Dashboards and e-commerce analytics provide visibility for different departments to see information that’s relevant to them. Distributors can use these tools to improve decision-making because they paint a big picture of the data.
Most modern distribution ERP systems have dashboard-type analytical functions or tools. It’s a matter of using that functionality. When systems are first implemented, they’re only implemented to base functionality. And while it can take a lot of time and effort to customize functions, it’s important to take this step in order to pull information out of the system in an organized, easy fashion.
Ease of use is important for allowing anyone in the organization to use the data from a dashboard. Every role in the organization, not just IT, should be able to decide what information needs to be seen, and can create a dashboard and use it to pull data. Many dashboards these days are graphics oriented, with a feature for pulling data that resembles a speed dial, for instance. This makes it easier to interpret and compare data.
Putting good data into the hands of decision-makers can help improve an organization’s efficiency. The key to obtaining the most usable information is to segment the data by role, and there are different dashboards available depending on a person’s role in the company. For example, a CFO would want to see financial-related dashboards reflecting gross margin by item, a purchasing manager would want to view data about inventory turnover, while a sales manager is more likely to require information such as sales by customer.
These are some of the areas in which e-commerce analytics would provide useful information to distributors. A dashboard can provide you with a snapshot of where your operations are at any given point in time and monitor progress over a specific period of time, such as a month, quarter or year.
Distributors should tap the information in their ERP distribution software to meet their goals. According to the white paper, “Why use dashboard metrics?,” by Research & Communications, “A dashboard can be a critical tool for company decision-making provided that it is comprised of metrics that are the best predictors of success. … The data in a dashboard should be clean, usable and integrated in a way that is meaningful to the company.”
Of course, a dashboard is only as good as the information in your ERP system. Success depends on getting insight from accurate data and presenting it in a meaningful way.
In the end, dashboards can be powerful tools, providing information that is easy to interpret and use in making decisions. The key is to ensure each dashboard is tailored to the role of the person using the information.