A Business Dashboard is a single point, One-Integrated-View of the whole Business seen in Execution.
There are many Dashboard Solutions out there in the technology market and choosing among them is another discussion altogether.
At a fundamental level, what is more interesting is that a Business Dashboard can be used as a Tool to derive the Most Critical Measures that you MUST track in real-time to steer your business smoothly without any hiccups on a day-to-day basis.
Designing your Business Dashboard even on a piece of paper provokes a business owner to ask him/herself:
What do I need to know about my business, NOW, at this very moment?
- Are all Pending Sales Enquiries being responded to proactively? Which enquiries are STUCK?
- Have all Pending Sales Orders been scheduled to deliver across the entire supply chain (suppliers, transporters, warehouses, etc)? Where are the DELAYS?
- Is my Accounts Departments taking care of all Legal Compliance Issues well in time? Is there a likelihood of penalty anywhere (especially, if it has already happened in the past)?
- How effective is my Purchase Department? Are we taking all possible discounts? How much did we save in our purchases over the last month? Are we paying higher than the market rate? Are there new suppliers in the market who are offering the required quality at better rates?
- Is my Production on Schedule? Are Raw Materials adequately stocked? Is regular Maintenance being for done for all machines (especially, if there is history of breakdowns)?
- What is the percentage of Unplanned Absence (including unexpected ‘falling sick’) by staff? In which departments? How has such absence hampered work? During such absence, has the backup staff reported progress on all critical parameters?
- Which customers are consistently paying late? Why? Is the follow-up adequate? Is the follow-up log being sent to you without your asking for it?
Each business owner will have his/her Pain & Gain Areas! Where do you want to focus now? How can Technology help you in this? Can a technology solution help you if you have not done your homework?
It is a great idea to start with a Pencil and Paper! List what all you would like to see on single A4-size sheet. You may have to fill many sheets before you get your “One-Integrated-View of the whole Business”.
Then, perhaps you may move on to spreadsheets before finally experimenting with state-of-the-art tools.