Technology has advanced the way we live but it’s also helped to make scaling a company accessible to businesses of all sizes.
Join us as we discuss:
- Proactive transparency
- Business intelligence
- Supply chain management
Today, David Lapp is a supply chain specialist. But when he was younger his world revolved around agriculture:
Part of a family farm that has been operating for 137 years, he found he was more interested in the behind-the-scenes work rather than the physical act of farming.
David was intrigued. He saw all the data being gathered at the farm and gravitated toward it. He quickly realized how valuable this data was in relevance to the supply chain, and it catapulted him into studying business intelligence and data science.
The Business Case For Data Adoption
When David first started looking at data in his family’s business, it was at a time when they were manually counting inventory. They had logbooks, but all of that left room for error.
And then PLCs were introduced (Programmable Logic Controllers). It was exciting because they now had real data to look at. Suddenly it became very important.
With this advancement, David was able to pool the stats and discover profit and loss. He could see what their bottom line was.
When 2005 hit, data started to become important for everyone. It was the era of smartphones and search engines. Everyone had a learning curve, and because of that, there was almost too much data — people didn’t know what to do with it for a while.
Data became useful for anyone and everyone. From the small Ma & Pa stores to large corporations. For David, marketing analytics and Google analytics were at his fingertips and it was fascinating to watch it all explode.
Expectantly, there was apprehension about the data collection methods in his field. No one wants to feel like they’re being watched all the time. However, if you keep it up, the more you trust the data, the more that apprehension dissipates.
From just a liability standpoint, they could capture data that would help make a safe driver. They were able to look into a manufacturing facility and catch near-misses. This was a whole new world for them. They could see day-to-day activities to ensure safety for their employees and were suddenly able to ask themselves: “How can we keep our people safe?” By seeing this data, they knew what safety training was needed, and what requirements would be essential to their workers. The data was becoming more and more important.
“The more data we have into our pipe, the more value it has”
— David Lapp
And yes, there have been scenarios where the data was not what they thought it was going to be. But once you start to see the info, you start to realize it’s a good thing. There is more transparency and less ‘playing the blame game.’ You have more trust in the data and let it do the decision-making.
How To Use Data To Scale Your Company
Data helps with profitability, optimization, and utilization. It shows how inventory is placed in the truck and who placed it there. You can check if it was packed correctly and make sure it’s the proper inventory. It takes the argument away because everyone is looped in and sees the information right in front of them. It’s a safety net.
Analyzing data has so many advantages. You get to look at why something happened the way it did. It’s this analysis that begins to open the door for business intelligence.
With proper data, you can also see where the problems lie and come up with solutions to fix them. David started to interpret the facts. When there were issues, they needed to assess the situation. Find the biggest problems; the heaviest ones. Pick only three constraints that are hurting the business, and deal with them.
“You have to start small to work big. You don't have to solve everything in one day.”
— David Lapp
Weigh what’s best for the company and don’t let emotions ride into decision-making. David stresses that you just need to understand it. Look at the big-picture by studying the data. When you can do that, you’ll start using those connections and integrations to fix problems. It’s like a key being given to you. Starting small will yield big results.
By doing so, you are becoming a proactive person, rather than a reactive one. You’re connecting data. With that, you’ll gain insight that will be used as feedback to give to other people who can help – people in distribution centers, city management, etc.
Because David studied and analyzed data for years, he now looks and tracks from a global standpoint with his company Push Consulting. He’s looking at the characteristics of a trailer and what’s in a trailer. He studies the climate. He makes sure the quality of the inventory is going to be kept safe. He tracks trucks, trailers, vessels, and ships.
David is proud that he started in agriculture but excited about data shaping the future and improving people’s quality of life.
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