Data dynamo

Source: Exchange Magazine | Photo: David Bean | Text: Birgitte van den Muyzenberg | Location: Franklin, Tennessee

Big data… dirty data… These are valuable assets for any company today – but only if you understand how to reveal their hidden meaning. Financial Analyst Ryan Shukis knows what he’s doing.

Having lots of data avaliable is all well and good. The tricky part is knowing how to make sense of it. That’s where a good analyst comes in. At Gränges’ US headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, a young mover and shaker called Ryan Shukis is doing data in a big way: uncovering trends and gaining insights that have significant meaning for the future of the company.

At 26, he has a level of knowledge and experience beyond his years. Since joining Gränges in April 2017, he has developed an in-depth understanding of the manufacturing and financial data available. Now he can raise his business insights, allowing top management to make “impactful business decisions fast” to reduce costs, increase profitability and boost operational efficiency. The result: an agile organization with a sharp competitive edge.

Like many millennials, I want to make an impact.”
- Ryan Shukis, Financial Analyst

“The IT department has greatly helped me understand the raw data and I’ve had tremendous support from numerous mentors here who are extremely knowledgeable about the business, so it’s very easy to learn here.”

He’s the only person under 30 in an office of around 30 staff: from IT to payroll, strategy, and finance. “That’s kind of unique, I guess. But I expect more young analytical minds will be needed eventually to deal with the influx of new data from expanding operations.”

In the age of Big Data, to Ryan, data is like a goldmine. “I’ve found more and more ways to use it to give Gränges a competitive advantage. I would also like to bring in more automation to improve processes at Gränges, using techniques like machine learning to solve complex problems and help the company grow.”

His job includes mining and normalizing data to ensure its logic and consistency. He is now working on customer profitability. “We need to focus on our most profitable customers and look at pricing for the rest. My work covers manufacturing, finance, sales, you name it…”

Colleagues from all Gränges Americas plants come to Ryan with various kinds of problems. “I’ve been able to use VBA (Visual Basic for Applications, Microsoft’s programming language in Excel) in a few situations to solve data issues and save colleagues a headache or two.”

“It feels great to help so many people”, he adds. “Like many millennials, I want to make an impact.”

In private, he appreciates time with friends and family. “I’m the guy who gets friends together for trips and I often visit my family for a game of Scrabble or two back home in Cleveland, Ohio.”

Driven by a passion for progress, he says: “I like to feel I’m developing too by following analytical blogs and learning to play guitar. One day, I’ll take up skydiving.”