Philie Group Blog

Five Critical Components of Your Dashboard: Part 2
By Mike Philie

When we last looked at this, we identified five critical areas: sales, financial, operating performance and customer satisfaction as the vital components that should be on your management dashboard. While few dashboards I’ve seen have all five of these components, most have a sales and financial element to them. Yet, when service issues arise, the culprit is often hidden within the operations area. Adding more transparency to your operating performance may help you be proactive with meeting SLAs and other delivery commitments, as well as help minimize the finger pointing when things don’t go as planned.

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 must make. And sharing this information with your staff shows that it’s important and helps to keep everyone engaged and focused on the task at hand.

For example, on-time shipping – did everything go out on time yesterday? Do you know or do you assume that it did? That also goes for estimated versus actual production times. Are you ahead or behind schedule on that major campaign? How about the client facing team, how do they know job status and is it up to date? Would it be helpful if they could stay ahead of any potential situation? I know, so many questions. Afterall, no one wants to hear that something is not going to happen after it was supposed to happen. Wasn’t it the Holiday Inn hotels that coined the phrase “the best surprise is no surprise.”

Most print MIS systems do well in helping to report on departmental loading, scheduling, and performance. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, dependent on the nature of your business. And while many provide their own version of a CRM, the adoption rates have been less than stellar.

The key is to maximize the investment made in the MIS by tapping into all the resources it offers and building onto it as needed for each business. Leaders don’t use it as an excuse or an obstacle. They overcome it. The leaders use these tools as a competitive advantage in the way they operate, engage their staff, and perform in the marketplace.

Client loyalty gets tested every day. Your competitors are catching up with you and are doing cartwheels in front of your customers to get their attention. Things happen, I get it. Having accurate and timely information can help minimize the wounds that could be avoided if everyone is in the loop.

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? Whether you are the CEO, or the operations manager, having this information is critical to helping you make good decisions, acting 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 ambitious owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, 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.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions


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