February 15, 2014
C-store operators always ask the best way to save time and make more money. Here are three reasons measuring improves our results:
1. Clarify what is important
2. Understand how we compare
3. Justify financial rewards
So you want to know how you measure up. The old saying that you don’t know where you are going until you understand where you have been is a reality when it comes to you and your business. The great literary detective Sherlock Holmes states impatiently “Data, data, data; I cannot make bricks without clay!” This ‘brick making’ is just as true when it comes to your business and how you measure yourself or your organization. Having data that matters helps you know where you are and then chart a course to where you need to be.
Measurements provide management clarity
Top performers, you will find, have figured out what is important to their success and what data to measure and they do so consistently and make it a part of their daily routine. These high achievers either have an instinctive knack for choosing the right activities or focus specifically on doing the key work that makes a difference. Inevitably they perform the work that gets results. They welcome measurements that are results oriented – their key performance indicators. For anyone, when they see the consistent application of measurements, they can easily ascertain what managers have requested of them. Of course, the old adage applies deeply here – be careful what you wish for.
How do you compare to others? If your bottom line is not what it needs to be, top performers turn to those that are successful to learn what they are doing and how they can emulate what they are doing for their own success. Borrowing ideas from successful people is never a bad thing; just make sure to give credit where credit is due. While there may be differences in regions, service lines and other factors, having comparable numbers is an objective way to compare and contrast. Simply knowing how others are performing will show possibilities and provide a basis for insightful questions. A shared set of numbers is by definition a form of collaboration. Everyone is sharing their results. Having a tool to analyze and learn facilitates improvement. As with any tool a balance between positive and negative feedback is necessary. Having objective information can increase the human factor as it helps to remove emotional and subjective feedback and focus on how to improve.
Financial results – profits – in business it all boils down to the bottom line! As we consider our motivators, we cannot avoid profits that drive so much of the financial considerations. While we all want a great environment and a satisfying work, we must achieve target financial results. Obviously, results maintain the jobs, security and standard of living. As we consider the desired outcomes – pay increases, better benefits and better equipment – we certainly make a stronger case when increased profits are part of the plan. Naturally, the financial improvements fulfill the three reasons measuring improves our results.
Many argue that measuring your work is a required part of any management process to maximize the potential of your company. Your data is simply nuggets of gold that need to be mined and processed for good data analytics. In this way, you to make quality decisions to drive your business goals.
Today, more businesses are using business intelligence to mine the performance gold. Obviously, organizations with lots of outlets have lots of data to dig. Today, this high volume situation is perfect for data analytics and artificial intelligence. Naturally, it can be tough to implement new technology in a busy work setting. Analysis can start small and grow. Simply get started. You will fine-tune and learn over a period of months and even years. There are so many benefits to measuring and sharing we suggest you pick a few key metrics and start. Find out how to share them consistently and openly with your company. Watch and learn and then grow your measurements. Just as you grow your skill, increase your measurements to enable more learning.
Dashboards show improvement results
One way to share key data is to create dashboards. Enable relevant views, For example, company-wide, region, district, factory, store, city, department, line, product or team. A dashboard can be a chart in an email, spreadsheet, PDF, web page or a dynamic tool built by professionals. Make sure the data is succinct and accurate. Make a plan, but get started and share the data. You have bricks to make and measuring improves our results.