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Data and decision-making

Managing the operations of an organisation/business requires the co-ordination of considerable resources (human, physical and financial) and to employ those resources as effectively as possible to achieve progress towards the goals of the organisation. It is therefore necessary to develop methods for determining the effectiveness of resource utilisation.

The previous topic considered what data to collect. This topic provides examples of how this data may be used to provide information for decision-making purposes. In order to achieve the best use of available resources, it may be necessary from time-to-time to divert resources to or from projects and activities so that the maximum amount of benefit is obtained by stakeholders.

Examples of how data may be used for managing operations:

Data Type

Decision-making relies on the ability to answer important questions such as:

Participation data

Which programs and events are being supported (or not supported) by customers/ members? An ability to answer this question will enable managers to consider whether less popular programs and events should be discontinued and resources put into activities that are more popular.

Income and expenditure data

Which services, events and programs provide the best return on investment?
In attempting to answer this question, managers will be seeking knowledge of how the application of funds to various programs, events and projects contributes to important organisational performance measures such as participation growth, improvement in service quality, and ability to be financially self-sustaining.

Physical resource data

Do facilities and equipment need to be improved? Which venues are most popular for events and programs? Collecting data on how physical resources are used helps the manager make decisions about whether or not to upgrade, renew, improve, extend and repair physical resources such as facilities and equipment.

Profile of Human Resources

Do we have the necessary staff to carry out programs and provide services?
Collecting data on salaried and volunteer personnel helps the manager to make decisions on whether there is sufficient/insufficient number and capability of personnel to carry out operation plans. Data needs to be kept on qualifications, special skills and knowledge, as well as their day-to-day work involvement.

Safety statistics

Which programs and activities require further investment of resources to improve safety? As safety is of paramount performance, the manager must track the effect of safety measures and determine their effectiveness. The manager needs to understand the relationship between the application of resources to increase safety and the outcome achieved.

Quality of services

Do programs, events and services meet the requirements of customers/members? It is very important for managers to collect data on customer satisfaction so that decisions can be made to improve or change services if needed. Lower than desired levels of satisfaction may require additional resources to be employed or may eventuate in a cessation of an activity and the redeployment of resources to another activity.

Organisation milestones

Is the organisation developing according to plan? Managers need to identify and work towards important milestones. Examples include winning an important tournament, reaching the 500th member or the 20th club, achieving a $100,000 turnover, or employing a professional full-time administrator for the first time. Monitoring the organisation's development in terms of such milestones enables the manager to develop an overall sense of the efficiency of resource utilisation.


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