This blog originally published in Printing Impressions
When we look at leading companies, one of the common denominators is having good information — meaningful, relevant, and timely information. Running a business that’s involved in delivering custom manufactured products in a limited timeframe leaves little room for error, and having the right information available is vital to making the daily, critical decisions that a graphic arts CEO has to make. What does your dashboard look like?
What are the important drivers for your business, the areas you need to “check” daily or weekly to make sure that you’re on course? Here are a few of the critical ones that I see being tracked, some more obvious than others:
Sales – Sales feeds your economic engine, your fuel. Do you have enough of it and are you running premium or regular? How do you know and how can you tell? Start measuring and looking at these components: booked sales, invoiced sales, estimates, sales by rep, sales by department or service, and projected sales. For the ambitious, you can look at what percentage of your customer spend you are capturing and if you are doing a good job cross-selling your various capabilities. Add to that how many new presentations your team made last week and what type of meaningful conversations they are having with their prospects and customers.
Financial – Cash is king. Look at cash and your cash flow, look at AR and AP, look at ship to bill days and DSO – get those invoices out faster, and keep the balance sheet on track.
Operating Performance – How are you performing to estimated costs and speeds, how are your chargeable hours — do you have the right complement of staff in various departments, what does your backlog look like and how about your on-time delivery? Look at payroll to value added and keep the ratio’s in line. What are you doing to increase your operating performance? Taking five minutes out of each makeready or adding 10 minutes of runtime into each hour of machine running? Doing the little things matter and they all add up to lower costs of operating and a more efficient and reliable operating platform.
Customer Satisfaction – Customers are loyal until the day they aren’t. What are you doing to keep tabs on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty? There are various studies that show the correlation between high levels of customer loyalty and profitability. This is important to your business.
Marketing – How are you making the phone ring? Measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by the eyeballs that you capture, by your followers, and by those who download and comment on your content. Getting inquiries are great, but they are only great if they are from the right audience and you have integrated your sales and marketing efforts to effectively capture those inquires and turn them into revenue.
Whether you are the CEO, operations manager, or sales manager, having this information is critical to helping you make good decisions, taking action where necessary, and providing feedback and coaching to your team. What’s on your dashboard? Send me a note or leave a comment if you’re looking at different things.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.