Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Sorry, I Forgot to Pay Attention - Information Overload

A few weeks ago, my daughter Sydney asked me to tell her a story from when I was a little kid. It was late and the story was less than 30 seconds. When I finished the story, she looked at me for a moment and said, 'Dad, could you repeat the story?...I'm sorry, I forgot to pay attention.' It just cracked me up because we have all been there.

It is so easy to go on information overload these days - between texts, emails, podcasts, standard reports, blogs, tweets, get my point. The question is determining what information to review and what decisions do you make with this information. What true value does it add?

Of course, in your personal life, there are some basics like looking at your gas tank gauge to determine if you need to fill up the tank, reviewing what is in the pantry or refrigerator to determine what food you need in the house, looking at the overflow of laundry to determine how many sets 'necessities' do you have before you run out and need to was a load.

Earlier today, I was speaking with a Chief Financial Officer, Chuck, who works with an outdoor retailer. He discussed how he focuses on the vital few in his business and only reviews key reports he will use to make decisions. Sure this seems basic but many people and business overload themselves with data they will not use to make decisions. There is certainly data that may need to be tracked for compliance or trend purposes. Even this information needs to be reviewed to make decisions even if not reviewed daily. Chuck said he reviews staff productivity per unit of service, lead time to get a product and back orders. These were 3 things valued by his employer and the customers he served. In one case he found, he could increase his lead time and his customers were still okay as long as they knew when to expect the item and that it would be there when he said it would arrive. This reduced his inventory and cost and he could pass on the savings to his company and his customers.

I enjoyed reading an article by Herb Meyer entitled, How to Analyze Information - which spelled out some focused ways to review and analyze information.

I look forward to hearing what information you review and how it adds value.

1 comment:

  1. As a physician this can be a serious problem. However, this happens all the time. I think just like any process if you are working with a system with check list, your chances of missing any information goes down.