3 ways data can protect your business through economic turbulence

3 ways data can protect your business through economic turbulence

How can your business use its data to create stable and future-proof processes?

In June this year, inflation jumped to its highest level in the last four decades. Combined with the continued rise of fuel costs, households and businesses across the UK are facing extraordinary pressure to manage and protect their finances. Moreover, for the businesses that hold stock in warehouses or storage, there’s additional pressure to protect their supply chain.

On top of the worst labour shortages since 1997, the warehousing industry and UK’s supply chain has been hit by significant shipping container and haulier shortages. To combat such pressures, businesses have had no choice but to optimise their current resources.

Not sure where to start in your own business? Start utilising the data in front of you and turning it into tools for success:

  1. Equip your workforce with visual data aids

Research shows that 65% of the world’s population are visual learners2 – so why not extend that same principle into your workplace?  Analytic or KPI dashboards can provide your business a live visual representation of key performance statistics for different scenarios.

You may be showing these dashboards on one large screen in your warehouse, individual stations, or out on the road. However you access this information, the clear display of data can be the difference between a turbulent and thriving environment for staff.

These dashboards could display:

  • Picker performance rates
  • Orders shipped on time in full
  • Supplier goods-in performance

The choice is down to you and what data your teams would benefit the most from seeing.

  1. Get a clear understanding of your customers’ buying behaviour

Understanding your customers is key to ensuring repeat business, especially as consumers look for new ways to save money themselves. So, whether you’re an online retailer or manufacturer, your data is there to help you understand the best way of engaging with customers.

Utilising customer relationship management (CRM) tools make it simple to track each interaction a prospect has had with your brand. This allows sales and marketing teams to better prioritise their efforts and target the right prospects with the right information.

Data can also help you better understand your current customers and improve retention. Ideally, you need access to item-level data to see what your customers are buying, when and in what quantity.

Data for a cleaning supplies company, for example, might show a group of customers who make a repeat purchase of basic supplies at the same time each month. Perhaps you’ll see a group of customers who often buy in bulk every 6 months. From here, you can segment your database into groups for sales and marketing to strategise over.

  1. Eliminate inefficiencies in your supply chain

Optimising your supply chain isn’t easy. From your operations, inventory, purchasing and distribution, everything needs to run like clockwork. Any mishaps, and you’re looking at a loss of time, money, or stock.

According to IGD, it’s estimated that 4.2m tones of food is wasted across the UK food supply chain every year3 due to it being spoiled during transportation. This has only been exacerbated by the ongoing shipping delays and storage shortages which will be hugely detrimental to a company’s bottom line.

This is where the use of data comes in. With tools such as Business Intelligence, a company can easily collect data on shipments and suppliers and sync it with other sources in their ERP system. From here, businesses can identify any noteworthy trends – whether that’s a dip in delivery times or inconsistencies with product quality. You can also accurately predict what items to buy, when to buy them, and what items you need more of.

Given the impossibility of predicting what the future will hold for financial markets, supply chains, customer demand, interest rates and many other factors, companies must start finding ways to safeguard their processes.