Inventory Analytics: Four Key Sales-Related Metrics to Watch

Key sales-related metrics. Woman using a barcode reader in a distribution warehouseThe ever-increasing digitization of the distribution business is generating ever-increasing amounts of data – and making it harder to discern which metrics are the most important for profitability and growth. For distributors, inventory is one of the most important drivers of success, thus underlining the need for insightful and actionable inventory analytics.

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In my last blog, I presented key metrics that track inventory alone and the interplay of inventory and employees. Today I will focus on inventory and sales numbers. Here are four metrics related to inventory and sales that will help distributors up their game. (more…)

Inventory Analytics: Two Sets of Metrics that Really Matter

Inventory analytics. Manager using digital tablet in warehouseDistribution is an intensely competitive business and inventory is key to determining profitability. Applying advanced analytics to inventory management is a savvy way for distributors to track their performance and gain insights that can fuel profitability and growth.

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There now are more than 30 metrics distributors can use to gauge their performance. I like to group inventory metrics into three sets: those concerned with inventory only, those that focus on the interplay of inventory and people, and those that track inventory with sales. Let’s take a closer look at the first two categories and how they can improve distributors’ performance. (more…)

Inventory Analytics: Laying the Foundation of Your Business

inventory analyticsAny business understands the power of data. Hard numbers lay the groundwork for the organization, holding up and supporting every wall and beam. Just as with an actual building, it’s important to put thought into the foundation. If you don’t properly consider this “design” phase, how do you know how your foundation will hold up?

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One critical data piece for a business to track from the start is its inventory. What’s moving? What isn’t? How long are products in inventory for? It’s important to understand these pieces of information in order to control costs and capture revenue. Here’s how organizations can use inventory analytics as a tool to meet and design their end goals. (more…)

How Analytics Saved Fieldale Farms $170K Per Year

fieldale farms, chickenThe tight U.S. labor market and uncertainty about corn and soybean prices are dual challenges for U.S. farmers and food producers this year. Compensation costs are up, making it tough for many companies to find the skilled workers they need. And while overall feed prices are down slightly, international tariff talk is unsettling and fueling uncertainty throughout the industry.

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With these two factors largely out of its control, Fieldale Farms, a Georgia-based poultry producer, is using analytics to improve its margins where it can. Here is a look at the company’s efforts and its impressive results. (more…)

3 Critical Metrics for Distributors

3 Critical Metrics for Wine & Spirits DistributorsThere’s no shortage of data and information. It’s everywhere. But how can you make data useful in order to make better decisions? That’s the hard part.

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There are several key metrics that distributors should track in order to improve their businesses. Following are three of these metrics, with examples of reports that Dimensional Insight has developed for our wine and spirits distributors so that they can be easily accessed and analyzed. (more…)

AI and Human Instincts: Better Together

Artificial intelligence, once the stuff of science fiction, is now so embedded in our lives that we often do not notice it. We are alternately grateful for and aggrieved by autocorrect on our phones. We take it for granted when Facebook tags our photos, Amazon recommends books, and detection algorithms help read our mammograms. Yet Gartner predicts there is much more AI to come. In its recent report, 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2022, Gartner posits, “The introduction of artificial intelligence across all types of business functions in all industries will accelerate and broaden. It will manifest itself in many if not most daily tasks from personal to professional, yet result in net job gains.”1

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That last part intrigues me, the notion that AI will create, not eliminate, jobs while becoming more enmeshed in our personal and professional lives. My theory? It’s because artificial intelligence greatly complements but cannot replace human intuition. AI and gut feelings – like bacon and eggs, they are better together. Here are three organizations using AI in 2018 to enhance human intuition, improving profits and lives. (more…)

How Data and Psychology Can Help You Identify Consumer Preferences

Humans are born curious. We spend our lives building relationships with others, wanting to know what makes our peers act the way that they do, and why they make the choices that they make. Shouldn’t companies be doing the same with their customers?

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Fully understanding consumer preferences begins with understanding the situations they are in. Will they act with reason? Or will their irrational thoughts overpower their rational mind? While both situations can be identified with analytics, there is more to the consumer than what the data reflects. With different situations impacting their purchase behavior, here are three ways to get a better hold on the consumer’s decision-making process. (more…)

3 High-Tech Trends That Are Changing Manufacturing

3 High-Tech Trends That Are Changing ManufacturingU.S. manufacturers have new incentives to modernize their factories. New tax rules make it more attractive for companies to invest in equipment, allowing manufacturers to immediately deduct the full cost of equipment purchases. Previously, companies were allowed to write off only a portion of the cost in a single year.

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The new rules apply for the next five years at least, creating the potential for sizable investments and modernization in U.S. factories along with opportunities to leverage the data it generates. Where might manufacturers focus their equipment investments? Here are three high-tech trends poised to change manufacturing. (more…)

The Magic Bullet for Designing Better Dashboards

di-surgery-advisorHave you ever looked at a dashboard and been overwhelmed by the various dials, charts and gauges? Did you spend more time deciphering than analyzing? Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

As a career design professional, I often find myself involved in heated discussions around dashboard design. One thing I’ve learned is that everyone has an opinion when it comes to look and feel. And while you might not be able to completely please everyone, you can design a dashboard or any information-based view in a way that allows people to make better, faster decisions using a single element: context. (more…)

BI Software Insight: 5 Pitfalls of Using Spreadsheets for Business Analytics

BI-Software-Insight-logoMicrosoft Excel is one of the most popular software applications, and with good reason: it’s easy to use and helps you quickly and easily analyze data and perform simple calculations. It also allows you to visualize this data via simple charts and graphs.

But far too many people rely on Excel for more robust data analysis. Using spreadsheets for business analytics can get you in trouble. Spreadsheets can contain thousands of links, formulas, and cell references, creating many of opportunities for error. A cell reference that is off by even one row or column returns significantly different results than what you want, and can place your company at significant risk.

BI Software Insight recently published “5 Pitfalls of Using Spreadsheets for Business Analytics,” which was written by Dimensional Insight Product Marketing Manager Kathy Walsh. (more…)