Sales Dashboards: 16 Metrics For Manufacturers

As a provider of business intelligence and reporting solutions, Silvon has seen growing interest by our customers in creating dashboards to visualize their sales and operational performance. Many times, the business analysts and other users within these organizations are simply interested in putting two or three of their most often used analytical views of data within a dashboard so they can see all of their information in one simple-to-view page.   While in their dashboards, they also have the ability to drill, filter, sort or export their info easily in order to explore the details behind their data in more detail.

The more challenging part of dashboarding, however, gets down to the actual metrics that should be included as part of a performance management strategy. As a place to start, I thought I’d provide a shortlist of both simple and more complex metrics that our manufacturing and distribution clients are using in their dashboards today.  Today’s post focuses on Sales metrics only.  In another post, I’ll address the key Supply Chain metrics that make most sense for demand-driven businesses to consider.

Common Ways to View Performance Data

Some of the most common methods for viewing Sales and other business performance metrics are:

  • By time range – YTD, MTD, QTD, rolling x weeks or months
  • By time period for trends – weeks, months
  • By product or customer groupings – Brands, Categories, Type, Geography
  • By sales organization or company structure – Region, Territory, Division, Business Unit
  • By units and / or monetary amounts

Basic Sales Metrics

When it gets down to the actual metrics for assessing Sales performance, the ones below continue to withstand the test of time in their ability to provide basic, yet very important, insights into both product and customer performance.

  • Sales for the year, quarter, month, day
  • This year vs last year
  • Sales to plan / forecast
  • Gross margin – year to year or to plan
  • Net sales vs returns
  • Top 10 customers / products
  • CRM opportunities
  • Past due orders
  • Orders by status (confirmed, hold, etc.)

More Complex Sales Metrics

Some of the more complex metrics that can be employed in the measurement of how well Sales is performing include the following.  As you can see, these metrics tie closely with the overall performance of a company’s supply chain function to ensure that inventory availability, service level commitments and other performance targets are tracking where they need to be.

  • Outlook – sales for closed periods and current forecast for upcoming period – taking open orders into account for current period (and possibly future periods)
  • Run rates
  • Sales by day or week
  • Planned sales rate vs actual sales rate
  • Selling rate required to meet the plan based on remaining selling days in the period
  • Expected sales this period – based on sales, orders and forecast for the period
  • Orders to inventory availability – what orders can I fill / not fill

As noted earlier, dashboard views that highlight metrics like these can be at a high level to give you a picture of what’s happening, but that also allow you to dive into the details.  Our customers do this either by traditional drilling into their views of information – or by using a hyperlink to an analytical view (or report) in Silvon’s Stratum solution that’s embedded in one of their frequently used business applications.

Keep in mind, though, that a dashboard does not have to be the end of your analysis.  It can very well be the beginning of it if your reporting application allows you to view the actual detail of a metric and gain actionable insights from that information.

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