Disconnected Data Can Disconnect Your Business – President/Owner
By Mike Dorris
You may think there’s nothing wrong with using a few different software systems to manage your seed business. But what you don’t know can hurt your business. Disconnected data can affect a variety of aspects of your company, including your customers, your staff and even the business as a whole.
What is disconnected data costing you?
If your inventory records are inaccurate or out of date, you may be forced to reschedule deliveries. In some cases, bad inventory data means orders can’t be fulfilled to the customer’s specifications, which can lead to returns and ultimately reduced margins and potential losses. In addition to inconveniencing the customer, it also means duplicate efforts from your staff.
The level of service your customers receive can be greatly affected by disconnected systems. Your phone lines may be constantly engaged or customers may be put on hold for a long time. It makes your customers wonder just how important they are to you. You need access to real-time information to give customers confidence their orders or requests will be delivered or addressed right away. No one wants to wait days. Dissatisfied customers are prone to looking around for other suppliers.
Duplication of data input leads to higher risk of user errors and costly mistakes. When employees have to remember how and where to find customer data in an array of business systems, it naturally leads to delays in getting information to customers, sales or others who need it. Too many passwords and cheat sheets can confuse employees who are supposed to be managing information across multiple systems.
How responsive are your employees to customers’ comments about how long it takes to get their questions answered? Their frustration with these systems can bleed over into customer interactions.
How does all this affect your business overall? Disconnected data can have a tremendous impact. First of all, if you don’t have the proper, up-to-date business intelligence and reporting, you could be making bad decisions, which could affect your revenue.
If inventory data is wrong, your staff could be promising customers products and amounts that aren’t even available. Or the margin may be too low because the data is obsolete. You are losing money. Paperwork lost in transit could mean late or no billing. That directly hits your bottom line, affecting cash flow and margins.
And then, there are the costs of maintaining multiple systems: software license fees, maintenance and support. What happens to your employees’ workflow when one system is disrupted?
Connecting data can mitigate risk across the board. Employees can work more efficiently, making them more motivated. That helps customers receive better service, and that goes directly to customer loyalty. Your brand is boosted by employees and customers who are enthusiastic about your business. It makes connecting disconnected data a win-win.