August 11, 2023

Using Accurate Data to Make Confident Decisions

Accurate data is the backbone of successful and sustainable business operations. It forms the foundation for informed decision-making, practical strategies, and sustainable growth. At the same time, some data we desire to track the success of organizational initiatives may be difficult or impossible to gather.

As a thought leader, author, educator, and change leadership practitioner, I write a weekly article that benefits leaders who want to improve their organizations using elements of my Humanist Manufacturing framework.

We Would Have Collected Better Data

In continuing to explore essential elements of becoming a high-performing company, we shift from last week's topic of clearly defining goals and objectives to the need for accurate data.  I once worked in a corporate manufacturing engineering role where we had an assignment to support the plants in cost savings projects.  On one occasion, I shared my findings with the plant manager on what I saw as a great way to reduce production costs.  Thankfully, he was forthright in telling me that the data was likely inaccurate.  He saved us both the embarrassment of moving forward with a project that would have had an unsuccessful outcome.  He closed our meeting by stating, "If we knew anyone was going to pay attention, we would have collected better data."    

Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted. - Albert Einstein
A Key Distinction

Einstein makes a key distinction regarding understanding the data we should collect.  We could collect employee hat sizes with extreme accuracy, but that information would most likely be useless to the company.  Accurately tracking sustainability data would be necessary if we were working toward becoming a legitimate zero-impact organization.  At the same time, some data would be difficult to track, if not impossible.  An example would be the improvement of a company that implements lean manufacturing or an employee empowerment initiative.  When integrated well, the organization will see many benefits that will be difficult to correlate through data.  These would be the intelligent approaches for a company to take but difficult to show the impact through numbers.

The Benefits of Accurate Data

Where we can collect accurate data, it is crucial in business for several reasons.  It forms the foundation for informed decision-making, practical strategies, and sustainable growth.  Here are some key points highlighting the importance of accurate data in business:

• Competitive Advantage - A business can gain an edge by gathering appropriate information to respond swiftly to market changes, capitalize on emerging trends, and differentiate itself from competitors through data-driven innovations.

• Compliance and Reporting – Efficient and effective information gathering ensures businesses comply with laws and regulations, avoiding potential legal and financial repercussions.

• Continuous Improvement - Businesses can identify areas that need enhancement, implement changes, and measure the effectiveness of those changes using reliable data.

• Credibility and Reputation - Inaccurate data can lead to misinformation that may erode customer, partner, and stakeholder trust, harming a business's credibility and reputation.  

• Customer Insights – Knowing information about customer behavior, feedback, and purchasing patterns aids in tailoring products and services to customer needs, which can lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

• Informed Decision-Making – Gathering precise statistics when launching a new product, entering a new market, or adjusting pricing strategies allows companies to base decisions on real-world facts rather than assumptions.

• Investor Confidence - Reliable data shows that the business is well-managed and transparent, increases its attractiveness, and instills confidence in its investors and stakeholders.  

• Market Understanding – Gaining knowledge through personalized marketing campaigns, product enhancements, and improved customer experiences helps businesses understand their target market, customer preferences, and behavior.

• Performance Measurement – Businesses need to track their progress, identify improvement areas, and assess their strategies' success by tracking appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs).

• Risk Management - Financial data accuracy is critical for managing cash flow, forecasting, and budgeting.  At the same time, accurate operational data helps identify potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies and provides the knowledge necessary to address risk assessment and mitigation.

• Strategic Planning - Analyzing data trends helps identify opportunities and potential threats, allowing businesses to allocate resources effectively and pivot their strategy if needed.

• Supply Chain Optimization – On-time delivery of products and services to its customers requires exact inventory management, demand forecasting, and supplier relationship management.

Proper data collection, management, and analysis are essential components of leveraging the power of accurate data in today's competitive business landscape.  It enables businesses to make confident decisions, adapt to changing environments, and create value for their customers, stakeholders, and themselves.

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Key Takeaway

Accurate data is the backbone of successful and sustainable business operations.   It forms the foundation for informed decision-making, practical strategies, and sustainable growth.  At the same time, some data we desire to track the success of organizational initiatives may be difficult or impossible to gather.

First Step

Individuals wanting to avoid GIGO, garbage in, garbage out, can benefit from reading 13 Strategies for Collecting High-Quality Data.  The article provides methods that ensure high-quality data collection.

My Gratitude

One of the recommendations in the article referenced in the above article is to hire skilled people.  I have had the good fortune to work at several organizations where this caliber of individuals could scrub the data in a manner that would yield accurate information.  Their due diligence in ensuring the data was clean was essential to our ability to make better business decisions.

Sneak Peek

Next week's blog will shift to a review of the essential element of effective two-way non-judgmental communication integral to becoming a humanist manufacturing organization.  

Additional Information  

To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit

I encourage you to read my book Humanist Manufacturing: A Humanitarian Approach to Excellence in High-Impact Plant Operations.  The paperback and eBook versions are now available at Amazon and many other booksellers.  You can also view the Humanist Manufacturing Book Launch to gain additional insight into the Humanist Manufacturing framework.

I invite you to join the Humanist Manufacturing Group on LinkedIn if you want to interact with others interested in the topic.

If you like what you have read, I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Contact me if you need help with the manufacturing support services of consulting, coaching, Fractional Chief Sustainability Officer, or training/reskilling at 734-664-9076.

See my virtual TEDx videos at Reinventing the Prison Industrial Complex and Humanist Manufacturing.

You can sign up for my newsletter or email me at Contact Me.

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