New tools and technology are constantly being adopted to help businesses like yours work more efficiently. Analytics is just one more method to augment your company’s success.
“Landscape businesses that can provide quick estimates, manage their labor diligently and deliver on customer expectations will continue to be successful,” says Sean Kramer, CIO for SiteOne Landscape Supply. “Easily accessible inventory will be key, but above all, businesses that deliver consistently excellent customer service will win out.”
If you have implemented business software, then ideally, this platform will provide all the analytical data your business needs.
Why Analytics Matter
Analytics allow you to be more prescriptive and predictive.
“Businesses can measure how much labor is needed to complete a job and associate that with the impact on profitability and customer satisfaction scores,” Kramer says. “It is critical to set up these measures, monitor how the business trends throughout the year and adjust forward in the upcoming months as necessary. Weather events constantly impact our industry. Proactively managing for unexpected obstacles, while leveraging analytical data, is important.”
Kramer says analytics also help business owners course correct for different scenarios that might play out. For instance, if one line of business is more profitable than another, this can lead you to invest more in that service or eliminate an offering that is losing money.
“This analysis can provide guidance associated with customer habits, areas of focus for competitors and the direction of the entire market,” Kramer says.
If you don’t have a data analytics strategy, you will be less certain of the moves you make and driving business success is more difficult.
Using Analytics Effectively
While the slow season can be a good time to reset the data points you monitor, reviewing your analytics needs to be built into the culture of your company.
“It’s an integral part of doing business today,” Kramer says. “In this ever-changing economy, the profitability and efficiency of your business needs to be measured 365 days a year.”
To not be overwhelmed by the wealth of data available, set key performance metrics associated with your business. Kramer says these metrics should be as simple as possible, but analytics is an ongoing journey that continues to evolve.
“The power is in the data,” he says. “Once the data is in your possession, you have control over the reins of the business. You can review data using analytical tools, in different ways, and gain further insight.”
An overlooked data point to watch is customer behavior.
“Customers differ in terms of job size and preferences, especially across different geographies and seasons,” Kramer says. “The state of the economy and how that impacts customer behavior can fluctuate. Also, keeping a close eye on your cost of goods to ensure expected profitability is key.”
After reviewing your analytics, implement a series of small iterations versus a one-time wholesale change. Test something new based on the insights learned from the data analytics. See if it works and then scale it out.
Kramer cautions that while data is power, it’s not perfect. Many different circumstances can impact the data you’re analyzing.
“That is why it is very important to develop a concept based on the data, then test and validate your ideas,” he says. “You may not land on the outcome you expected, but you will certainly learn a great deal. These learnings may lead you to an entirely different direction that has a better chance of success and that you can scale out further.”