Operations Reporting 101 for SMB

Updated: June 01, 2010

Based on my own experience in small as well as large businesses, I have listed below the basic data that I believe is necessary to produce appropriate reports and where this data could be sourced from:

Freight:

  • Consignment note details: Softcopy of freight invoice (Excel)
  • Cost of each consignment note: Softcopy of freight invoice (Excel)
  • Sales value of each consignment: Obtain from - IT/Finance

Inventory:

  • Total inventory valuation: Obtain from - IT/Finance
  • Total Sales Revenue: Obtain from - IT/Finance
  • Lines on backorder: Obtain from - IT/Finance
  • Excess Stock value: Obtain from - IT/Finance

Staffing:

  • FTE total hours: Obtain from Payroll/HR
  • Overtime hours: Obtain from Payroll/HR
  • Sick Leave hours: Obtain from Payroll/HR
  • Total Salary Cost: Obtain from Payroll/HR
  • Quantity of orders entered: Obtain from - IT
  • Value of Orders entered: Obtain from - IT/Finance

FREIGHT: By basing these three data items around the consignment note you easily get the cost of freight per sale dollar. The next level of reporting is to use the other data that is included with the consignment note, eg: sum into delivery location/zone, now you can also see which zone is costing the most compared to sales - the relationship is not just dependant on distance from source but also value of the order.

This can be done weekly or monthly with the resulting report indicating any overall delivery cost trends at a higher level, but at the detail (customer level) this can prompt requesting customers to change their ordering profile, eg: minimum value of order.

INVENTORY: This amount of data allows tracking of financial as well as customer servicing. Use sales revenue/total value to ascertain stock turn (You want to show higher stock turn rather than lower).

‘Lines on back-order' is an indicator of your true supply performance and highlights the offending products (and suppliers). If the total quantity of each is added, you can now compare this report to the previous to see trends in supply. This report should be done no less than weekly and will be a snap shot as "backorders" in most systems is a dynamic field (you cannot extract history).

Excess stock is any stock that has not sold for a specified period, the period will depend on a number of factors but the result is a report of products that you must move to reduce expenditure. Actions to mitigate excess stock (a brief all its own) is a critical ongoing function of the SOP process. As you get more proficient using this data - and spreadsheets - it will be easier to drill down to item level across all reports.

STAFFING: This data will help produce reports that indicate efficiency of work, when compared with sales and quantity of orders is indicates not only the effectiveness of the team but also how the ordering profile relative to input cost (similar to freight).

Combining and comparing the data from the different functions can also be used to gain further visibility to the business, for example using the number of lines going to backorder as a percentage of orders placed over the week. Also notice that I request transport suppliers to provide copies of their invoices in Excel format, this can save an untold amount of work and can also be used as an audit trail if there are discrepancies in rates. Hard copies can still be provided to accounts payable for processing if required.

Featured Research
  • 2017 Contact Center Software Trends

    Did you know that, according to Forbes, 86 percent of customers will pay more for a better customer experience? Customer satisfaction is always a worthy business pursuit, but to identify customer preferences and exceed expectations, you must keep pace with innovations in the technology your customers are using. more

  • The Social Intranet: A guide to getting better business results

    This whitepaper describes why the shift from a traditional to a social intranet is imperative to staying competitive, and analyzes the costs and benefits associated with implementing one. You will also find useful KPIs to measure performance and further leverage your intranet's success, raising employee engagement and boosting your competitive advantage. more

  • How to Select Contact Center Software in 9 Steps

    Your choice of contact center software will affect the future success of your business. Don’t leave this important decision to chance. This guide provides nine actionable steps for the selection process. more

  • [Infographic] 15 Questions to Ask When Selecting a VoIP Provider

    Deciding which phone system is right for your business can be difficult. With our VoIP technology blueprint, discover the top 15 questions you should ask VoIP vendors before you make a buying decision. more

  • 2017 Business VoIP Buyer's Guide

    In 2017, more business will transition to a VoIP phone system. If you are among them—or if you’ll be upgrading an existing VoIP system—you need to learn about the latest technologies and market trends. more