What is an Item Comparison Dashboard for a Distributor?

Item dashboards are considered product analysis tools and are used by analysts and managers to analyze KPIs for the items they carry. Some of the main functionality in this type of dashboard is that it provides graphical analysis from eight different perspectives: 1) Inventory turnover rate by item, 2) Back order rate, 3) Order cycle time, 4) Quantity on hand, 5) order picking accuracy, 6) Rate of return, 7) Inventory carrying cost, 8) Inventory value. The dashboard is parameter-based and the user can run it for any period. You find an example of this type of dashboard below.

Purpose of Item Comparison Dashboards

Distribution businesses use Item Comparison Dashboards to benchmark performance for various KPIs across their products. When used as part of good business practices in a Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) department, a company can improve its product strategies and inventory processes, and it can reduce the chances that managers miss outliers in their product portfolio.

Item Comparison Dashboard Example

Here is an example of an Item Comparison Dashboard with inventory-related KPIs.

Example of a Item Comparison Dashboard for a Distributor

Example of a Item Comparison Dashboard for a Distributor

You can find hundreds of additional examples here

Who Uses This Type of Dashboard?

The typical users of this type of dashboard are: COOs, inventory managers, distribution executives, product managers.

Other Dashboards Often Used in Conjunction with Item Comparison Dashboards

Progressive Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) and operational departments sometimes use several different Item Comparison Dashboards, along with  inventory and sales reports, margin reports, sales dashboards, sales forecasts, supplier reports, costing and allocation reports and other management and control tools.

Where Does the Data for Analysis Originate From?

The Actual (historical transactions) data typically comes from management systems or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like: Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) Finance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC), Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Acumatica, Netsuite and others.

In analyses where budgets or forecasts are used, the planning data most often originates from in-house Excel spreadsheet models or from professional corporate performance management (CPM/EPM) solutions.

What Tools are Typically used for Reporting, Planning and Dashboards?

Examples of business software used with the data and ERPs mentioned above are:

  • Native ERP report writers and query tools
  • Spreadsheets (for example Microsoft Excel)
  • Corporate Performance Management (CPM) tools (for example Solver)
  • Dashboards (for example Microsoft Power BI and Tableau)

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