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Sub-Zero Maximizes Connected Product Data for Better Customer Service and Smarter Innovation

With Snowflake, Sub-Zero uses connected product data to reduce service incidents, optimize processes and deliver a better customer experience.

KEY RESULTS:

200+

Sensors in a single appliance — edge devices streaming data into Snowflake

11%

Reduction in service incident rate

Two employees at a factory concentrating on a tablet
Sub-Zero logo
Industry
Manufacturing
Location
Madison, WI

Bringing design and technology to kitchens across the globe

For more than 75 years, Sub-Zero has helped customers build beautiful, functional kitchens. Designed to meet the needs of each customer’s lifestyle, its high-end appliances — from internet-connected refrigerators to ovens — are customizable and built to last, incorporating innovative digital technology that takes the kitchen experience to the next level.

This technology-first mindset means that data has increased across Sub-Zero’s connected products, supply chain and everything in between. A single fridge or dishwasher contains more than a couple hundred sensors streaming data throughout the day. This data provides critical information — like part performance and most frequently used features — that help Sub-Zero predict maintenance needs and inform future product innovation. 

Yet without a single, governed platform to unify data across systems, Sub-Zero struggled to access these insights and gain a holistic understanding of its customer base or market penetration. “Based on our strategy, projected growth curve and planned investments, our previous systems weren’t going to sustain where we wanted to go,” says Jody McDonough, VP of IT and CIO at Sub-Zero. “This vision required us to clean up our data and make it more insightful — something we can act on.” 

After testing different solutions, Sub-Zero chose Snowflake to transform its data strategy, keying in on the Manufacturing Data Cloud’s scalability, ease of use and support for semi-structured data to achieve its goals. 

From scalability to ease of maintenance, Snowflake checked all our boxes, helping us move and grow faster.”

Jody McDonough
VP of IT and CIO, Sub-Zero
Story Highlights
  • More proactive customer service: With visibility into data across its appliances, Sub-Zero can help customers catch early issues and perform preventive maintenance — before they have to deal with larger service problems.

  • Better operational efficiency: Sub-Zero now uses data across its entire value chain for smarter decisions — from predicting which part a service professional will need to optimizing delivery truckloads and routes.

  • Smarter product innovation: With a better understanding of how customers are using its appliances, Sub-Zero takes a more informed approach to designing future products.

A better customer experience — from fewer service calls to proactive troubleshooting

By building an enterprise data platform on Snowflake in Azure, Sub-Zero now delivers a better customer experience with valuable insights from its millions of connected products. The customer care department, equipped with diagnostic data sent from appliances, helps customers quickly solve appliance issues over a simple phone call, reducing the need for costly, burdensome service calls. 

When service professionals do have to make house calls, the Sub-Zero team uses connected product data to maximize their time and productivity. “Because we know everything about the appliance and its model, we can accurately predict the part in need and ensure it’s available before the truck rolls out to the site,” McDonough says.  

Sub-Zero has also made customer care more proactive. To save customers from future maintenance issues or costly bills, the company alerts customers to common issues like a freezer door that’s left open, and flags early warning indicators like dusty vents or condensers that could lead to larger problems. Now with a central view of data across operations, customer care and warranty claims, Sub-Zero finds and fixes product issues sooner, ultimately contributing to fewer warranty claims. “Now that we have reliability data in one place through Snowflake, we have the ability to get ahead of the problems very early on — before they create a large service incident problem for us,” McDonough says.

All of these efficiencies amount to huge time and cost savings for Sub-Zero. Since adopting Snowflake, the organization has reduced both service incidents and warranty claims — all while sales have surged and revenue has significantly grown over the last five years. 

sub-zero quote card image

“Just by looking at the reduction in warranty claims, truck rolls and operational costs, Snowflake has paid for itself.”

Jody McDonough
VP of IT and CIO, Sub-Zero

More informed decisions across product engineering, operations and more

With Snowflake at the center of its data strategy, Sub-Zero has made data-informed decision-making part of its DNA. The product engineering team, for example, uses connected product data to better understand how customers use their appliances — then maximizes those findings to inform future product innovation. 

“Our engineers assumed everyone self-cleaned their oven frequently, which meant we were creating our products to withstand excruciating temperatures on a regular basis,” McDonough says. “But in looking at real-world data, they see that self-cleaning takes place less often. We’re making smarter engineering decisions and spending more time on the backend to save unnecessary costs and deliver quality products to our customers.”

Other teams across the organization — from engineering and finance to sales and customer care — are also relying on data to better understand and hone the business. “We’re using Snowflake to improve financial planning and sales analysis, looking at everything from how our distribution centers are performing to how we ship products,” says McDonough. This logistical data helps Sub-Zero better optimize its truckloads and routes to maximize efficiency while reducing shipping costs. 

A future of data-first innovation

Data is now central to all of Sub-Zero’s operations and decisions — and this is just the beginning. Moving forward, the engineering and innovation groups will use geospatial data to build composite twins, leveraging geographic data to take a more tailored approach to its appliances — such as optimizing a fridge to withstand Miami’s high humidity or Denver’s low temperatures. These changes will unleash a variety of efficiencies, including lower energy usage and better runtime.

McDonough’s team also plans to transfer the company’s bill of materials database to Snowflake, which will help enhance Sub-Zero’s predictive models and improve manufacturing processes without disrupting the production line. With data that tracks every component of devices, unique to the serial number, the service company can better manage its spare part inventory for even greater efficiency and service in the years to come.

 

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