Data Analysis Services
Observation and experience is great, but if you truly want to understand a business, you need to look at the data. Data analysis is a key part of some of the services I provide. I simply can’t provide recommendations for things like forecasting, safety stock, slotting, or order picking methods without conducting data analysis. But, I also offer data analysis as a separate service.
My data analysis services are about converting raw data into meaningful information that can be used to make decisions. What sets me apart from others is, not only do I understand data and the tools used to analyze data, but I also understand operations. In addition, my approach towards analyzing data is as much art as science—well, sort of. Rather than simply defining output requirements, then crunching the data to extract the predefined output, I let the data help guide me to the output. So rather than simply asking a question, and then getting the answer from the data. I ask the question, but in the process of getting the answer, I observe the data and let the data lead me to answers to questions I didn’t think to ask. This is the difference between using data analysis to simply quantify what you know about your business, versus using it tell you what you don’t know about your business.
Much of my data analysis is based on producing item profiles and order profiles. These profiles identify and quantify various characteristics of items (inventory)and orders (sales orders, purchase orders, production orders, returns, etc.) that are important in making planning and operational decisions. Once again, the key to my approach is that rather than simply having a template for item profiles and order profiles, and then just filling in the blanks. I use the data combined with what I know about your operation to design the structure of the item profiles and order profiles themselves.
Exception analysis is another important part of data analysis. This involves looking for characteristics of data that were not expected, or characteristics of data that would create issues with processes and methods that are being used or considered.
Data analysis tools I use.
I do my data analysis in Microsoft Access and Excel. I have used a variety of other query and reporting tools in the past, but for the types of analysis I do, Access and Excel are really the way to go. I just need you to export the raw data from your system (into flat text files or an Access database), be available to answer questions about things I find in the data, and I do the rest.
Other benefits of having me analyze your data.
I have no intention of providing ongoing periodic analysis/reporting services. As with most of my services, when I’m done, my expectation is that I have not only provided you with the information you needed, but have also helped you to understand how to do these things yourselves.
Will I deliver an “analysis toolkit” for you to use to repeat the analysis I have done?
Probably not. I’m very good at quickly and comprehensively conducting ad-hoc analysis. But there is a big difference between conducting this type of analysis, and delivering an application that repeats this analysis. It’s not uncommon for me to create 100+ queries in the process of analyzing data. Many queries are based on the results of other queries that are based on the results of still other queries. Still other queries may have been used to just test results or to explore potential paths that ultimately were not used in the final analysis (proved to not be useful). So the reality is I’m creating queries left and right, and deleting many of them after they are run just to avoid clutter. If I were to actually maintain relationships, organize, and document all of this, it would take a lot more time and be a lot more expensive.
However, if you have any questions about how to get a specific output, I can certainly explain the logic I used. And depending on the nature and complexity of the analysis, I may provide more detailed documentation of where some of the information came from.
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Inventory Operations Consulting assists small and mid-sized manufacturers and distributors in improving inventory management and warehouse operations.
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