Driving change in business, especially when it is already busy, is hard.
It takes a sustained leadership effort to get people to do new things or think in new ways. If that desire is there, how can you know it is making the expected impact on your business?
When out with friends yesterday, we started to discuss productivity, achieving performance and its implications (we are all in IT and probably should get out more).
The conversation reminded me of several of our customers before they worked with us, they had most of their information in different systems, access databases, spreadsheets, people’s heads, etc.
The common thread was they all wanted to grow and when decisions needed to be made, huge – often unplanned – efforts had to be put in to gather that information.
This was entirely normal to those customers and when more effort was needed more people got involved or were brought on board. But that is slow, boring work. When decisions are made, did they make the impact expected? You need agile information and possibly more data to know if things are changing and in the drection you want. A catch-22 perhaps?
Bored and busy
However, while that kept people busy, no one enjoyed it. It added great pressure on them, especially as it always seemed to be needed now and came at a time when they were super busy as well.
They wanted to be busy, that’s not the issue. They wanted their effort to be way more productive (and the need announced earlier). With all the systems available to people, recording the data you need as you go along your day to day business is not the question.
The question is, is that data going in the right place? i.e. somewhere the business can gain access to it and be able to refresh it without the long process of having to do it all in Excel, again.
Access to the data you need
Talking to one of our customers, they mentioned that the warehouse manager can now get the information they needed from one screen on the system, they have wanted this information for over 10 years!
Getting new information into a system or improving your systems does take time and energy, but the payback can be quick and the difference to how you view the business considerable.
Making decisions quickly and with informed confidence allows leaps in agility, and – especially in uncertain times – as it is our agility that will make us survive.
The differences having accurate information at your fingertips has been transformative for our customers. For example:
- Knowing what stock was expected in Europe and by when. This meant they could proactively send the right stock to the right warehouses in preparation for potential UK trade restrictions.
- Accurately setting customer expectations on the phone, no longer dissapointing customers with delayed deliveries as they know production capacity and when stock will be produced.
- How much of budget is available, so purchases can be made in confidence that enouhg budget will be remaining for the rest of the year.
- Who has bought what last year and in what quantities, so we can make sound buying decisions this year. Allowng the purchasing team to spot trends in the buying behaviour so they did not over stock items that were dropping in demand.
- What is the realistic cash flow, taking into account when customers will probably pay. Giving the business cash flow that closely matched reality of late payments so they could predict if they needed to borrow or delay specific outgoings.
- Has an order been shipped and when, where is it in the assembly process. This meant customer services could answer the most common phone enquiries immediately. Delighting customers and saving time internally. It also menat they could manage more calls in a day, so they did not need to receuit more people.
The list goes on, but the above few show questions business leaders and staff had on a regular basis. With insight they can trust they make quick decisions. No more waiting for other people to be available to compile that information or run to the warehouse to check availability.
What information do you wish you had access to now and what difference would that make to you and the business? Maybe the data is there, but you need some help to get it out and shape it into something meaningful.
Please feel free to contact us on 03300 882 515 and discuss the issues being faced. We would be happy to advice on the best way forward for you.