On a daily basis the amount of care we give to the human body is remarkably little. When you are feeling in good shape the best the body can hope for is a good wash, a brush of the teeth and a slap of moisturiser if you are a bit of a girly. What else? Haircut and manicure perhaps oh, and possibly a check that your weight has not dropped that desired 10% overnight.
Considering the complexity of the human body and how we cannot live without it we do not spend too much time analysing how it is performing. We probably spend more attention on our cars and IT gadgets. Why is my PC running so slow? The car is overheating, I must check this now. Such symptoms are immediately of prime importance and top of mind and must be addressed now!
This all changes when we are feeling unwell. Suddenly we are taking our temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate. Blood tests may be needed. You may be wired up to monitor to see how the heart or brain is functioning. The body is now getting the intensive care it needs in hospital. Recording and monitoring this raft of data is the route to a hopefully full and speedy recovery.
If your business is operating well and there is even some growth in these testing times then the usual keep fit-heart monitoring Balanced Scorecard KPIs are reported weekly or monthly. The focus is usually on getting your stuff to customers and onto shelves at the right time, in the correct quantity and at the lowest cost. Along with other company measures, e.g. finance, HR, SHEQA, the scorecard shows the health of the business.
When all is not going smoothly however, the Balanced Scorecard may need supplementing with other measures. In companies where sales are below expectations and cash flow has dried up you need intensive care focus in that area. This does not mean you stop generating the Balanced Scorecard as this will contain important financial and non-financial measures. Instead, you need to place the sensors in the critical locations.
What about when things are not going well? Measuring the usual set of KPIs is all very well but when you are in a mess you need some intensive care. For businesses struggling with tight cash flow here are top ten tips for some relatively simple Recovery KPIs:
- Sales-out Sales-in do not guarantee you a final cash sale to a consumer so focus on the final sales transaction.
- Discounts Control how much discounting is taking place by those generous sales people. Is it authorised in advance and at the correct level?
- Debtor Days This is money owed to you so negotiate favourable terms and constantly review. If 60 days has been in place for years then it is about time this was challenged so apply some pressure.
- Creditor Days You owe this money but if you upset suppliers they will stop supplying! Renegotiate where possible and do your best to pay on time as you never know when you really need a favour.
- Overdues Where money is due to you and has exceeded the agreed terms you need a persuader to get on top of late payers.
- Forecast Accuracy Do not look at every single SKU; apply segmentation principles. Determine which SKUs are important and make a healthy profit, focus here.
- Lost Sales Investigate every significant lost sale and systematically apply a 100-year fix so mistakes do not recur.
- Potential write off Monitor stock age internally and at distributors and avoid this criminal cash waste.
- RM/PM stock If you are overstocked you should not re-order and you might consider selling some items. Your stocks should be aligned with those important SKUs identified above.
- Finished Goods stock Again, ensure your key SKUs are always available in the required quantities. Promote any excess or slow-moving stocks to generate income and minimise potential write off.
In addition to the sensible tight control of discretionary spend this approach can stabilise your vital signs and guide you back to a healthy glow without the intensive glare of the suits from HQ.
Imag courtesy of moggara12 at freedigitalphotos.net