Whether we like it or not, modern manufacturing is data-driven. The companies who harness the power of data to inform and empower their employees are best positioned to compete. The most successful companies get the right data in front of the right employees at the right time.
Many businesses feel they are drowning in data, even for manufacturers who have implemented an ERP solution. While an ERP system stores data really well, it is often a challenge for a busy operation to get beyond this first step of ERP implementation and move on to generating intelligent data.
If you are like most business leaders, you know your key customers, critical deadlines related to their orders, and the processes used to meet those deadlines. You also know your employees well, aware of their strengths and weaknesses. However, do you know your businesses data as well as you know your customers and employees?
Even a natural salesperson can struggle to keep others on a sales team focused and motivated over time. Whether you manage sales by instinct or with a closely monitored and regimented process, the right data can help you keep your team on track for success.
Every manufacturing operation has key performance indicators (KPIs). For some, the KPIs may be updated daily on a whiteboard, for others they may be updated hourly in an ERP. Regardless of how you store or update your KPIs, it is a good practice to revisit your metrics annually to make sure they are providing you with the insight you need to manage your operation.
Running a business day to day can be stressful enough, but if the business’s finances are always murky due to lags in reporting or missing information, the stress can become extreme. Getting control of key business data can help keep you from feeling like you are managing in a haze.
So much of what has been written about information overload in the past 10 years deals primarily with the amount of information bombarding us every day. While bloated email inboxes are a challenge, a bigger issue that gets missed in the coverage of individual struggles with information overload is the management logjam caused by the huge amount of data being received and generated by your own business.
Just to be clear. This post is not going to be about infographics. Data visualization encompasses many other useful methods of data rendering than the proliferation of infographics in social media would lead you to believe.
Many manufacturers struggle with accessing their customer and operational data and spend a great deal of time and effort developing or improving processes aimed at getting data to the right people at the right time.
We see it all the time in the news: whether it is the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the unemployment rate, new jobs created, year-over-year same store sales, or quarterly profits. We are expected to make judgments and react based on one number or another. While creating drama regarding one metric might make good headlines, it is not a good way to monitor and manage a business.