Publicly traded since 1991, Monro Inc. operates about 1,500 automotive-service stores, along with 92 franchised locations, across 32 states ranging from New England to California. Monro technicians perform everything from oil changes and state inspections, to servicing brake systems, exhausts and tires. Store managers and company leaders depend on timely and accurate data to help them understand, predict and control each store’s performance.

When top Monro leadership wanted managers to see reports on specific key performance indicators (KPIs), they installed a reporting tool that visualized data from their existing data architecture. Daily emails containing hyperlinks were sent driving an online reporting experience. Unfortunately and almost immediately after the initiative began negative user feedback came rolling in. Slow loading times and pages failing to load at all was just some of the feedback users relayed back to IT and management.

After months of working behind the scenes with the existing software vendor and their professional services team, Monro realized they needed to move in a new direction while maintaining their existing business requirements and robust data model. This led to the search for a business intelligence (BI) consulting partner and a new reporting technology. After CE Strategy was identified as their consultant of choice, the question became, how could the data architects at CE Strategy develop analytics that Monro’s leaders wanted and the business needed? The persuasive moment came when CE Strategy presented a proof of concept with a new conceptual data model along with an alternative technology that showed exactly how they would fulfill business requirements.


Once on board, the focus of Monro’s original engagement with CE Strategy was to repair the trouble and provide a working database platform, but as the CES team ratcheted more deeply into how the company’s BI tool was working, both parties agreed to the need for more extensive architectural work on their database system. From a business standpoint, they together began a data overhaul.

The challenge for CE Strategy was to convert online report access to a simplified email-report delivery model. This called for giving store managers fully formed reports in a weekly email, which they could print and review.


For the CE Strategy team, the operational charge was to enable the compiling and sending of 1,700 emails, 1 gigabyte each, within one hour. Each email would deliver data covering 170 KPIs. The team started with an analysis of Monro’s business-intelligence tool, then custom-wrote a program that would integrate with the tool. CE Strategy software engineers also coached Monro IT personnel on their data structures, enabling them to work faster with their BI tool—so they could query faster, clean up the data-flow process and more.

Monro’s leadership team wanted to add reports to the system, which already was operating at maximum capacity. In forming their workplan, CE Strategy engineers explored a number of key questions … What does Monro’s entire data workflow look like, and what does their source data look like? How do we structure and organize their data so that it works efficiently with the BI tool?

The answers to those questions would be the key to more effective reporting to the field. The research and software engineering phase took about 18 months. CE Strategy built dimensional models that allowed management to ask different questions and gain access to data that was previously unavailable.

The ensuing work involved replicating the BI tool on six servers, then executing a program against the email list of Monro store managers and other recipients. The CE Strategy team was able to maximize the tool far beyond what the original software maker intended.


Many data points came together in Monro’s reports, including sales numbers broken down by services; period reporting by month-, quarter- and year-to-date; calls coming into stores; and causes of low sales versus high sales. What’s more, they created simplified financial reporting—a different workflow that saves scores of administrative hours per month. Factors such as tire inventory, purchase-order costs, labor hours, safety report cards and risk management entered the equation, along with training schedules and how they impact sales. Now, the company can look at KPIs individually and comparatively, creating a three-dimensional view of the business at any moment.

Monro depends on reliable reporting to help stores assess their performance and identify opportunities for change and improvement. Reports included sales numbers on specific services, such as tire, brake and fluid sales, oil changes and much more. CE Strategy helped the company build a data structure that accommodates the many dimensions of inventory, sales and service. A gallon of oil, for example, could apply to a number of different categories.

CE Strategy rose to the data-management challenge of making the selection of categories simple, easy and fast. Reports show store managers results for KPIs, which are color-coded to read like a scorecard— according to whether they are meeting set goal levels. Managers can use the reports to compare sales periods for their store, as well as a peer-store comparison. Managers strive to be in the green on their scorecards, and at or near the top of the comparison charts. This level and quality of reporting has a significant impact on company decision-making and operations.

CE Strategy built a model design to support a workable data-management strategy and Monro’s business-intelligence solution. Together, they were able to build better ways of aggregating and distributing data, so Monro’s desired reports would run on command.

Monro’s district managers use this reporting in their day-to-day discussions with store managers. With detailed numbers showing same-store results and store-to-store comparisons, leaders at all levels have useful data at their fingertips that drives better understanding, insights and decisions. In this flow of data and ideas, management can not only identify underperforming stores, for example, but can point to specific sales activities that could bring them into line with their peers.

The company ran this system for about one year, at which time they wanted to do more.


The vision grew as Monro management requested the addition of third-party data sets from sources such as diagnostic car scanners used by Monro technicians. This new volume of data, however, required much more storage, so discussions turned to data-warehousing technology. CE Strategy planners introduced Monro to Snowflake data cloud services, to accommodate the much greater data storage and throughput that would be required.

With Phase 1 now complete, including a modern, 21st century data-warehousing infrastructure in place—one that supports the scaling Monro needs—the stage is set for their business-intelligence evolution to continue.


With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses lost customers and revenue. To help make greater sense of the pandemic-skewed numbers, CE Strategy software engineers adjusted the reporting system to include three years of data, which gave managers two points of reference—non-COVID years versus the worst periods of the pandemic—in judging sales performance. This was another benefit to improving Monro’s data-management strategy, because with these capabilities, the company always is able to accurately trace operational performance and resulting profitability.

Trust drives the relationship between CE Strategy and Monro. There is simply no way to allow a third party to delve into your organization’s systems and data without complete confidence that they are highly competent and performing the right tasks.

“To be honest, we took a considerable gamble hiring Cause + Effect Strategy when we did,” recalled Eswara Ram Sunkara, senior director of IT, solutions architecture, integrations and data analytics for Monro. “We looked at consultants that were better known, and with longer track records, but the people at CE Strategy demonstrated that they are authentic, hardworking and dedicated. Their initial proof of concept won us over, and we’ve benefited greatly from the relationship starting with that strong beginning,” he stated. “We’ve grown to depend on them for so much; it’s been a tremendously fruitful relationship based on a high level of trust all around.”


The next steps for Monro’s data-management plan focus on a new frontier of data and analytics. CE Strategy’s plan calls for the company to be able to delve into relevant areas such as customer purchase histories and service patterns of specific car models, both of which can be used as predictors of inventory and service offerings. In short, the software under the hood is just beginning to rev up.