We all know instinctively that better information leads to better decisions. It’s always easier to navigate in the day, rather than at night. Despite this, too many decisions continue to be made on gut feel and anecdote, despite the risk that a bad decision could leave the company floundering on the rocks.
The last decade has seen the world go digital – every business is under pressure to transform and implement digital programmes in some way or another. But for many, it is a minefield of jargon and new technology solutions so it can be hard to see how to apply and implement a digital strategy across the business. But before embarking on any transformation, a handle on the basics is essential. What data is available right now? How clean and accurate is it? What do you need data to tell you to make better decisions?
Data should be orientated around making better decisions.
Data should be visible and useful. But too often its unavailable, untrusted and unconnected. Legacy ERP systems do not connect, poor processes mean that data categorisation or classification is inadequate and supply chain planning suffers. Critical data might sit outside of your business, in your supply chain, with your third-party suppliers or customers. If this is the case, you need to collaborate and find ways to collect relevant data accurately and securely.
Teams need to understand that the quality of data matters and they can do something about it. Data should be the bedrock of the business and making sure that there are structures and processes to capture and record data accurately, is no longer a choice! If you can get your data to a point where it is accurate and trusted, there are plenty of solutions which will assist in analysis, visualisation and prediction. The goal is to create a single version of the truth, one picture around which people from different teams can align, debate and verify. If they can see trends clearly, suddenly, planning and scenario building become possible and will lead to improved strategy development. Decision making becomes easier, more reliable and more impactful.
Building enterprise value
Growth of revenue and profit to build enterprise value, requires everyone across the business to understand the financial impact of their decisions. Visibility and clarity of financial metrics is critical to success. It will change the way teams communicate and operate. They will have a better focus on the overall company objectives and will understand the impact of their decisions on the overall company performance.
Our recent research revealed in the UK Manufacturing Barometer, used Companies House data for the past 5 years, looking at the financial results of nearly 1500 small and mid-sized UK manufacturers. The results make interesting reading but more than anything, reveal how data can be used to understand what is happening inside your business and across your supply chain. Capturing and monitoring accurate data insights will enable you to manage all aspects of working capital which is essential for growth.