ByMark Vincent

The Afinitis Intelligence Spring Offer

Afinitis’ free business reports

You may not have heard of Afinitis Intelligence yet but our growing list of customers are really seeing the benefits of the deeper insight it brings. We are certain that when you try it you will see the benefits so we are offering a selected group of people the following special offer:

We will produce for you – totally free of charge 3 reports which will help you understand even better your customers buying habits and trends.

These reports will give you a deep insight into:

  • Which customers have spent more or less with you than the previous year
  • Your top and bottom 20% of customers
  • Full analysis of your new customers over the past 12 months and the effect these are having on your business
  • Average invoice value and the number of transactions per customer
  • Seasonality of your customers spend quarter on quarter
  • Which are your ABCD customers – which customers are making you money – and which are sucking you dry

These reports will really help you to understand your customers’ buying habits – help you identify your most profitable customers – and where to focus your efforts over the coming months to maximise your customer service and profits. All totally free!

Why are we doing this?

The best way for us to demonstrate the benefits of Afinitis Intelligence is for you to see your own data presented to you in a way that you will have most likely never seen before – and Afinitis Intelligence produces these reports at the touch of a button.

Interested? Just follow this link (http://www.afinitis.com/contact-us/) to register your interest and we will be in touch

What is Afinitis Intelligence?

Afinitis Intelligence is a fully automatic analysis service which sits on top of your existing systems (financial, CRM, stock or time management systems, order processing etc) enabling you to “drill down” into these giving you over 2500 different perspectives of your information at the touch of a button.

Afinitis Intelligence combines key professional skill areas – Advanced Business Intelligence, enabling stronger Decisions and Control, together with Improvement Techniques resulting in accelerated managed change and onward agility.

  • Fully automatic daily, weekly and monthly reporting
  • Daily dashboards for all team members
  • Full analysis of customers, stock, suppliers, cash flow – and much more
  • Remote access anywhere in the world
  • Insight and control
  • Improvement pathways to help you maximise your business potential
  • Afinitis Intelligence typically shows you how to free up 10 – 15% of the cash tied up in your business increasing your ability to fund growth from internal resources

What would having this sort of information at the touch of a button mean to you right now?

To find out more just follow this link (http://www.afinitis.com/contact-us/) to register your interest and we will be in touch. Alternatively call us on 0844 542 0888 to find out more. Keep in mind this offer is only running till mid April (2018), so act now if you don’t want to miss out on this incredible offer.

ByMark Vincent

Is Time Running Away from You?

Time: Is it Running Away from You?

Finding the time to update our business strategy and produce an action plan to deliver the outcomes needed is always hard, even if we all know it needs doing. Every time something important but not urgent comes up my mind goes back to Stephen Covey’s explanation of President Eisenhower’s planning principle;

Important not Urgent

Not Urgent and Not Important – the things that add little or no value but distract us
Urgent but Not Important – the things that are urgent for someone else but not important for us
Urgent and important – the things absolutely needed to fulfill our function
Important but Not Urgent – vital things – but not required today. This sector is often referred to as ‘The Zone’.

Organising workload and time to be able to focus on the Zone is often what makes a difference to the longer term performance of our teams, the service we provide to our customers and ultimately to the attainment of our own goals. Strategic planning is a key Zone activity, the Balanced Scorecard Institute define it very well:

“Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. It is a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Effective strategic planning articulates not only where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how we will know if it is successful”

In-depth knowledge of exactly what is going on within the business – through the entire range of suppliers, all staff and internal activity and meeting customer’s needs is pretty vital to good strategic planning as it is to managing the development actions.

This is where Afinitis Intelligence can be invaluable. Designed to automatically assess a huge range of vital activity over a two year period and completely updated every day Afinitis Intelligence takes raw data from your business to provide you with unique insights. It then goes much further showing the probable priorities and gives pathways for you to follow. If you want expert support can be provided to help at every step.

From the first day you have a simple to use but incredibly comprehensive Business Performance System that can be compared with the best of car navigations driver aids – who would travel across major cities without one of those these days?

