Go back in time, not too far, and remember when you used to ring or fax your orders to your suppliers? They supplied your goods within a few days along with a paper delivery note and your invoice would then be posted through a few days later. The good old days!
That was the sum total of your supplier interaction. Ask them then for usage reports for the month, quarter, or year and you would be greeted with a blank stare. Any basic analysis of expenditure had to be done by you – manually.
In recent years with ordering and invoicing moving predominantly to online it has meant that the data for the whole transaction is being captured and is now being turned into useful management information.
Common examples of such management information would be –
- Office supplies usage reports for period of time or for each office or department
- Telecom bills will a full breakdown of calls made, type of call, length of call, and cost per call
- Energy reports showing amounts used in any half hour segment by each meter or sub-meter
- Franking machine reports showing mail sent by weight or destination
- Photocopier audits showing usage by each print device, even down to usage per person if PIN codes are used.
None of the above is alien to most businesses, you may well already receive this but how many of you actively use it?
With this data in hand you can start to make significant savings within your business, it gives you much more clarity within your organisation and a focal point for you to drive through savings.
Here are just a few ways you can do this –
- Comparing data between two departments or sites can be very powerful. Assuming each operation does roughly the same work then you can quickly see where there is waste.
- Analysis of consumables data will quickly show if you are duplicating items bought. Normally this will be an item that is at a contract price and a similar item that is off contract price. Enforcing the use of a contract price list will bring immediate savings
- Energy and telecoms data will quickly show you spikes in usage that or out of line with normal use. This can be a staff member calling a premium line (competition call-ins or relatives abroad is common), or a spike in electricity could be equipment and machinery left on overnight. Once you can see the spike it is easy to see where it is occurring and rectify it.
- Use the data when tendering your supply out to the market. The more information a supplier has when looking to prepare a proposal the more accurate they can make their prices.
These are just a few ideas for you but never forget “knowledge is power” and this information at your fingertips should never be under-utilised.
For more ways to use management information to improve your business contact us