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17 Analytics Ideas to Get You Started

This list is provided to help you get started in analytics. Examples are from HR-People Analytics, Supply Chain Analytics, Legal, Marketing and general Business Analytics. If you’re only interested in one of these areas, I have identified in each example, the business areas to which the idea applies. You can use that to skip quickly through the list.

Please remember that the key to success in analytics is to focus on and prioritize business questions of value to your company. A random approach to analytics will waste a good deal of time and money. A project that is of value to one company is not necessarily of value to another. Think carefully about the value you can obtain before proceeding.

Why a list of 17? It’s prime. Need I say more?

  1. Idea: Determine which questions on your employee survey are most indicative of upcoming turnover.
    Value: A better focus of which questions should be watched carefully and an opportunity to reduce the number of questions.
    Department: Human Resources
     
  2. Idea: Move beyond tracking on-time delivery of your suppliers to a time-trended study of delivery times…especially for operationally critical supplies.
    Value: Are supplier deliveries aligned to contract commitments? Have they been getting later and later?
    Department: Supply Chain and Procurement
     
  3. Idea: Determine whether promotions are biased across gender and ethnicity using statistical tests. 
    Value: Gender and ethnicity biases can land you in court and result in expensive settlements. Running this assessment once per year and sharing the results with employees makes for great relationships between HR and the business.
    Departments: Legal and Human Resources
     
  4. Idea: Determine your best performing recruitment channels. Which channels are producing your top performers? Which channels are producing top performers at the most economical values?
    Value: Reduce the number of channels you are funding and focus your recruitment budget on what matters.
    Departments: Human Resources and Finance
     
  5. Idea: Gather your finance friends and pareto the profit contribution of your products / services. This one’s my personal favourite and it’s all easy math! No stats required.
    Value: Determine whether to continue offering certain products or whether they’ve reached their end of life.
    Department: Finance and Operations
     
  6. Idea: Gather your finance friends again and pareto the profit contribution of your customers. This one is the same easy math! No stats required.
    Value: Determine whether to continue supporting certain customers or whether you should consider offering different levels of support based on profit contribution.
    Department: Finance and Operations
     
  7. Idea: Determine if increased levels of engagement produce increased levels of safety.
    Value: Safety fines become more expensive every year and can be worth millions for some companies. A reduction in safety incidents is beneficial for your workforce, cost savings and your company reputation.
    Departments: Human Resources and Operations
     
  8. Idea: Assess the status of your diversity and where it will head based on past trends and current diversity strategy plans.
    Value: Be able to provide specific commitments on diversity actions by creating a forecasting and “what-if” model of your workforce.
    Departments: Human Resources and Diversity Offices (if separate from HR)
     
  9. Idea: Supplier data and contract agreements can be used to assess supplier performance across supplier types, supplier geography, etc. You can subsequently benchmark new, potential suppliers according to this data set.
    Value: Better decision-making on new supplier delivery.
    Departments: Supply Chain, Procurement, Operations
     
  10. Idea: What are the “characteristics” of people leaving your company? Where is turnover highest? Lowest? Are the high areas of turnover in job roles are strategic, specialized or hard-to-fill? Are you losing top or bottom performers?
    Value: Know whether your turnover will impact the operation of the company. Know where to focus the retention efforts instead of tying to solve all turnover.
    Department: Human Resources
     
  11. Idea: Pareto customer complaints determine the most popular issues. This can be done with external customer complaints as well as complaints about internal departments.
    Value: This helps prioritize which issues are impacting your company or department the most. In situations where you can’t solve all issues due to resource constraints, prioritization of complaints will help please the maximum number of people.
    Departments: Everyone!
     
  12. Idea: Predict who is likely to retire. This is different from the example above because the actions you take are different. Yu won’t be necessarily aiming to retain these employees but rather to ensure knowledge transfer in specialized areas.
    Value: Be able to prepare action plans like a “knowledge sandwich” for transfer of expertise before boomers retire.
    Department: Human Resources
     
  13. Idea: Evaluate unplanned absences and what they’re worth to the bottom line.
    Value: Knowing the cost of unplanned absence types allows you to prioritize the actions you take to reduce them. Unplanned absences can be expensive. A follow-up study to assess root cause will be needed.
    Departments: Human Resources and Operations
     
  14. Idea: Examine the relationship between employment aptitude tests and employee performance.
    Value: Many aptitude tests are still in place without being validated that these skills are correlated with success on the job. This is another area that can land your company in the courts with expensive settlements.
    Department: Human Resources and Legal
     
  15. Idea: Assess the differences between your “A Players” and “C Players” within job roles to get an idea on what might be make some people more successful that others. The difference can be used to set development plans for the “C Players.” Note: It is not recommended that you use these results for recruitment. Since statistical testing is based on probabilities, using this for “recruiting by characteristics” can land you in the courts. Only use these results for developing current employees.
    Value: Ability to potentially set development plans to improve your “A Players.”
    Department: Human Resources
     
  16. Idea: For each part number or product, study the volatility of demand over time. Do you have fast moving, stable ordering patterns? Fast moving but volatile? Slow moving on expensive parts? Slow moving patterns on inventory that expires?
    Value: The more you know about the patterns of inventory usage, the better you can manage it. Reduce out-of-stock situations or becoming stuck with dead inventory. Inventory = cash tied up that can’t be used for something else.
    Departments: Supply Chain, Procurement, Finance, Operations
     
  17. Idea: Marketing campaigns can have a large impact on the supply chain. Marketing data, such as email opens and clicks, can be used in combination with demand data to measure and analyze the correlation between marketing actions and demand. Analytics and statistical models are useful in identifying the impact of marketing variables on supply chain needs. This one’s tougher from an accuracy point of view.
    Value: If the correlation between marketing actions and demand can be modeled, then the impact on inventory can be predicted to avoid stick-outs resulting from promotions.
    Departments: Marketing, Supply Chain, Procurement and Operations

Do you have an additional idea to share? Message your analytics ideas to Tracey Smith and we’ll see how big this list can get. Be certain to include the idea, the value of that idea to a business, and the departments to which the idea pertains. You can reach Tracey using the links in the Bio shown below.

Bio

Tracey Smith is a recognized analytics expert, speaker and author. She is the President of Numerical Insights LLC, a boutique analytics firm addressing the needs of businesses large and small. If you would like to learn more, please visit www.numericalinsights.com or contact Tracey Smith through LinkedIn. You can check out her books on her Amazon Author Page.

Tracey Smith