Leatherman & SPS Commerce: An Analytics Success Story

Since 1983, Leatherman has been synonymous with multi-tools, innovation and Oregon. Leading retailers including Ace Hardware, Amazon, FGL Sports, REI and Scheels.

The company’s sales teams needed to see sell-through information by retailer in a single dashboard to improve their buyer relationships. They wanted to know where sales were off, inventory levels were down, and how to substantiate their proposals to carry more Leatherman products. Using SPS Commerce Analytics with dozens of retailers, Leatherman now has this insight at their fingertips. The SPS team secures point-of-sale data from retailers on their behalf, and makes it accessible and understandable in a timely manner.

  • Customer Type:
  • Industry:
    Sporting Goods
  • Headquarters:
    Portland, OR
  • SPS Product:
  • Customer Since:

Access to Sell-Through Data Wasn’t Easy

When Leatherman hired Joe Coulter as its sales planning analyst, he learned of the sales teams’ struggles to get access to end-user purchase information or point-of-sale data.

Sales managers would reach out to their retailer buyers before a meeting to request sales data. Then, the retailer would send an Excel file or another document in a few days and in a variety of formats. Leatherman would need to decipher the file, make the calculations, and try to identify trends or variances. This process took several days and wasn’t as timely, consistent or effective as the company wanted.

In 2015, Coulter introduced Leatherman to SPS Commerce Analytics. The solution outsources the process of securing retailer data, and provides online dashboards and interactive screens for analyses. SPS took on many of the supplier’s day-to-day tasks, including contacting retailers, securing and validating weekly sales data, and placing it into a user-friendly format.

View Retailer Performance on Dashboards

Leatherman started using SPS Analytics with sales data from a handful of key accounts. Since then, they’ve continually added new retailers and users. Today, the company’s business analysts, sales professionals and executives use SPS Analytics. They have access to up-to-date insight on sales and inventory positions for more than 75 percent of their domestic sales.

The company assigns retailer accounts to individual sales representatives. Coulter uses SPS Analytics to deliver retailer-specific dashboards. This single screen provides a snapshot of current sales, including year-over-year comparisons, sell-through, units on hand and more.

“Dashboards allow our sales teams to quickly view their business,” said Coulter. “SPS Analytics is user-friendly and I can easily build or customize dashboards. And, if I ever have a question, the SPS team is always there to help.”

Prepare for Buyer Meetings

Leatherman’s sales teams needed in-depth analyses and visuals for their annual buyer meetings, as well as weekly dashboards for ongoing discussions.

Coulter uses SPS Analytics to provide a full sales report with visuals for their presentations or materials prior to a meeting.

“We often know more than the retail buyer about the sales of our products at their stores,” said Coulter. “Our teams use insight from SPS to show them what SKUs are most successful and how to best move forward. For example, if a new color is selling well, we’ll recommend expanding current assortments to bring on the full family of products featuring this color. This has been very successful for Leatherman and our retailers.”

Using historical sales of similar products, Leatherman also uses the solution to forecast sales of new products and tracks new product sales on the dashboards. This visibility equips Leatherman to better assess new sales and provide adjustments as needed.

Experience Full-Service Analytics

SPS offers robust analytics technology and much more to its customers. The full-service analytics solution includes support and training from an experienced team at SPS working on Leatherman’s behalf.

SPS experts ensure that each retailer sends their point-of-sale data, reaching out to check on it if it’s late or the file contains errors. Then, they validate the data and format it so Leatherman has a consistent view of all retailers’ sales and can compare sell-through across multiple retailers. When Leatherman’s staff logs into the solution, everything is ready for them.

“The service provided by SPS Commerce has been amazing,” states Coulter. “From the start, they’ve been there for me at every turn, no matter how many questions or emails I send them. The staff at SPS are very responsive and personable. I’ve gotten to know them over time and consider them part of my team.”

The Interviewee:

Joe Coulter, Sales Planning Analyst

The Challenge:

Improve the company’s insight of end-user purchase trends.


The Solution:

Equip national account sales with in-depth insight on sell-through by retailer.


The Results:

Access to sales data for 75 percent of Leatherman’s domestic sales.

“SPS Commerce Analytics has become an integral part of our company’s decision-making processes.”

– Joe Coulter