Using Business Intelligence to Make Money

We are engulfed in the value of automation and online systems to help make businesses run better, more cheaply and more efficiently.  It is easy to forget that computers, their applications and easy to reach online resources are worth nothing without some sort of human involvement.  They are merely tools built to make humans function better, whatever their role or task may be.

In his book Zero to One, venture capitalist Peter Thiel states that “while computers can find patterns that elude humans, they don’t know how to compare sources or how to interpret complex behaviors. Actionable insights can only come from a human analyst.”

Peter states that companies  found the maximum benefit by having a computer find patterns or highlight items of interest culling through large masses of data, then allow an expert to look at the analytics to pick things to act upon. Rather than having one single solution either all computer based or all human based, team them to bring together the best of both for greater results.

When it comes to Business Intelligence software, the quality of the BI tools is how much analysis is provided to the expert so they can apply their knowledge to make recommendations for actions.  If you doubt this, ask yourself if you have ever  had to call a consultant in to interpret a situation for you using the information that you have.  He may have run the analysis for you but, he only left you with recommendations with which you were to make decisions that would be best for your business.

So by now, you may be saying you agree but asking how this interprets to making money.

Catching Revenue Loss as it Starts
Business Intelligence software in  a C-Store company will look for trends while gathering data over many days, weeks, months, or even  years. This will tell you when downturns should be expected and when things should be on the rise. It also allows you to see when you need to take action to optimize the sales or performance peaks and take action to minimize those dips you face each year.

Helps You Make Better Inventory Purchasing and Placement Decisions
When viewing the data, your managers will find things like the slow moving products that should be eliminated from your purchasing. It will  highlight the hot things where the money you just saved on the slow movers can make you more money. You will be certain that the inventory placed in the proper place in each store.

It Gives You a Better Perspective
It will monitor revenue impacting details like customer counts, cash over/short, voids, and returns, all of which will flag when problems may be starting. Human monitoring may not observe it to be a problem right away if  $50 a week loss was coming in at only $2.50 a shift. If you can find solve revenue burning problems early, you minimalize their impact to your bottom line.

Find the Things You Don’t Have Time to Look For
Because the monitoring process and analysis are automated, more can be considered in your evaluation. Manual analysis takes time and left to rely on paper reports and self analysis, you are forced to limit what you are to monitor so you can do all that you have to do in order to run your business. With the automation for Business Intelligence, you merely have to look at the results.

Here is what is important. It would not be that the software reported a loss of $50 in  a week at a store that solves your problem, but rather the Supervisor knowing it immediately and addressing the issue with the Store Manager  as soon as it is known.  BI software allows you to easily  monitor all aspects of revenue impacting performance that Managers just don’t have the time to do.   It is not that it is pointing out areas of concern, it is that it has the ability to highlight all areas of concern regarding your revenue and affords the manager the time to resolve them all.

 

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BandyWorks has been Awarded as Softech’s 2016 “Best Retail Business Intelligence Provider USA”!

 

BandyWorks is happy to announce that Quik Data™, our Business Intelligence software suite that was built just for C-Stores, was announced the winner of Softech Magazine’s 2016 “Best Retail Business Intelligence Provider- USA” award.  Visit Softech to read the article they wrote  about us.

BandyWorks has decades of custom and product development experience. Having expertise in systems integration and C-Store custom development it quickly has become the company to go to when wanting to get better information that what a typical C-Store Operation is getting.  We provide not only the first Business Intelligence built specifically for C-Stores that improves C-Store performance but also can program for your existing systems to get what you need from them.

Quik Data is our answer to the statement that C-Stores have too much data to be able to use it effectively.  It uses your data to monitor and report  performance metrics to help you find your issues more quickly but it also initiates the resolution of the problems that it finds.   It also allows you to view the trends of your business over time so you will  understand the patterns of your business flow of revenue to differentiate problems from normal ebb and flow.  Put more simply, it merely tells you what you need to know instead of telling you everything.   The easy to use interface can run on any mobile device keeping Supervisors to Executives entirely in the loop of what is going on in every store, every day.

Tom Bandy, CEO of BandyWorks commented, “It is so rewarding to have our hard work and innovative solutions recognized by this leading international organization.  We have put in a lot of hours and research into building our solution and this award will be a great motivator for all of us at BandyWorks.  We look forward to bringing out our next round of innovation in 2017.  We extend thanks to Softech for this high honor.”

If you would like to learn more about Quik Data and how it is helping C-Stores improve their store performance, then just call our sales team at (804) 744-8844 x 111 or, visit our website.  BandyWorks is still offering free trials of Quik Data.  You can enjoy receiving Manufacturer Scan Data Rebate Checks, watch your performance improve, and see quick progress to achieving your goals.  Who knows?  You may even set them higher next yea

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Store Performance Improvement Strategies – Should Failure be Encouraged?

Although sometimes we get improvement without effort, most would agree that if you need to improve a something then a change is required. And while we sometimes may ‘know’ in advance that a certain change will produce a better result, we also know changes are not guaranteed to work as intended. Nonetheless, many changes have anticipated negative effects initially, but will create better results over time. For example, many managers are willing to accept that a new hire is less likely to perform perfectly than one that has years of experience. In this example, poor results from the change of a new hire are temporary and even expected. This failure is easy to understand – it takes training and practice to gain the knowledge of how to do certain procedures.

It gets more challenging, however, when you have an experienced team that must respond and improve but is currently performing well. External or uncontrollable factors can impact performance. The economy can change, key supplies can be cut off, situations that can impact employee attendance and new competitors entering the market can all come into play. So even in high performance situations, there are times when change may be required.

Many operators seek constant improvement. Striving to improve keeps you growing and the old adage comes to mind – ‘you are either growing or dying.’

Regardless of the motivation any change implies risk of failure. Great managers encourage failure but also manage the risks. This is where leaders earn their keep. Knowing how to encourage and motivate staff to take risks and grow is one of the keys to long term success. Many managers know from experience that allowing experiments can lead to big improvements but they can cause problems as well. In ‘Challenging Success Versus Failure’ by Carlin Flora, Carlin  discusses the point that ‘There is no guarantee that failure will lead to success, but if approached head-on, with emotional openness and intellectual suppleness, it will lead to psychological growth.’ In short, while it can be emotionally brutal, facing a failure head-on can provide insights that lead to improvements. She explains, ‘Once we face failure, embracing it honestly and fully, its true gifts, which are subtle, nonflashy, and not easily quantifiable, can emerge.’

For example, you may choose the wrong product, but have great promotion, timing and placement. By failing on one item, you may learn that you can successfully garner attention of customers but you have to also provide what they need. Certainly sun screen in the summer near the beach may sell better than during cloudy winter months. You may want to offer stock-up promotions during those grey months to compensate for the expected lower sales so you can get more with each transaction you may have.  The placement and timely positioning however, will work with the right product at the right time.

Of course, learning and experience applies to all aspects of running operations: hiring, motivating, training and just about everything that you manage.  Thinking outside of the box or seeking change in the way things are done can sometime be the only way to solve a problem.  Teaching your team to do so with risk reduction in mind is an art.  Helping your team to have a safe way to take risks may allow them to grow and ultimately succeed in significant ways and solve your problems.

 

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