Complete transparency about the course of business is one of the most important promises of ERP solutions. Nevertheless, this wish often remains unfulfilled in practice, even though much data is available. Without efficient and comprehensible reporting of current and also historical sales figures, the ERP system remains a better data grave. There are proven sales figures and analyses that every company should know and use. In the following, the seven most important ones are presented and explained using the example of a trading company.
1. Period comparisons
Period comparisons are like the ECG for the heartbeat of the company. They analyze turnover, sales and contribution margin in total or on average over a defined period in comparison to previous periods. From the comparison with historical data, deviations can be identified and forecasts for the future can be made. A particularly flexible presentation of the development over the time axis is important here in order to be able to take seasonal factors into account. Typical comparison periods are the current year (Current Year, CY), the year to date (Year-to-Date, YTD), the quarter to date (Quarter-to-Date, QTD), one or more previous years (Prior Year, PY), the previous quarter (Prior Quarter, PQ) and the previous year to date (Prior Year-to-date, PYTD). The presentation is usually absolute and percentage-based. Period comparisons provide you with information on the current performance of the enterprise and should be viewed continuously.
2. Sales/contribution margin in detail
The aforementioned period comparisons can not only be aimed at the company as a whole, but also look at individual sub-areas in the form of detailed analyses. Typical subdivisions are regional breakdowns (for example, countries, postal code areas), product-related breakdowns (for example, merchandise categories), customer-related breakdowns (for example, industries, segments, associations) and organizational breakdowns (for example, sales area, sales staff, business areas). You can use detailed analyses of sales or contribution margins to compare performance with regard to product, customer and organizational units. Use these as a starting point for improving and optimizing in detail.
3. ABC analysis by article/article groups and customer/customer groups
The ABC analysis is the classic instrument for a differentiated view of articles or customers. For example, a typical breakdown is A=80%, B=15% and C=5%. A-customers account for 80% of sales, B-customers for 15% and so on. The ABC analysis can also be applied to individual article or customer groups. This allows A customers or A articles to be identified for which the leverage for margin improvements, for example, is particularly high. Use the ABC analyses to quickly and accurately determine the most important article and customer segments, so that you can concentrate on the essentials.
4. Articles and customers with decreasing/without sales
With this evaluation you will find high performers and weak points in your product range or in your customer segments. If an article has not been sold over a long period of time, there can be several reasons for this. Perhaps it does not meet customer requirements or the presentation in sales is not optimal. Customers who have not bought for a long time should be classified in marketing planning and taken into account for promotional activities. This evaluation can be the starting point for further analyses to further improve the portfolio of articles and customers.
5. Repurchase rate
For many companies it is important to determine how regularly their customers shop. On the one hand, the overall repurchase rate is a good indicator of how well you are rated as a supplier, and on the other hand it allows well-founded forecasts for future business. Reasons for a decreasing repurchase rate should be analysed. Is it due to the quality of the products or the price/performance ratio? Has customer satisfaction dropped, for example due to delivery problems? Have competitors become more attractive for customers? This analysis should also be broken down by customer or article groups.
6. New to existing customers
How high is the share of new customers in your business? This central question is interesting, for example, to determine the effectiveness of marketing activities, for planning capacities in service or for the settlement of commissions in sales. In addition, the new customer/existing customer ratio is an indicator for the future development of your business. This ratio is determined using the purchase history of the customers.
7. Order processing times
This key figure refers to the time required to process a customer order from receipt of order to delivery. You can use it to evaluate the efficiency and quality of your internal processes. This enables you to quickly identify typical problems such as delivery bottlenecks or coordination problems for individual products, for example. If the fluctuation margin within a period is very high, this indicates that processes are not very standardized. In a period comparison, improvements or deteriorations or seasonal effects can be detected. Therefore, use these analyses for continuous monitoring of your internal and external processes to quickly identify problems.
What do the 7 most important sales reports illuminate?
These seven most important sales reports not only offer continuous monitoring of the most important sales parameters, but also many approaches for improvements and further detailed analyses. Especially when viewed together, they cover the necessary spectrum to uncover even hidden connections and facts.
How do you come to these evaluations?
The good news for users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central / NAV is that the necessary data basis for these evaluations is already available in your ERP system - you only have to extract and prepare it appropriately. Microsoft Power BI, for example, is ideally suited for this purpose because integration and use are particularly easy.
In contrast to many significantly more complex solutions, Power BI focuses on the self-service idea: users do not have to be business intelligence professionals to independently design evaluations and graphical representations and make them available to users or integrate them into Business Central / NAV. Those who are familiar with Excel will quickly find their way around Power BI. Even the integration of other data sources is no problem. The provision as Microsoft Cloud Service makes the technical introduction easy and the licensing very flexible.
The easy way: Buy ready-made evaluation packages
Those who want to get started quickly can fall back on ready-made packages. One example is the Power BI Sales solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central / NAV from TSO-DATA, which provides the relevant data areas for sales reports in Power BI in a pre-configured and automated manner. Without having to deal with the details of data storage and preparation in the ERP, you can use your first reports and easily create others. The technical connection is made via standard connectors from Microsoft and is already included in the solution.
Business Intelligence does not have to be difficult. Ready-made modules circumvent the initial technical hurdles and enable users to quickly start designing and refining their own analyses. An appetite for more is quickly whetted while eating.
In the area of Business Intelligence we rely on the know-how and experience of our BI specialists. Do you have questions about Microsoft Power BI or would you like to request a trial version?
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