Dictionary.com defines trending as the general course or prevailing tendency. This perspective is a necessary component or perspective to have when evaluating Convenience Store performance. So if this is so great, why aren’t all companies doing it?
The reason usually points to the time it takes to gather and chart the statistics so you can clearly see how things are trending. With limits on staffing and time, few companies have the resources to do it. Business Intelligence tools can help you with that, and good ones will even do it for you. When you look at the pay off of peace of mind in knowing the decisions are made and based on facts, being able to look forward, and save money based on patterns and trends, the pay off is much larger than the cost. There are 4 distinct benefits that trending will give you what you cannot get by looking at a standard performance report.
1. Proper Perspective
It will give you a proper perspective to determine if performance was actually superior or inferior because you can compare it to performance patterns over time When looking at the above graph showing weekly sale performance, you may think that sales on the last Saturday of the month were phenomenal, because it was so much better than the sales over the past few days. However, when looking at the trending in the diagram you will see that it was actually the poorest performing Saturday of the month.
2. Succinct Scheduling
It will allow you to set scheduling more succinctly. If using the same diagram above you are able to determine your busiest and slowest days to be able to determine staffing needs throughout the week given the trends.
3. Peak Months
The same can be said for inventory levels as well. If you look at sales over a year, you can easily determine your peak months and be able to set inventory levels according to your trends.
4. Patterns of Growth
Of course your biggest gain is seeing how your performance is trending and whether your business is in a pattern of growth or in decline. This allows you to know when action is needed or perhaps when further analysis is required. If things are trending upward, a bad day may not alarm you as much as it would if things were trending downward. Trend analysis removes you from managing by hunch and moves you to doing so by facts. It also can allow you to see how things will be as you go forward to help you prepare for upcoming expectations. The Queensland Industry and Business Analysis website said it best in their “Trend Analysis for Business Improvement” article:
“Trend analysis helps you understand how your business has performed and predict where current business operations and practices will take you. Done well, it will give you ideas about how you might change things to move your business in the right direction.”