What’s on your Dashboard?

Last Sunday we drove from Brisbane to Sydney. We had a few stops along the way to stretch our legs, eat meals and even visit family. Nothing that impressive but it was a long drive nonetheless. We’ve done the drive before in one go, but there was a critical difference this time – we were towing a very heavy trailer which meant the fuel consumption was much higher.

Now I’m not going to harp on about the cost of petrol, rather how we had to use the information on the dashboard to manage the fuel consumption because we mis-judged when we should have topped up. There was one long stretch where we were becoming low on fuel well before the next petrol station. I was able to monitor the fuel usage and keep the revs low to ensure we didn’t burn through too much fuel on the hills. This made for a slightly longer trip but not as long as if we’d run out before the next service centre!

Crazy? Perhaps, but I tell this story to demonstrate the power of the Dashboard. Often we only concentrate on the speed we are going (in business think sales revenue), but sometimes there are other indicators on a dashboard that tell us about our true performance. Are we being fuel efficient? Are we spending more than we are making? Is our engine overheating? Are we even heading in the right direction?

Are you using dashboards in your business? Well designed management systems use dashboards not only for risk and compliance but also to communicate information about business performance. Enlightened managers monitor their dashboards and use the information in their planning and decision making.

Are your dashboards helping you?