During the coronavirus pandemic, companies have downsized, restructured and gone through all manner of structural changes. Despite the turmoil, some departments like maintenance and operations have continued largely with business-as-usual. Why? They are deemed essential.
Robust data reporting helps you prove your team’s impact on the bottom line, secure budgets for new projects and gain credibility—and therefore, leverage— with executive management.
You wouldn’t hire a mechanic to fix your car until you’ve read reviews and compared prices—or, in other words, until you’ve analyzed the data to make sure you’re making the best choice. The same goes with business decision-making, which is far more high-stakes, where data should be the basis of every decision you make.
Data reporting is the process of collecting and formatting raw data and translating it into a digestible format to measure the ongoing performance of your organization.
Different industries use it for different reasons. Healthcare providers use it to optimize patient outcomes and deliver personalized care. Energy companies use it to achieve things like lower energy consumption by monitoring streaming data to make real-time adjustments in energy use and production.
Using reports, dashboard widgets and live views, you can organize your data into informational summaries that monitor how different areas of the business are doing. Here are four big things you can achieve with better data reporting.
1. Improve your customer service
Customer data has become an invaluable asset, used in everything from ad targeting to sentiment analysis and ecommerce personalization. But even if you’re not a major retailer, you still need insight into how your customers feel about your product or service, what pain points they’re encountering during purchase or after-sales care, and what factors lead to churn.
Data reporting helps you piece together why customers are calling to complain, how much value a certain customer has brought to your business and whether that dollar amount has changed over time, as well as monitor how certain customer segments respond to various marketing or sales initiatives.
Meanwhile, maintenance management data provided by a CMMS helps reduce unscheduled downtime. Delays in production can create a poor customer experience, strain relationships with suppliers and upset the logistics supply chain.
2. Control operational costs
Using data to make more judicious budget allocations has obvious benefits in terms of cost control, but it can help you reduce wasteful expenditures. For example, proactive maintenance is an approach that uses historical data to predict when an asset will fail, and performing preemptive maintenance to avoid the massive costs of unplanned downtime (in the auto industry, this can be as high as $22,000 per minute). According to a study by Kimberlite, organizations that use a data-driven proactive maintenance approach see their downtime reduced by 36% compared with those who rely on reactive maintenance.
Extracting insights from historical data also helps capital-intensive businesses use data to reduce their physical inventory and unsold stock. When it comes to a massive power plant or manufacturing plant, having the right replacement parts in stock can mean the difference between hours—or even days— of unscheduled downtime (and lost revenue) while waiting for a part to arrive or a quick and easy fix.
3. Secure budgets for projects
Each department is responsible for demonstrating how their teams’ activities impact the organization’s bottom line. Data reporting provides teams with the ability to show tangible results, such as time saved by using a new project management tool or how much customer churn decreased since hiring a new customer success manager. Tracking data also helps you know where to allocate budgets to specific activities within marketing or sales. Are your display ads generating qualified leads, or are you better off using an account-based marketing strategy to target your most high-value prospects?
Maintenance teams starting with a preventive maintenance strategy for the first time can use data reporting to show return on investment and cost savings from prolonging asset life cycle. Finally, it can be hard to secure budgets for untested initiatives, but data reporting helps you establish a track record of results, thereby making it easier for you to make the case to executive management.
4. Make better hiring decisions
People analytics is the practice of using statistical insights from employee data to make talent management decisions. Over 70% of companies now say they consider people analytics a high priority. Some years ago, Google began distributing laptop stickers to new hires in the people analytics department with the slogan: “We have charts and graphs to back us up. So f**k off.”
The main purpose of people analytics is to determine the root cause of HR problems like a talent shortage, high turnover or an excessively long hiring process, plan interventions and prepare for future staffing needs. For example, if the organization needs to cut down on workforce costs, you can identify where you are losing money.
Perhaps your technicians’ wrench time is abysmally low (for most organizations, this hovers around 25-35%), which could mean poor work order management or even an incompetent manager. Digging deeper into the data helps you understand whether technicians are simply not working at full productivity, or if they’re simply not being assigned enough work because of an outdated maintenance management system.
Access to workforce data also helps you determine the characteristics of high-performing employees so you can find similar candidates in the future, or create a training and development plan for your less able employees.