Visibility: How Seeing Your Business Clearly Boosts Profits

 In Best Practices, Business Intelligence

Improve visibility in your operations.

Written by Joseph McKnight, Software Support Technician at SalesPad

Stock outs. Unreliable data. Excessive processing times. Late shipments. Lengthy decision making. Sound bad? They are, and they’re all results of poor operational visibility.

Luckily, your business outlook doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Here are a few ways you can inject clarity into the day to day operations of your company, and increase your efficiency and profitability along the way.

Set up a workflow

Say you discover that orders are shipping from the warehouse late more and more frequently. What’s the cause? If it’s hard to find, it likely means you’ve got some blind spots.

When using a comprehensive overview of your business workflow, you can see the status of any given order at any given time, shining a light on bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

Standardizing your order-to-cash process is like putting on a pair of glasses for the first time. Once your operations adhere to a standard procedure, you can clearly see the lifecycle of an order and make any necessary adjustments to remove waste and run lean.

(Build) Trust in your data with improved visibility

Ahh, data — the cornerstone of great decision making. 

Is the sales team hitting its targets? What percent margin are you making on each of your items? What are your outstanding receivables for the past week? Without good operational oversight, finding the answers to these questions (and more!) is a tough task. 

When looking to ramp up your profits, you’ll want up to date information for every facet of your business. Payment data assists the accounting team in keeping the order-to-cash engine humming. Purchasing data tells warehouse staff when to expect the next resupply. Up to date customer information ensures any necessary followups go to the right person, and in a timely manner. Overall, this heightened clarity eases the process for order-to-cash acceleration.

It’s this type of visibility that truly sets a company apart. When you’re going out for a drive, why choose the clunker over the sports car?

Analyze historical data

Access to historical data not only shows what happened in the past, it provides invaluable assistance in strategic planning for the future. And while unexpected challenges have a penchant for darkening company doorsteps (so long, 2020), leveraging historical data can counter the effects of unplanned adversity.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” —George Santayana

Visibility into your historical data reveals where business was faster or slower than average, giving the chance to adjust resources accordingly. Additionally, it allows for seeing which items have been in demand and set more accurate reorder points as needed to ensure you have the inventory to meet customer demand and avoid the Bullwhip Effect .

Having insight into a customer’s sales history is also great for determining who your frequent fliers and biggest fish are. And while you might know some of this already, a greater level of detail grants specific opportunities to market to these big fish, show them that you value them, and further build a relationship.

From the support desk: Working in customer support, I’ve needed this information more times than I can count. I’ll use it to get background on customer issues and search for common themes or products that they’ve been working with. Using that information, I can provide documentation or even find an existing resolution.

Audit your activity

Tracking order changes, touches, status, and even mistakes provides significant clarity to the efficiency of your operations — and without a reliable auditing process, it’s just too difficult to find this information. 

Good auditing:

  • Keeps users accountable. If a document is priced incorrectly or an item is changed when it shouldn’t have been, having an audit of when those changes occurred that includes the username is vital to make sure these mistakes are reduced. 
  • Stores reliable records. Use this to ensure correct processing of orders. If a customer reports that their order is incorrect, having the audit to show when and how a change occurred allows you to better understand what actually took place. 
  • Helps you investigate issues. As a support technician, having the audit tab is a lifesaver. I can see when errors occur and what the error messages are, and frequently it leads to faster solutions.

This information sheds light on murky operations, further increasing the potential for productivity and efficiency.

Better visibility = greater profitability

Cloudy processes and distorted views of daily operations are an unfortunate norm for many businesses, but by taking the steps above to improve visibility, you’ll be amazed at the difference in efficiency you’ll realize in your business.

Need a prescription for better visibility? That’s what we do. Get in touch with us to learn where your business can improve clarity and bottom-line profits — sometimes in as little as two months.

 

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