Small Business Advice: The Importance of Making Data-Driven Decisions Pt.2
Data crunching has always been a chore, whether they be sales figures, warehouse counts or batting averages, processing it all can consume hours of one’s time. This issue only compounds if you’re using business intelligence (BI) tools in your wholesale distribution company, and odds are you’re being inundated with data from every conceivable angle. The tough part can be making this data work for you. Organizing and correlating that data, to allow your employees to engage and interpret it, providing the opportunity for smarter decisions to be made and to ensure a better future for your company as a whole.
Putting an ERP system like Kloudville to work can be a great way to translate all that data into digestible chunks that your business unit leaders can reference in making changes for future profit. Our analytics component puts your data into customized dashboards and reports that showcase your progress in productivity, efficiency, profit margins and more.
So how do we harness data to make better decisions? Here are a few key tips to instill into your employees.
You’re the boss, but the individual teams in your organization are the people who know that sector best. They shouldn’t have to wait for you or the IT guy to make the reports that focus on their business unit. They should be able to ask the questions about how to improve their sector and generate data reports to provide the answers. If it’s your picking and shipping unit, they can see which items or customers are taking the longest to prepare and order. That can lead to deciding on adding more manpower or re-configuring the warehouse layout to make things go smoother. When your team leaders are capable and confident of making these choices, it eases the burden off you and your company’s leadership to work on bigger goals.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
Those self-same sector bosses usually have tunnel vision when it comes to focusing on their own business unit’s expectations, strengths and weaknesses. That’s great most of the time, but we all need to remember from time to time that we’re just one cog in a larger machine. When you introduce your decision-makers to the rest of the company’s dashboards and data hubs, you’re giving them a unique chance to see how the whole thing fits together. Your sales team can see how incomplete sales orders slow down the shipping process. Inventory leaders can grasp how their efficiency allows the marketing squad to boast of more reliable service for your customers. Pulling data from all these and integrating it into an overall ‘report card’ for your business can provide better outlook both internally and externally on how processes interact.
What to Watch Out For
Because we’re all human, we have the tendency to look for someone to blame when things aren’t going so well. The main danger in giving your sector heads access to other units’ data is the idea that whichever unit(s) aren’t doing well will be viewed as pulling the rest of the company down. If there is a true problem, this can obviously be handled internally. But otherwise, a problem for one unit can trace back to inadequacies and inefficiencies in other departments, and can serve as a powerful learning tool for your employees on how important synergy is to overall success.