Operations data is essential for understanding and improving business performance. However, many organizations struggle to make effective use of this data. In this article, we’ll share 12 tips for making better use of your operations data.
Stay on top of the status of your equipment
One of the best things you can do with your operations data is to ensure that your equipment is always in good working order. This means tracking things like maintenance schedules, repair records, and performance data.
By keeping on top of your equipment statuses, you can minimize downtime and ensure that your machines are always running at peak efficiency. There are a number of different equipment maintenance software applications that can help you with this, or you can simply create your own system using Excel or another spreadsheet application.
Start with the customer in mind
When it comes to making better use of your operations data, always start with the customer in mind. Every decision you make about how to collect, manage and use data should be based on what will provide the best experience for your customers. After all, they are the ones who will ultimately be using your products or services.
You will want to develop some customer-centric KPIs that ensure you are measuring the right things and making decisions based on what will improve the customer experience. This could include things like order accuracy, delivery times, or customer satisfaction scores.
Make data collection a priority
If you want to make better use of your operations data, you need to make sure that you are actually collecting it in the first place and, importantly, making sure it’s quality data. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many businesses don’t really have a handle on what data they should be collecting and why.
Sit down with your team and brainstorm all of the different types of data that could be useful to you in improving your operations. Once you have a good list, prioritize which data points are most important and make sure you have systems in place to collect them.
Automate data collection whenever possible
Collecting data manually is time-consuming and prone to error. Whenever possible, automate your data collection processes using technology like barcode scanners, RFID tags, or sensors. This will help to ensure that your data is accurate and up-to-date, which is essential for making good decisions.
In order to know what to automate, you need to first find out where the bottle necks are and what kind of tedious manual work people hate doing. Consider surveying your team or doing some process mapping to identify these areas.
Use data to improve your forecasting
One of the most important uses for operations data is forecasting. By analyzing past trends, you can get a much better idea of what kind of demand you are likely to see in the future and plan accordingly. This is especially important in industries with high seasonality or rapidly changing trends.
There are a number of different ways to approach forecasting, but one of the simplest is to use Excel or another spreadsheet application to create a forecast model. This can be as simple or complex as you need it to be, but even a basic model can be helpful in give you a general idea of future demand.
Use data to improve your inventory management
data can also be used to improve your inventory management. By keeping track of things like customer demand, sales patterns, and supplier lead times, you can make sure that you always have the right level of inventory on hand. This can help to minimize stockouts and maximize sales.
There are a number of different software applications that can help you with inventory management, but even a simple Excel spreadsheet can be effective if used correctly. The important thing is to track the right data points and update your inventory levels accordingly.
Analyze your process data to find bottlenecks
If you want to improve your operations, one of the best things you can do is analyze your process data to find bottlenecks. By understanding where your processes are falling down, you can make changes to improve them.
There are a number of different ways to go about analyzing your process data. One of the simplest is to create a flowchart that shows each step in the process and how long it takes. This can help you to identify where the bottlenecks are so that you can make changes to improve efficiency.
Use data to improve your scheduling
Data can also be used to improve your scheduling. By analyzing things like customer demand, production rates, and equipment availability, you can create a schedule that maximizes efficiency and minimize downtime.
A lot of the reason for bottlenecks and delays is that schedules are not optimized for the resources that are available. By using data to create a more realistic schedule, you can avoid these problems and keep your operation running smoothly.
Keep track of your customer order data
Another important use for operations data is keeping track of customer orders. This information can be used to improve your forecasting, scheduling, and inventory management.
It is important to track both the customer orders that you are able to fill and the ones that you are not. This will help you to understand where your operation is falling down and what changes need to be made.
Use data to improve your quality control
Operations data can also be used to improve your quality control. By tracking things like customer complaints, rejected products, and process defects, you can identify problems so that you can fix them.
Quality control is an important part of any operation, and it is essential to ensuring that your customers are happy with your products. There are a number of different software applications that can help you with quality control, or you can simply create your own system.
Analyze your data to find cost savings opportunities
One of the best things you can do with your operations data is use it to find cost savings opportunities. By understanding where your money is being spent, you can make changes to reduce expenses.
All sorts of cost-saving information can be gleaned from otherwise mundane data points. For example, by analyzing your energy usage data, you may be able to find ways to reduce your power consumption and save money. Or, by looking at your maintenance records, you may be able to identify opportunities to extend the life of your equipment and reduce repair costs.
Use data to improve safety in your operation
Safety is another important consideration in any operation. By analyzing data related to accidents, injuries, and near-misses, you can identify potential safety hazards so that you can take steps to mitigate them.
Your safety record affects everything from turnover to insurance rates. Therefore, it is important to take a data-driven approach to safety in your operation.
Use data to improve employee productivity
Data can also be used to improve employee productivity. By understanding how your employees are performing, you can identify areas where they may need additional training or support. You might be failing to properly utilize your employees’ skills, or you may have processes that are too inefficient.
In either case, data can help you to make the changes that are necessary to improve employee productivity. There are a number of different software applications that can help you track employee performance, or you can simply create your own system.
Operations data can be used in a number of different ways to improve your operation. By taking a data-driven approach, you can identify bottlenecks, optimize your scheduling, track customer orders, and find cost savings opportunities. You can also use data to improve safety and employee productivity. In short, if you are not using data to improve your operation, you are at a competitive disadvantage.