When manufacturers and distributors seek to grow their business or stay ahead of the competition, they often focus on the nitty gritty details of efficient supply chain management. This is indeed critical, but it’s always important to keep the end goal in sight: finding and keeping customers. At the end of the day, you need happy customers who are buying your products, otherwise your distribution or manufacturing business will go nowhere.
Although quality marketing and good communication are important, a key aspect of customer satisfaction is being able to provide products on time by reducing stockouts. Giving customers the products they want, when they want them, is the essential ingredient for success in manufacturing and distribution. Using real-time dashboards can help your business avoid stockouts and increase customer satisfaction.
How can dashboards help? We’ve provided a few ways below and encourage you to read our eBook, 7 Eye-Opening Ways Dashboards Change the Game for Distributors and Manufacturers, for even more.
Dashboards can allow your organization to:
1. Keep an eye on inventory KPIs
Dashboards make it easy to view Key Performance Indicators in real-time. KPIs help by quantifying and monitoring service-level targets, and then comparing those against actual performance. Although each business has different needs, common KPIs include inventory turnover, holding costs, rate of return, lead time, and perfect order rate.
These indicators should be focused on the possible weak links in your supply chain, so you keep everything flowing smoothly. In addition to avoiding stockouts and earning customers’ trust, this can also help everyone in your organization understand what their goals are and where to focus their energies.
2. Understand inventory performance and trends
In addition to showing the specific snapshots provided by KPIs, dashboards make it easy to analyze inventory performance on a broader level.
- Monitor your inventory items to make sure stock levels are optimized
- Reveal slowing or accelerating demand for particular items
- Provide early warning for expiration dates so you can plan promotions
Timelines of trends can help you track new items to assess their performance, understand how promotions are impacting sales and margins, and make sure stock levels are within safety parameters. All of this helps ensure better inventory management, creating the sort of reliability that customers are looking for.
3. Use alerts to make sure things happen
Dashboards can be augmented with built-in alerts so you take action at the right time. Too much info and too many distractions can make even the most conscientious planner miss something important, either in terms of data or needed action.
Rules-based alerts bring attention to inventory stocking levels or events outside defined parameters, so your team members throughout the supply chain can be proactive and everyone can avoid the sort of surprises that create stockouts. Set up low inventory alerts, expiration date tracking, purchase alerts, promotion alerts, and more to ensure timely action.
Dashboards can help manufacturers and distributors improve customer satisfaction, and they can also have many other positive effects. If you’re interested in learning more about dashboards and how they can help your organization, check out our eBook and contact us.