With over 2500 built in perspectives ready to use and the ability to instantly dig right down into detailed analysis Afinitis Intelligence provides meaningful knowledge to help you truly understand your start point. Afinitis Intelligence then enables you to track your progress in real time against the outcomes you need to achieve your strategy and plan. The time saving and instant visibility you get is outstanding. For many businesses this will give an instant step change, allowing control of the inputs and giving much greater certainty to the results. Afinitis Intelligence uses your existing financial, operational where available internet data then automatically and applies thousands of calculations and comparisons using decades of experience and understanding of those input measures that drive business performance to give you what you need to lead the business.

Afinitis Intelligence helps you move forward with certainty, it also saves you time and usually releases 10 to 15% of cash tied up in the business. What would you use that for right now?

To find out more about how Afinitis Intelligence could help your business call 0844 542 0888 or email enquiries@afinitis.com to find out more and arrange a free demonstration.

ByMark Vincent

Holidays are coming – Would we get into a plane that had no flight controls?

Holidays are coming – Would we get into a plane that had no flight controls?

When we jump on a plane we assume that the pilot has filed the flight plan and that everything on the plane works.

We take for granted that pretty much everything is measured, even to the point where the life of component parts can be predicted with a very high degree of accuracy. We get on that plane with a belief that this is true….

Measurement is something we are doing increasingly in our personal lives too, measuring our weight to depress ourselves, the number of calories we are consuming and with the increase in smart watches some are even measuring their sleeping patterns, number of steps, calories burnt. The list goes on. We’ve come to realise in our personal lives that simply measuring outputs or results (such as our weight) is pretty much useless and just plain depressing unless we measure and control those things that are contributing to them, the ‘input measures’. For example, level of activity, the amount we eat etc. It generally holds true that if we move more and eat fewer calories we’ll lose weight…and the opposite is also true of course. Controlling the inputs means we can affect the outcome.

And yet in business many of us are still just focusing on the equivalent output figures such as turnover, profit and cash. Following the analogy, it’s very similar to looking at the scales only to find we have gained a stone in weight… I wish I knew that was happening 3 weeks ago when I was busy stuffing myself with chocolate.

Financial reports continue to be the primary tool for monitoring business performance for many of us.  This is the same as trying to drive by looking through the rear view mirror. Too late to do anything about the results if we don’t like the answer.

The good news is that these days it is possible to see those input measures, i.e. the things that will cause good or bad results, much earlier, so we can take action. If we measure and control the right inputs we can be more certain it will lead to the outcomes we want such as increased margin and more usable cash.

In process industries they learnt many years ago that the more we measure and control the inputs and variables the more certain we can be in the result. In manufacturing, measuring this closely has enabled companies to move away from inspecting and scrapping bad product at the end of the cycle to never making it wrong in the first place, saving themselves both the cost of scrap and the time and material used to produce it in the first place.

If we know what to measure and control, we can be much more certain we will achieve the goals we have set ourselves. We can invest with much greater confidence that we will deliver the results and return on investment because we know all of the ins and outs of our business. We can also measure progress of those key indicators to know we are on the right track and then alter course if necessary.

Controlling the variables (inputs/process performance) means we can guarantee what will be produced. Less waste, reduced lead times (more certainty), happy customers, more profitable business (wasting less).

Afinitis Intelligence has been designed to give us (out of the box) a very comprehensive set of business measures in an easy to use format that will serve as an excellent starting point. For many businesses this will give an instant step change, allowing us to control the inputs and therefore give much greater certainty in results. It uses our existing financial and other operational data and applies thousands of calculations and comparisons using decades of experience and understanding of those input measures that drive business performance.

Leave our competitors alone in the company of lady luck, while we move forward with certainty.

To find out more about how Afinitis could help your business call 0844 542 0888 or email enquiries@afinitis.com to find out more and arrange a free demonstration.

www.afinitis.com Turning Business Intelligence into Business Performance

ByTracey Vincent

Work less and achieve more

How to work less and achieve more…a case study using Afinitis


Bob is the CEO of a growing and successful giftware business, with a turnover of just under £25m.

