Business Intelligence Part II
In my previous article, I talked about how you can use the vast information available about your historical performance in order to make intelligent business decisions.
For many years, one of the things that has set Lightspeed apart from other systems has been reporting — the ability for dealers to get the information required to make good decisions across their business. Now dealers can schedule those reports to ensure that the information is timely as well as relevant.
Now let's take business intelligence to the next level. You know how you are doing, but how does it compare to other dealers? If you're subscribed to our Databack product, you can quickly view a scorecard that shows you how your performance in each department compares, and the bottom line impact of those differences. You can also look at any of 25 reports comparing everything from gross margin percent on unit sales, to service parts-labor ratio, to parts lines per invoice, and more.
Here's an example to illustrate the power of this data. Let's say your Databack Scorecard shows you would have made $1,000 more profit last month if your average parts invoice was at the national average. You turn to the Parts section and see that your Parts margins are in line with national averages, but your lines per are is below the national average. Are your parts associates engaging in suggestive selling — or are they simply ringing up the one thing customers brought to the counter? Maybe you have some salespeople that get it — above the average — and others that are dragging you down? Turn to the Parts Salesperson Performance page and you can see exactly how your salespeople are performing. From there, it's up to you to train your personnel (tip: have your high performers conduct the training), and ensure that your incentives are aligned with the behavior you expect from your people.
Of course, having the right information when you need it is the key to making good decisions, so business intelligence is not limited to reporting. In fact, data can be even more useful when it helps you make good decisions right in your workflow.
For example, should you take that deal? When you are in a Sales deal in Lightspeed, you can see what your true cost is, including parts and labor, and your true margin, including front and back end. At the Parts counter, does that part a customer needs for exist in another store, or in one of the OEM or distributor warehouses? Or, does another dealer have it in stock?
In Service, how long has it been since a customer brought a unit in for service? Does this unit have a recall or service bulletin? Has that recall been resolved by another dealer? How long should that job take?
I could go on with more examples. The bottom line is that "gut feelings" or intuition can only get you so far when it comes to decision making. And in many cases, it can even send you in the wrong direction. There’s a better way. Take advantage of all the information you have at your fingertips, and you’ll see how business intelligence translates into increased profitability for your business.