Accurate tracking data provides invaluable insights about a business’ performance. These insights, when analysed properly, can be used to significantly improve efficiency, reduce risk, cut costs, forecast shifts in demand and much more.
Gathering the right data for your needs is central to effective analysis. Collecting data you’re unlikely to use ‘just to be on the safe side’ is not only inefficient, it can also make it harder to spot the useful findings. With virtually endless possibilities when it comes to tracking data, deciding what to focus on can be a daunting prospect. Following these three steps will help you concentrate your efforts on what really matters.
Work out what needs fixing
You should begin by considering any immediate concerns or problem areas that you have. Understandably, safety is usually the top priority for most business owners. If you have any concerns about health and safety in your workplace, tracking data can help you to identify any problem areas quickly and take appropriate action.
For example, tracking the movement of staff during a fire drill can help you to see whether your evacuation process is allowing them to leave the building as efficiently as possible. You’ll be able to spot any bottlenecks which could be slowing their exit from the building. Having this information will help you optimise the procedure, identifying alternative routes where possible and reducing risk.
Prioritising your most immediate concerns means you’ll be concentrating your efforts on gathering the most relevant and actionable data from day one.
Focus on your objectives
The most important step to ensuring effective data-driven decision-making is to focus closely on your strategic objectives. If you’re looking to improve your profit margins, collecting data to learn more about regular outgoings is a good place to start.
Companies will often blindly accept a certain amount of annual shrinkage stemming from loss or damage to their stock or equipment. Collecting tracking data showing the whereabouts of key assets can help you pinpoint exactly where losses are occurring and take action to prevent them.
To improve efficiency, tracking the whereabouts and movements of machinery or apparatus can help give you a better understanding of your processes and identify any inefficiencies which are slowing things down.
For example, if your workers use machinery that requires charging – such as forklift trucks – you could collect data to compare the number of miles each vehicle is travelling before its driver stops to charge it. Forklifts that are being charged more frequently than others may indicate a technical issue causing the battery to run down faster than it should, or a driver who is simply charging too often. Having data which exposes the number of charging stops a forklift makes will allow you to investigate the cause and take appropriate action.
Attention to strategy at all times will ensure the data you collect is working for you, not the other way round.
Consider your business’ specific needs
Finally, when determining what information to gather, you should consider any particular requirements that your business has.
For instance, if your business supplies perishable goods like food, monitoring environmental factors such as temperature and humidity can be enormously beneficial. Tracking the conditions of your stock and its surroundings in real-time means you’ll know quickly if there are changes which could pose a risk, and help you to prevent costly waste.
If you’re a warehouse manager, collecting data which shows the routes taken by forklift drivers over a few weeks or months can help you to spot any journey bottlenecks which could be slowing things down or – even worse – creating a health and safety risk.
Thinking about the unique requirements of your own business when deciding what data to collect will help to keep you focused on what’s most relevant.
Having access to a breadth of data about your business’s operations, workers and inventory can be of great benefit when it comes to effective decision-making. However, focusing your attention on the most relevant data is key.