We are often asked if an application like Quik Data can really make any difference to C-Store Sales and Profits. Assuming that solving problems can positively improve sales and profits, the question can be refined as follows:
Can having accurate information help you solve problems?
Surprisingly, the answer seems to vary widely when you talk to different people that are responsible for C-Store performance. It is not clear if the variance is related to the use or the quality of the information available.
So another way to think about the sales-and-profit value of information is to look at specific C-Store operations or results. When deciding how to spend time managing stores, what information is required to make decisions? If there is information that is necessary or helpful, then how much effort is required to access it. Further, does the manner in which it is collected, made available, shared and presented impact the whether the information is fully utilized? If the decision and actions are not guided by the correct information what is the impact? Consider if the following daily performance information would impact what action to take or whether a problem exists:
- Progress towards employee bonuses
- Client rating of store cleanliness
- Completion of shift duties at every store
- Projected monthly sales compared to your goal
- Summary of possible shrink activity on a daily alert
- Identification of new staff training needs
- Action plans with verification based on site audits
- A list of store inspections that are due
- A list of all work items for store repairs
- A list of all stores with urgent maintenance (e.g. coolers, pumps)
- The data needed to collect full vendor rebates with scan data
- Sales trends that are improving or declining significantly
- Daily score of store performance by day and month
- Documentation of staff training for age-based sales compliance
Timeliness, Delivery, Appropriateness and Context
Of course anyone can get this information if they have enough time and patience.
Several things impact the value of the information:
- How much time is required to get it
- How much time is required to read it
- How much time is required to understand it
- Does it show meaningful comparisons (same day, same month year over year)
- Does it highlight exceptions
- Does it meaningfully summarize detailed data
- Correlation to work responsibilities
Many decisions are made every day. Not making a decision is a decision. If you do not know about a problem and no action is taken there is some chance that it may continue forward. Likewise, spending time searching for a problem may interfere with other work. Knowing the severity and impact of problems helps to prioritize work.
Information is a service. The service quality varies. Good information services are timely, contextual, organized and succinct. Such information pinpoints actions that are needed. Such insights allow problems to be fixed faster. Faster resolution means improved results.
- How are you making decisions?
- Is there a costs to the work that is required to find the necessary information?
- What is the impact of the decisions and actions taken with incomplete information?