We all need to prepare reports in our companies and of course this post is not to encourage you to do it with humour, how to do it fast, how to forward to your colleagues. It is more about the importance of doing reports and the importance of doing them well.
Reporting are not only as a quick way of monitoring the KPI (Key Process Indicators) in your department but also as a natural way to detect the important issues and to evaluate to highlight the current risks to achieve your targets. Also not going to talk in this post about how to detect the targets in your department. I want to concentrate in the monitoring.
So there comes the time of the month to elaborate your reporting and you need to sit down. The first thing is to consolidate all the data, and here comes the question, where is the data?. If you need to get the data from other departments, colleagues, factories or divisions, make sure that you organize yourself to have the deadlines defined regularly communicated one week in advance (more or less) and that you check the reports as they come to you, in order to avoid mistakes before data consolidation.
Now is the time, you have all the data and needs consolidation. It is important to extract information from the data, which indicator fails, based on what information, and quickly react, never wait for the escalation. Never wait for finishing the report and communicate to your management get their feedback and react. First react, speak with affected people, create a team, action plan activities and afterwards you can explain to your Management that you detected it and reacted and the actions behind.
It is also important to take some time to compare reportings from other months and lateral check them with other related departments (the most easy example is comparison of QA customer-supplier indicators, that are related). That helps not only to confirm data accuracy but also have a global overview. To say, from detecting duplicity or mistakes in reporting to benchmark in between departments.
Another important point is your ability to gather information, combine it and see it from a higher level, a different perspective and creating, trends, conclusions or weaknesses and strengths. That is mainly what indicators are for. You can create graphics but if you are not able to analyse, see trends or understand differences, you are lost in administrative work. Make yourself the owner of the reporting, it is always important to make personal all your things in life. And ask yourself the question, do I have an action plan on this reporting, because if not, something fails.