In an uncertain environment, the more information a distributor has in front of them, the faster changes in customer and supplier relationships become apparent and can be addressed. Early on in the coronavirus crisis, SPI Health and Safety decided to ensure it had such visibility by creating a dashboard with key performance indicators. Kim Levesque, chief operating officer, shared on last week’s MDM Live (listen to the recording here) how the occupational health and safety distributor brought together multiple departments within the company to create the dashboard and how it is already influencing the direction of the company.
When deciding what to track on the dashboard, Levesque said company executives asked themselves, “What do we have to do to make sure that people are safe and our company is safe? What [data] do we have to follow?”
Continually improving each week, the dashboard is reviewed in an executive meeting every Tuesday. Creating the dashboard required front-end work for the finance department to conduct one-on-one meetings with key personnel, including sales and HR. Departments now submit their data to finance on Friday afternoons, the information is compiled on Monday and ready for the Tuesday meeting.
- sales and gross margin for the week and the month with comparisons to last year,
- the number of employees who have contracted the virus (zero, so far),
- top customers,
- active employee status,
- supplier risk level,
- critical inventory supply,
- and much more (see accompanying image).
New Business Opportunities Emerge
By tracking performance by business unit, SPI is getting real-time insight into how COVID-19 is impacting the different sectors of the company. For example, its fire services unit, where employees visit sites to inspect fire extinguisher installations and the like, is down due to customers asking them not to come. On the other hand, Levesque said, consulting on industrial hygiene, specifically fit testing for masks, is booming.
The dashboard is helping to shape how the company will move forward. SPI is putting a lot of emphasis on digitally interacting with customers, so they are now tracking new customers that come in through web sales, as well as web sessions and web sale transactions.
Actively tracking the KPI data in this manner allows SPI to act quickly. For example, when the data show customer activity is increasing, they know to recall more employees from furlough. It also provides a structure for monitoring how the company is performing on new business opportunities outside of the sales realm.
“All the new business opportunities, not in sales, but in transformation and being creative and changing our business and pivoting, we need to put a KPI on those,” said Levesque. “We’re starting to do new things and we’re not keeping physical track of it. We need to have something in there that will track that opportunities list.”
Be sure to join us for this week’s MDM Live webcast, taking place Friday, May 1 at 2 p.m. EDT. Sign up at mdm.com/mdmlive.