C-Stores, If you come to the fork in the data, take it
Yogi Berra was often lampooned for his seemingly non-sensible statements. But the easy to remember and thoughtful concepts help to clarify issues and allow simple choices. His take the fork statement made sense when you understand that he lived mid-way on a circular road. When driving to his house you came to a fork. Either way, worked just as fast and easy to get to his house.
Using data sometimes can be similar. When providing data analysis to our C-Store clients we often hear concerns about things that prevent them from making the change. The most common concerns we hear are the following:
- Data overload – They feel they have enough reports that they really don’t look at now
- Process changes – There is a process change involved from what they may be doing currently
- Overwhelming our staff – Many changes had already been adopted during the year and they feared adding another
- Work overload – They want their store employees to be focused on customers and not software.
All of these issues are real and should be addressed. We find, however, that to measure and compare work results to goals is always useful. Small process changes and a little extra data entry can be a very small trade-off for doing things much more efficiently as a whole.
The point is that we learn and have objective data teaching us important information. When we wait until we have all the other items done or we know every possible outcome of the all data we may not start learning and improving. Things can begin to plateau. When has doing nothing ever helped anyone when a change is needed?
Certainly a plan is to be created and communication established in its implementation. However, analysis paralysis may be more damaging than a program. Even with the best of plans, programs are typically adjusted as they work their way into an environment and culture. Our company is able to work with companies who want to use data analytics. What we find among all of them is that they do the work, learn from the results and make adjustments as lessons are learned. Another common trait was that they always improved. None of them ever regretted getting started.
These companies simply picked a side and went forward in their journey. When things got better, there was no reason to look back. Hence, we often like to use our friend Yogi to remind ourselves. When you come to the fork in the road, just take it.