When you’re running a warehouse, you need to be in the loop with what’s going on, what product is moving where, and if your inventory control is working how you intended it to. There are a few different ways to gain this understanding — some inventory managers turn to reports, while others use business intelligence to support their operational needs.
Let’s check out what each one means, how they differ and the impact it can have on your business.
Historically, reports are created on a regular basis, generated every month, once a quarter, or yearly. Generally, reports take a while to produce and reflect on past data. This can be helpful for looking at patterns and seeing what happened in previous years. However, if you need data intelligence quickly, reports are often renowned for only showcasing static information and are not generated very fast. In addition, you need to request what information you want to be pulled into the report in order for the report to be generated.
Business Intelligence explained
Business Intelligence (BI) comprises a variety of tools, technologies, applications, and practices that help you analyse data produced from different areas of the business.
In the end, you’ll be rewarded with clear and easy to understand data summaries. This data can help you carve out the next steps for your business and decide what actions are deemed important for the future.
BI is favoured by decision-makers including inventory managers and business owners who can use BI to support their goals. In effect, BI can help an inventory manager bring together a ream of data and then analyse it. This way the inventory manager has more than just an overview of insightful and important metrics about their warehouse, inventory control tactics, deliveries and more.
Business intelligence generates powerful tools that are catered to your business and helps makes sense of everything that’s going on in the warehouse and in the office. Some of the features of BI include developing specifically catered reports, running queries against your current data, and created visual explanations that simplify how you understand data.
When you use BI, you get a detailed analysis. When you use a static reporting system, you are given a high-level overview that helps capture the general picture, but it doesn’t give you that much detail. If your business likes to have both, BI systems can be sculpted to generate a report that provides simplified information on the main page, but if you click within each section of the report, you can gather more details.
Deep dive into data to identify historical trends, analyse patterns and uncover new opportunities.
BI allows you to gather customer insights and understand their needs and wants better. It shows you how they interact with your business and where you can improve that interaction. Reports could generate some of this data, but the analysis would be left the decision-maker.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.