I have loved maps for as long as I can remember. Long before I learned what powerful analytical tools they could be, I appreciated maps for all I could learn from them at the time – the location of mountain ranges, rivers, major cities, and how to get from here to there. The really interesting maps would even show me things like the state bird of Virginia or the chief agricultural export of Brazil. Back then, I colored maps and memorized capital cities for an easy “A”. Today, mapping has become one of my favorite devices for analysis and reporting.
You may feel that mapping is not suitable for your business, but any information that has a location attached to it can be mapped. Here are a few ideas:
Sales or gross margin improvement – map the sales of each of your sales reps:
- Are sales in only one area or spread throughout the rep’s territory?
- Is a particular rep more successful selling one category of your products over all others?
- Are margins richer in certain geographic areas or better for certain reps?
Marketing focus – map the location of your customers:
- Add a map layer to see where your customers are vis-a-vis where you currently market
- Should you get more focused in your marketing or change the type of marketing you do in a certain area? What’s working and what’s not?
Risk management – map the location of jobsite injuries:
- Is there a particular site, trade, or type of injury that grabs your attention?
- Do you need more training, more oversight, a change in personnel, or some combination of the three?
- Is there a site or manager that’s doing it right? What are their best practices?
Customer service – map the location of homes or equipment under warranty:
- Is there a geographic area or warranty issue that stands out?
- Do you have a product defect, distribution, delivery, or subcontractor problem?
Real estate industry – map it all – sales by model, closings, lot premiums, lot options, lot takedowns, warranty period, warranty issues, buyer demographics, where does your traffic come from? where do your buyers move from? phases of development, homes by stage of construction, undeveloped land, real estate tax analysis, appraisal packages, location of the competition’s holdings…the list goes on.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a map is worth a thousand lines in a spreadsheet.
You will see relationships in your data and gain insights faster and with more clarity. In my experience, a map of your data will not be the end of your analysis, but the beginning. As you can tell from the questions above, your map will lead you down a more direct path to the answer you are looking for to grow sales, improve margins, or reduce expenses.
At Reporting Dynamics, we often utilize mapping as a part of our Blank Page Vision™ approach to targeted analysis, customized reporting, and better decision-making. If you’d like our help in your journey to a better financial condition, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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