Data without analysis is just data. How you analyse that data is what helps you to make more informed business decisions.
Our customers use maps to understand market coverage, to plan store visit routes and to identify where to locate their next office or retail outlet. Last week in Mapping for Business Part 2 we discussed setting goals and evaluating your data. Once you have that done, it’s time to identify what type of map can answer your questions.
Problem 1: I can’t make heads or tails of my spreadsheet.
I’m sure every single one of us has, at one point or another, sat in front of a computer screen staring blankly at a spreadsheet with thousands of records. When you’re faced with huge amounts of data, it can be very hard to identify a starting point.
If you have location data, the best place to start is with a mapping solution. This allows you to visualize your data and to begin to filter it, making it easier to understand.
Problem 2: I need to see where my sales people are
Market coverage is one of the most popular uses of mapping software. To identify whether you have enough sales people to cover the number of customers and potential customers in an area, you need a map.
You take two pieces of data – the location of your sales teams and your customers locations. Load them onto your mapping solution of choice and run a nearest neighbor analysis.
This allows you allocate your sales resources much more effectively in addition to building the business case for more investment such as new hires.
Problem 3: My boss wants a report on national and regional performance… Today
Again this is a common request that we have all received from our managers. They don’t want the detail. They want to be able to quickly make decisions based on the data at hand. They can’t do this by pouring through dozens of spreadsheets. That’s our job. So to make our lives that little bit easier and produce a report that will make sense from both a national and regional perspective – mapping for business is required.
This time we’ll run a Regional Heat Map Analysis. This analysis uses colour to reveal different levels of intensity – e.g. number of customers – within a certain region.
Once you have your data organized, and uploaded, it literally takes minutes to run the analysis. Once that is done, you can customize the colours, labels and more to make it the best representation of your data that your boss has ever seen!
Problem 4: Which warehouse has that part my customer needs?
Imagine this – A customer calls in looking for a replacement part or product that you sell. You need to get it to them as soon as possible. The best way to do this is to send it from a warehouse closest to them. The question that brings is, which warehouse that stocks this part is closes to this particular customer?
Luckily mapping for business can help you solve this with a simple radius map. If you have the data loaded into the software in advance, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes to answer your question.
Problem 5: I want to expand my franchise, where should I look for new franchises?
When deciding on a new site for a store or franchise location, there are many factors to take into consideration, such as current locations, competitor locations, demographics of current customers, locations with similar demographics and more. The beauty of using mapping for business to help answer this question is that you can plot all this data in one visual allowing you to make these types of decisions much much quicker
For this purpose, we would recommend a radius map for narrowing down the open areas followed by a nearest neighbor analysis to see how many competitors are within a given radius of your proposed locations.
Problem 6: I need to visit 25 customers today – How am I going to figure out the best route?
When people think of maps, they tend to think of them as a way to figure out how to get from A-Z, so routing is one of the basics of mapping for business. And you can use tools like Google Maps to get from A to B. But what if you want to get from A to B to C to D and even more. For that you’ll need a good mapping software. With eSpatial you can plan a route to get you where you need to go, up to a maximum of 25 points.
Maps can solve many more problems so if you’re not sure if mapping can help you with your business decisions, just ask one of our mapping experts that are available via live chat or through our contact us page. Make sure to stay tuned next week for Mapping for Business Part 4 to find out how to choose the best mapping software to suit your business needs.