Image by Bob Mical

All businesses collect data, most of it out of necessity, for example to meet taxation requirements. But is there value in measuring and collecting other data?

The simple answer is that data can be a powerful tool but if that data is not being used to improve the business, then it is probably wasted time and effort. The objective must be to collect data that can expose opportunities for business improvement. It becomes totally wasted if that data then becomes just part of a business report that everyone scans over monthly nodding or shaking their heads knowingly before moving onto the next topic.

Firstly, the data must be aligned to the company’s goals and vision, in other words based on Key Performance Indicators. Those KPI’s must have targets. If the data is considered important enough to be measured and collected then someone must be held accountable for what it is representing, its gap to the desired target and the actions needed to achieve the target or set a more challenging target.

Sharing of the data, the relative targets and proposed actions is important with all the stakeholders the data relates to. For example, if you are measuring the number of productive units per day or the number of defective units, this data should be displayed in the area where the production or defects occur. Hold meetings with stakeholders in the area whilst reviewing the data and ask them for their support and assistance in achieving the targets. Instead of taking the data back to the management team, have the management team come to where the data is and discuss the actions on site. This reinforces to the people who control the results that this information is important.

Therefore, instead of asking if your data is of any value, ask whether you are using the data to drive value.

If you require more information on data collection or its use in improving your business, contact your local SER® representative.

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