I've been working with a client recently on a SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) program. We are gaining access to powerful information that will help them hire at the "right" time (not too early – and, more importantly, not too late when considering growth & ramp up curves), train/cross-train at the right time (as growth requires new skills), upgrade and purchase machines at the "right" time (certainly, who wants to spend millions in capital too soon – or worse, too late as customers will be up in arms), buy new buildings at the "right" time and so on.
Databases can have great power if you set up the "right" categories and access the "right" information at the "right" time! In essence, in SIOP, databases help us automate and access critical demand and supply information to make key decisions and visualize the current state/future state. At my client, although we are in the design stage of the process, we are using what makes sense immediately and have already received positive feedback from their #1 customer. Nice way to end my week!
One tip to implement this week:
Databases are powerful for countless business decisions and programs. You could be trying to determine pricing, where to focus your sales force, where to focus efforts in manufacturing, how to eliminate waste and so on. Think about what data is important to your company – and your role.
If data is being tracked, gain access to it and think about how you could analyze the data. If it isn't being tracked, start by tracking a few key metrics. The nice thing about data and trends is that you'll have a trend after two days of tracking data. Eventually you'll be able to look at not only yesterday vs. today but last week vs. this week and last month vs. this month and last year vs. this year. Once you look at it this way, new ideas, opportunities and potential bottlenecks will naturally emerge.