not only on time, but also right where I was expecting in terms of budget.