What is Your Distribution Data Telling You?

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Just collecting data from across your distribution organization will not help you accomplish anything, you need to take the next step and analyze it.

In an article on Forbes.com, the writer noted that, “For a while, people thought ‘Now that I have this data, it would tell me the answer.’ But soon they realized, data doesn’t speak, it only responds.”

If your distribution data isn’t telling you anything, that’s because it’s up to you to dig through it and analyze it.  That can seem like a monumental task, so here are three questions that you should ask yourself to help you get started:

1) How are we doing as an organization? Take a look at your industry to identify trends and benchmarks, then look at your own organization and see where you stand. How is each department performing? Use a Key Performance Indicator to measure your financial framework.

2) What is driving our business? Once you’ve identified the most important KPIs that you’ll focus on, make sure that you understand what is driving them. Distributors should ask: How are sales doing? Margin? Inventory turnover? Receivable collections? Personnel productivity? These are the elements that will make or break your distribution business. Understand the dynamics of your business through portfolio analysis.

3) What do my customers need? Distribution is an especially customer-centric business because most distributors don’t make anything; they sell it. It’s not enough to focus your efforts on the 10 biggest customers because those 10 customers aren't necessarily the most profitable customers. By understanding who your customers are and what they need, you can customize your offerings and messaging accordingly in order to delight your customers, securing their future revenue.

Distribution data collection and analysis isn’t something that you can just conjure up, however.  Having the right tools in place to help you is vital to effective distribution data analysis (https://www.sociusdistributionsolutions.com/applications/).

By Socius, an ERP Partner in Ohio (https://www.socius1.com)

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