Distributors and Manufacturers: How to Transform Your Business with Dashboards

Table of Contents

For distributors and manufacturers, maintaining good margins requires reducing costs while increasing customer satisfaction. You have to continuously hone your processes and decision-making so you’re operating on the razor-thin edge of maximum efficiency. With today’s technology, it’s possible to gather loads of data about daily operations. The challenge is how to compile and interpret this data, then act on it in a timely fashion. Customizable dashboards can provide the real-time flow of understandable information that your team members need to achieve this.

Our newest eBook, 7 Eye-Opening Ways Dashboards Change the Game for Distributors and Manufacturers, gives concrete examples of how your organization can best use dashboards to improve daily operations. Here’s a brief overview of some of the major points:

1. Improve forecasting and eliminate spreadsheets

Spreadsheets have historically been the basis of forecasting, but in a market with fierce competition, organizations need to have real-time forecasts that can be easily adjusted. With the right software, forecasting can be automated, precise, and easily improved.

Forecasting algorithms bring accuracy and speed by performing calculations including factors like:

  • Seasonality
  • Events and promotions
  • Forecast error
  • Short life cycle products
  • Demand trends
  • Historical outliers
  • New product introductions

A forecasting dashboard can use these calculations and show big-picture data in a powerful visual format. This gives your team the chance to analyze and apply their knowledge based on complete information. Forecasting dashboards support proactive decisions by offering both detail and summaries.

2. Help planners see the big picture

For distributors and manufacturers, demand planning and forecasting forms the foundation of all your other business decisions and operations. Forecasting helps planners decide where to allocate resources, which ultimately affects every part of the business process.

Sorting through detailed information for each SKU and distribution center can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to miss key variables that might affect your organization in the future. Dashboards and automated forecasting can condense this information and provide a visual summary of the most important data.

Dashboards for your organization’s planners should include metrics such as supply chain and inventory indicators, recommendations for maintaining safety levels of inventory, actual sales vs forecasted demand, and real-time simulations of demand/supply adjustments. Planners can also take advantage of built-in tools such as purchase alerts, calendars, and more.

3. Optimize purchasing

Traditionally, purchasing agents do their job by relying on an overwhelming amount of spreadsheet data, plenty of past experience, and a healthy dose of intuition. It can be nearly impossible to consider all the factors, such as kitting dependencies, hub and spoke warehousing, order cycle intervals, transit times, and supplier multiples and minimums. In order to fully analyze this data for daily decisions, your purchasers need automated analytics and real-time dashboards.

With dashboards, purchasing variables can be viewed in real-time so team members can make the right decisions as factors change.
Dashboards help purchasing agents:

  • Get an overview of the data
  • Balance supply chain variables
  • Work proactively with vendors
  • Optimize stock
  • Simplify data overload
  • View details such as graphs of vendor reliability or current inventory across warehouses

Learn more about the power of dashboards

If you’d like to learn more about the transformative power of dashboards, read the eBook and contact us today to learn more about StockIQ intelligent supply chain planning.

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