Likely you’re expecting an editorial about the beginning of a new year and the ever-annoying idea of resolutions. I won’t do it.

Resolutions to me are the result of emotional arguments one has during the first month of each year. A resolution argues a person should lose weight, ice cream argues it should be eaten, and the scale steps in hoping to bring clarity to the situation with its data.

In our world, data helps remove the emotion from many of the decisions that people make on a day-to-day basis. It is inherently important to the decision-making process and something that distributors should not ignore when it comes to their businesses. Imagine driving the streets of your hometown and making driving decisions based on emotions instead of road-sign or traffic-light data. Without these data points and a willingness to abide by their mandates, you might not make it home. The damage, the pile-ups, and the lack of direction could be catastrophic not only to the car, but also to the overall local transportation system.

Take this concept and transfer it to your daily business practices. How many decisions are you making a day without metrics, benchmarking, or measurable information to assist you in navigating the wholesale distribution industry? What could be the consequences of these unjustified and possibly emotional decisions to your company?


Balancing Data Decisions

Although data is a key factor and indicator for most business decisions, I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you that completely removing the emotion from every situation could lead to good business decisions, but poor human decisions. It is important that you consider and balance both the business factor and the human factor at the same time. You really can’t choose just one side all the time.

Data sources are key in moving to a data-driven business. Valuable data and the ability to interpret it properly are hand-in-hand imperatives. Listening to Alan Beaulieu in the final keynote presentation during the HARDI Annual Conference, I realized that one of my long-time sources of personal data, the news, had been seriously compromised. Its spin and interpretation has become emotional and is moving away from objective numbers toward a deceptive emotionalism.


Flip the Resolution Script

Instead of making a resolution to invest in, seek out, and rely on more data, make a smart business decision and do these things because they are business best practices. In fact, I would suggest forgetting the resolutions altogether this year and instead redefine what your business success looks like in 2014. Then go for it. Use data to guide, a little emotion to temper your decisions, and expect the unexpected. Doesn’t that sound like a lot more fun than making resolutions this year? It will save you money on that new treadmill you were going to buy too.


Distribution Center Advisory Panel

Jess Mattox
Century A/C Supply

Richard Cook
Johnson Supply

Bill Shaw
Standard Supply and Distributing Co.

Karen Madonia
Illco Inc.

Michel Senter
ABCO Supply Inc.

Tom Roberts
cfm Distributors Inc.

Troy Meachum
ACR Supply

Jeff Corken
The Corken Steel Products Co.