P200: Strategic Procurement

Tableau and the benefits of data visualization

At UC, before a bid is awarded, all bids must be evaluated through a quantitative review of pricing. The Information, Analytics & Systems Team has been using Tableau software to evaluate bids from Suppliers. Tableau uses data visualization to communicate numeric information in the form of pictures which helps users view complex data in a way that’s more accessible, understandable and usable. This user-friendly tool can integrate multiple data sets to create a data visualization using a drag and drop interface in as little as 30 minutes.

Organizing and presenting data in Tableau helps commodity managers make informed decisions about the suppliers they are assessing. The information can also help them negotiate better deals since data across the field of bidders can be cross-compared to the finest level of detail.

The example below compares the total cost of ownership over a five-year contract term to different types of laser printers by supplier. In this visualization, a commodity manager can quickly and easily see which supplier offers the lowest price within each printer category and also that Supplier 5 has the lowest total cost of ownership for all three categories. Previously, Excel was used to manage the raw data and create charts and graphs. Tableau is an easier and more efficient tool to create visualizations that can then be shared and easily understood by all.

Tableau UC

Todd Wirsching

Information, Analytics and Systems