Your trades business, whether it’s in Sydney or Perth or elsewhere, has many moving parts to keep track of. You have to make many difficult decisions regarding your company’s finances, marketing efforts, field management, and more. One misstep in your strategy can have costly repercussions, so it’s important that your decisions are backed up with data. Business intelligence reporting is therefore an absolute necessity.
What is business intelligence (BI) reporting?
BI reporting is the process of deriving actionable insights from company data to facilitate better decision-making and strategic planning. Generally, BI reporting pools data from various sources, such as accounting platforms and job management systems, and presents them in a digestible format. With Microsoft Power BI, in particular, data is visualised into intuitive graphs and reports to help users identify trends and analyse business performance. Executives can then use these reports to justify investment decisions and key business strategies to stakeholders.
What are the benefits of BI reporting?
BI reporting offers several unique advantages to trades businesses:
Get a detailed overview of your business
Your company can use BI reporting to get an up-to-date view of the company’s performance in any area. This means you can easily monitor the current state of your marketing efforts, administrative processes, financial health, field operations, and more. The visibility that BI reporting provides helps you measure your company’s progress towards its goals and adjust your strategies if they veer off course.
Pinpoint operational inefficiencies
BI reporting tools allow you to monitor job performance and identify bottlenecks in business processes. Understanding the issues in your on-site operations through BI analysis will help you create more targeted goals and solutions. For instance, if BI analyses reveal that first-time fix rates are low, there may be critical flaws in job planning. Technicians may not have adequate information or replacement parts to complete repairs, causing them to make a second appointment. Companies will therefore need to provide comprehensive work order briefings and automated material ordering to ensure technicians have what they need for each job.
Implement more focused marketing strategies
With BI tools, you can distil a treasure trove of insights into your company’s marketing strategies. For starters, market research of past and current jobs can help you determine your client base. This is especially vital for how you shape and target your marketing campaigns.If homeowners in Sydney’s western suburbs are your company’s biggest and most profitable demographic, you should capitalise on this market.
BI data analysis of your marketing campaigns also helps you find the ideal channels for reaching your audience. Some industries like construction may find that they get more traffic and leads through visual-centric social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. On the other hand, asset maintenance companies may be finding success in marketing their services in business-oriented channels like LinkedIn. Whatever the case may be, knowing which channels and content are effective in converting leads enables you to create more effective marketing campaigns. This, in turn, increases your chances of winning new customers and jobs.
Gain a competitive edge
The ability to make sense of large volumes of data is a competitive advantage in itself. With detailed job quote analysis, you can accurately price jobs that edge out the competition while maintaining reasonable profit margins. Doing this allows you to avoid costly mistakes like underbidding on jobs, which almost always puts your company at a loss.
What’s more, BI software can highlight your company’s most successful services. You can then use this insight to differentiate your business as a specialist and carve out a niche in your specific industry.
Analyse and forecast cash flow
Financial managers can use BI tools to produce accurate and timely reports on cash flow status. They can then analyse historical data to generate cash flow forecasts for each month, quarter, and year. Through these forecasts, financial managers can better anticipate cash shortages or surpluses, and plan spending decisions accordingly. For example, if your company’s revenue has historically been low in April, you may need to cut back on major capital and operational expenditures. This includes limiting the budget on new vehicles, heavy equipment, and additional hires.
Alternatively, if there’s high seasonal demand for construction services during the summer, you can expect higher revenue during this period. Your company can then prepare for this by hiring subcontractors and acquiring equipment to finish more jobs efficiently and to increase profitability. By forecasting your company’s cash flow, your company can spend within its means and stay ahead of the competition.
Even if you have high revenue-generating services, costs can sneak up and leave you with much lower profit margins. With BI reporting tools, you can identify the major cost drivers that are affecting your company’s profitability and eliminate them. For instance, if you spot increased fuel usage, implementing smarter scheduling and route planning solutions can reduce costs. These small adjustments not only make a huge difference to your profitability, but they also promote your company’s growth.
WorkBuddy comes with Power BI integrations so you can make the most out of your company’s data. With Power BI features, you can analyse business performance, identify trends, and make more informed decisions. Book a demo today to find out how our business intelligence features can elevate your company.