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Track performance with operational reports

Gearing your business for success is easy when you know what’s happening on the ground. With digital operational reporting, you can get valuable data anytime and anywhere so you’re always on top of your company’s performance.

What Is an Operational Report?

Operation reports are used to regularly provide a detailed overview of the tasks that are happening every day within the organization. Periodically, upper management will want to see updates on business performance for different departments, and operational reports are how that information can be provided. The report’s main goal is to provide business intelligence on the performance of the company’s operations and its implication on the business’s financial situation.

These documents are shared with stakeholders to view the data, be updated on what’s currently happening with the organization, and give additional instructions or directions concerning the reported performance. Although the document’s purpose may seem relatively straightforward, it plays a critical role in providing the essential insight that management needs to make informed and timely decisions.

In fast-paced industries, real-time operational reporting can make a difference in spotting mistakes before they escalate. Short-term insights are a goldmine of information for managers to make optimal decisions in time-constrained situations. For this reason, making sure that the data is timely and relevant is imperative.

Operational reports can help streamline processes in your organization by:

  • Providing real-time insights that can be understood easily and used in decision-making.
  • Monitor progress in all departments and levels of operations, identify potential bottlenecks and areas for growth, and enhance productivity.
  • Improve overall operational efficiency, save valuable time, and better manage resources.
  • Help management ideate strategically through forecasted trends and patterns.

This article covers the following topics:

1. What type of operation you need and when to send it

2. How do you create an effective operation report

3. How to simplify the operational reporting progress

two employees meeting with their manager at the office

What Type of Operation Reports Is Right for You

The format of operation reports varies depending on the intent of use, data to be presented, and frequency of reporting. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all template, it’s better to consider the objectives of your report and what outcomes you want to happen. Doing this will help you maximize your report so it can offer your organization optimal value.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What data do the stakeholders need to see?
  • How often should this be communicated to them?
  • What is the result that I want to see as a result of communicating the data?

Depending on your goal and data set, you can opt to include tables to make the analysis of historical data easier and data visualizations to provide a quick and effective way to spot trends and patterns. Suppose you’re considering using it for the productivity improvement of your team. In that case, you can include embedded dashboards that display easy-to-understand insights, which can help them make optimal decisions that pertain to operations.

There are two main types of operational reports that you can implement in your organization to better drive results:

  • Monthly reports: You can use this to show trend-based data and other valuable details required for short-term decision-making and long-term strategic planning to address the company’s needs. It can also help your company develop a more cohesive strategy that helps you measure progress against midterm metrics through data visualizations, tables, and even forecasts.
  • Real-time reports: This is used to provide data at the moment so supervisors and team leads can take actionable steps to counter a negative trend or solve an issue as they happen. One of the best ways to execute this is through data visualizations and team dashboards that show real-time analytics. Real-time reports can help your team become more responsive and adaptable, ultimately resulting in improved operational efficiency and profitability.

There’s essentially no right or wrong way to create your report. The overarching goal is for it to make insights understandable and accessible for management and stakeholders. Depending on your industry, you can write it according to how it would best serve your business.

Here are three operation report samples from different industries, so you can get a better idea of how to use them.

  1. Finance: The finance industry benefits from using real-time reports to regularly track financial data and pinpoint inefficiencies.
  2. Manufacturing: Monitoring of the supply chain to ensure efficient use of resources is being implemented and making improvements where necessary. This will help reduce costs and increase profitability.
  3. Retail: Sales tracking is the name of the game when it comes to the retail industry, and operation reports help make it easier for business owners to have their finger on the pulse of inventory, store efficiency, employee productivity, and sales margins.

How to Create an Effective Operation Report?

There are seven steps you can follow when drafting an effective report:

1. Define the Goal of Your Report

Before anything else, you need to know the purpose behind your report. Is it to show a trend? Is it to report a recurring problem? When you know the outcome you want to have, you will know what information needs to be gathered, which sources you must check, and how you will present the data.

2. Identify the frequency of your communication

As indicated earlier, real-time and monthly reporting serve different purposes and cover different periods. If your report requires an immediate response, then a real-time report is more beneficial for you. On the other hand, if your report is meant to provide a macro view of company performance and trends on its financial situation, then doing a monthly report makes more sense.

3. Gather the Data You Need

Once you know the report type, you can proceed to source the information needed. The data you need will depend on the type of organization it is to be submitted to. However, generally, operation reports should contain relevant information about the daily or monthly activities of the business and any significant events that may have an impact on its performance and profits.

4. Organize Your Data Into Easy-To-Understand Formats

One of the important things that you should make sure of is: your data should be presented in a way that it can be easily understood. So, categorize every piece of data or present it using a table or charts. For example, if you’re in the retail industry, you need to categorize data based on your generated sales, employee attendance rates, a href=””>product inventory, and even customer complaints.

5. Make Failures Known

Keeping in mind that the overarching goal of your report is to help management make sure that performance is profitable as possible. That’s why you must include any aspect of the operation that failed to meet the company’s standards or expectations and detail the reasons why it happened.

6. Report Best Practices and Wins

When conducting reports, it’s common to indicate challenges. However, successes are just as important to operations, too. There may have been best practices that boosted efficiency, or a specific strategy is working out well. It would be good to let management know about the business’s strengths so they can strategize on how to maintain or build on them.

7. End It With an Objective Conclusion

Close your report with a conclusion and proposed solutions. Considering all the data you gathered, what is the business’s current health operationally and financially? For the challenges you indicated, what are the action plans that can be done to resolve them? Then, end your report with suggestions that you think can drive results better.

three people in front of a laptop looking at the business performance report

Simplify your operational reporting progress with an app

Creating operational reports with paper checklists and forms can be a tedious job, prone to information loss. Spend less time identifying risks and problems in your day-to-day operations and more time providing solutions.

How can you best accomplish this? By building your reporting process on a digital solution like Lumiform. Therefore, the mobile and flexible app solution allows you to collect information for your operational report regardless of location. Simplify the delivery and recording of reports by enabling your entire team to do it digitally.

Lumiform helps you and other responsible employees do the following:

  • Start going digital right away by using our templates from the library for your operational report, or digitize existing paper forms with the flexible form builder in just a few steps.
  • Conduct daily checks easily using a smartphone or tablet via the app – anytime and anywhere.
  • Record unlimited photo evidence and annotate it with notes to better describe potential risks.
  • Assign necessary corrective actions to responsible personnel and track their completion through the desktop software.
  • Generate reports automatically after each inspection while completing your operational reports.
  • Share completed reports with business owners or other members of the organization
  • All reports are automatically stored securely in the cloud, where they can be accessed at any time.
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