Daily Archives: October 5, 2008

“Spend” Analysis helps the Service Chain too

It would appear that Business Intelligence, once restricted to leading edge spend analysis providers, is starting to permeate the services supply chain. As noted in a recent Industry Week article on Creating Visibility Throughout the Service Chain, customer dashboards, key performance indicators (KPIs), and customized reports have long been available to internal account teams but now, however, leading edge organizations are making these same tools and data available to their suppliers and customers through business portals with aggregated information from multiple enterprise and transactional data systems. This is because business intelligence in the service chain not only generates efficiency, but also creates opportunities for real customer loyalty and business growth.

As the article notes, a real analytics solution that provides a user with the ability to truly “slice and dice” data across multiple business hierarchies offers a number of benefits, which include:

  • the quick determination of how well the most strategic and / or largest revenue sites are being serviced
  • the mapping of actual service delivery performance to perceived customer satisfaction
  • the actual equipment utilization against contract terms
  • the proactive monitoring of equipment usage and synchronization of information with actual inventory
  • the ability to gather the data required to capture a true “operational index” or “readiness-to-serve indicator”

The last benefit is of particular importance. The success of the service chain relies on the ability of a service organization to quickly and efficiently serve their customer. If service is bad, the customer will go elsewhere. It’s that simple. And the only way to to gage the true “readiness-to-serve” of the organization is to get a multi-dimensional view of the data. This is because overall equipment utilization (OEE), MTBF, first-time fix rates, on-time delivery performance, service-event resolution times, call center performance, service supply-chain order-fill-rates, warranty compliance, and invoice accuracy, among other service metrics, all contribute to an organization’s “readiness-to-serve”. To extract and aggregate this data from a classic reporting tool would be a humongous project that required multiple rounds of data extraction and Excel manipulation. But in a true data analysis tool, you could slice, dice, aggregate, disaggregate, normalize, derive, re-derive, restructure, aggregate again and get the report you needed in ten minutes.

And this is something that can only be done by a real spend analysis solution, because “spend” analysis has to go beyond the spend, and be able to analyze all of the data related to the spend. Otherwise, you get an incomplete picture, and that can cause more harm than good.