Show me the money - give them the info

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When was the last time you had to justify a request for a large capital expenditure in your business?  Perhaps if you’re working in manufacturing, you need investments in machinery to make your production more efficient.  If you’re in the service industry, maybe more investment is required in soft skills training.   In today’s economy, business leaders are consistently operating under more scrutiny with respect to making financial decisions and increasing return on their investment for shareholders.

Often times when training soft skills in manufacturing facilities, we will hear about the struggles that shop floor operators go through when trying to do their job.   A lot of the time, faulty or old machinery is blamed for inefficiencies and poor quality.  And sometimes it seems like requests for new machinery fall on deaf ears.    But think for a moment, perhaps it’s the fact that capital expenditures require a lot of information before a decision can be made to justify purchases.  Approaching the negotiating table without that information is one reason why expenditures might not even be considered.

Make sure you are armed with the information you need to support an informed decision.  Where does this information come from?   It might come from quality figures captured on a production floor database system.    Machine uptime/downtime might be captured in a spreadsheet updated by the maintenance department.   Employee satisfaction rates are tracked in human resources software.   When requesting capital expenditures, every piece of information that you can gather together is beneficial in its justification.

BI analytics tools are available that can help you achieve this.  In particular, Qlik Sense is a very easy to use product that will enable you to pull information in from all of the various systems mentioned above.   It provides an easy to use interface that supports strong visualizations and allows for very quick analysis. 

So, the next time you find yourself asking the powers that be for more money for your shift, department or division, come prepared with the answers to all of the questions and figures to justify your request.  It might be a very pleasant surprise when the answer is ‘Yes’.