When it comes to developing business intelligence dashboards for executives, the biggest challenge may be deciding what and how much data should be included.
Most executives don’t have the time to review every small detail, so what they should see when they log into their dashboards is business-critical information that can help them make faster and more educated decisions. In addition, they should have the ability to drill into the data to reveal more than what is presented on the surface.
Many businesses are struggling to gain value from their data because they don’t have the ability to truly analyze the information. Throughout the past several years, we have worked with hundreds of companies that use Phocas to monitor key performance indicators and metrics, many of which are difficult to analyze without a BI system. We reviewed our engagement with customers to identify several key metrics that they monitor with regularity thanks to Phocas that might be slipping through the cracks otherwise.
Available quantity – This may seem like a simple thing to measure, but compiling an accurate quantity of a single product from data across inventory and warehousing systems often from multiple branches and distributions center without a single source of truth, can be more difficult than it needs to be. Having a true available quantity can help you maintain appropriate inventory levels.
Last order/last sold – The ability to understand when the last order was placed, what was in the last order placed, and what was the last product ordered can give executives a more clear picture of whether products are moving off the shelf, or if it’s time to offer rebates and promotions to reduce stock.
Inventory adjustment reason/adjustment stock status – Inventory adjustments are made all the time, so it’s important that you can track the quantity changes as well as reasons why the adjustments were made. Was it a temporary item? Were you trying to purge the item from inventory? Do you want to reduce the chance of stocking items that you normally do not have on the shelf? Understanding when and why inventory adjustments were made in your system will help with accountability, planning and forecasting.
Other inventory metrics you may want to consider:
- Average month demand
- Turns – inventory turnover
- Gross margin return on investment
- 12-month sales and 12-month quantities
The image below shows how Phocas can calculate how many months of stock you have available. In this case, the business might have an overstock of the listed items. Click the image to enlarge.
RF scanner database – Metrics created to track every time a warehouse employee touches and scans a product. This level of data found in the Phocas RF Scanner Database will allow you to track the number of scans, how frequently particular items are scanned, where in the warehouse are the most scans happening, what hour of the day or day of the week are the busiest, what locations have the most scans, etc. This information can help you plan staffing levels, monitor employee productivity, improve warehouse layout, and product location. You can answer questions such as:
- Do I need to increase staffing levels at certain hours of the day or days of the week?
- Why is employee A picking more frequently than employees B and C?
- Do I need to relocate products to ensure my teams can be more efficient when picking?
- Should we relocate product to warehouse A because of the volume of scanning?
Price overrides – Price adjustments occur frequently, so it’s important to know who and why they are happening. This is an important metric for companies that don’t realize that their staff is manually overriding pricing. When product pricing is changed at the point-of-sale, it can have a significant impact on sales margins and overall profitability. Visibility into how much of a discount customers are receiving, who is making adjustments to pricing and for what customers can help you answer a variety of questions.
- Why are products being discounted?
- Are price overrides happening too frequently in certain locations or for certain products?
- Are staff members abusing the overriding power?
- Is your pricing strategy wrong?
Transfers database – There are a number of metrics within the Phocas Transfers database that help to answer a number of operations questions. For companies that have several locations, including sales branches and distribution centers, it’s important to have visibility into data about the types and volume of transfers taking place between the locations. For example, if the data reveals that you are constantly transferring a part from branch A to branch B, adjustments can be to the shipments from the distribution centers. The database takes everything into account from cost of shipments from the distribution centers to the received inventory management.
Integrating finance data into the sales and operations data is providing a new level of detail for executives. Rather than reviewing finances on spreadsheets and comparing them with reports from other areas of the business, the Phocas executive dashboard can present a variety of finance data about the business. Among the metrics are the following:
Original invoice amount – paid and balance – How much did you bill clients, how much has been paid and what is the balance owed. Each of these three data points answers a different question and has a significant impact on your business bottom line. They may also provide answers to customer relationship questions, and to whether or not your business can continue to afford to serve a particular customer.
General Ledger – The GL contains all the accounts for recording transactions related to your business. Convenient access to the GL in your BI solution can provide you the big picture perspective you need to monitor the health of your business. While the GL may have been separated from inventory, sales and operations analytics, the ability to see it side-by-side will make it easier for you to make important business decisions.
Below, you can see how easy it is to display financial data in Phocas. Click the image to enlarge.
Customer profitability module – Recently introduced, this Phocas database contains important information relating all of the different expenses, accounts receivables, returns, deliveries, sales administration costs, warehouse storage fees, etc. to provide to you your true adjusted gross margin per customer. This data will allow you to stratify your customers, identify where customer service strains may be and who your core customers are.
As you develop your executive dashboards, Phocas can help you uncover opportunities and challenges within across your business and answer important business questions with KPIs and metrics. Out-of-the-box and with additional data modules, Phocas converts your raw data into actionable intelligence allowing you to make data-driven decisions quickly and easily.
Download our new eBook on dashboards and scorecards to learn more about what your KPIs and metrics could look like in Phocas. Simply click here, or on the button below, to download your copy.