Despite working increasingly longer hours, he found that business was becoming more challenging and overall profit was gradually declining.

He was smart and had plenty of information in the form of reports and raw data, but there were conflicting opinions within the business about what to change and prioritise. In short, he was busy and struggling to get to the root of what was going on.

Working with the Afinitis Intelligence team he was able to draw upon the information he already had locked away in his various systems but view it in a way that helped him quickly understand the actions he needed to take and then track the effects of the changes in real time.

Combining the Afinitis Intelligence simplicity and excruciatingly clear insight with his own experience and that of his management team, the resulting effect on the business was astonishing.


It was 2 weeks before Christmas, and Bob was feeling the pressure. He’d done no Christmas shopping and hardly seen his wife and Children since their October holiday because he was working a 60-70 hours a week. Despite all his own efforts and that of his team (who were also working long hours) the monthly accounts were showing a declining net profit and more cash was being tied up in stock. Added to that he was running out of space in the distribution centres due to the amount of stock in the Christmas lead up. He was also receiving reports that the orders were taking longer to ship and customers were starting to complain.

In short they were working harder and harder but standing still in terms of net cash and profit. Despite having reasonable systems and reporting tools it was hard for Bob to get to the real problem. He felt they were holding too much stock but the sales guys were adamant that this was necessary to avoid losing sales. Finance didn’t want to throw anything away as this would hit the current profits and anyway it might be sellable in future.

In short, as a busy CEO he just wanted to know where to start. In discussing this over dinner with a friend, Dave, an MD of a larger company who he’d been friends with for many years. Dave suggested the Afinitis meeting.

Moving Quickly from Information to Answers

Like many businesses in a similar situation, the issue that Bob was facing was that he had lots of information in the form of reports from Finance, the Sales team and Marketing but there seemed to be very few actionable answers…the one thing he truly wanted. He couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

He needed to know what actions he could take right now, to start to turn the business around.

The Afinitis Intelligence team started by taking a copy of the company’s Sage finance system backup. Using the Afinitis Intelligence software engine they then applied their in-built validations, calculations and comparisons then worked with Bob to understand what the information was really telling them, using their experience and his knowledge of both the business and the market to build a complete picture of what was going on in the business.

The emerging picture allowed them all to see some interesting underlying patterns that were not obvious from the top line figures. What really pleased Bob was that this was achieved within just a few weeks.

Here are some of the trends they uncovered in the first pass:

  1. Customer spending patterns had subtly changed. Some of the customers had stopped buying key products but because it had happened so gradually no-one had noticed. It was only when drilling into the data, using the top 20% of movers as a starting point, that it started to become apparent what was happening.
  2. They were holding an average of 105 days of stock, while most products were on a 7-day lead time. In fact, 25% of what they were holding hadn’t moved in 12 months. Their replenishment purchasing did not have a clear policy and the stock controllers were tending to play safe, avoiding stock-outs rather than facing the wrath of the sales agents for not fulfilling customer orders. When looking more deeply into this it became apparent that the sales team behaviour was being driven in part by their commission and bonus structure which was heavily weighted towards top line sales rather than overall profitability.
  3. By analyzing their products and sales patterns across sales agent, customer type, channel and region they were able to identify that certain product types fared better in certain regions and others sold better through certain channels. Up to this point they were taking a fairly generic approach and making the full range available through all channels and all distribution centres. This in turn was increasing the amount of stock held.

Moving Forward with Actionable Items

Using the information now readily available on his desktop, Bob got the management team together and they worked out a 3-point plan:

  1. Reconnect with key customers that have stopped buying – They contacted the customers that had stopped buying and found that a competitor had stepped in with an alternative product that was slightly cheaper but not as good. After re-establishing the relationships with those customers and understanding in more detail what they were buying and why they were able to put together a very attractive package of products.
  2. Convert more of the held inventory into sellable stock (increase the stock turn) – To achieve this they focused on the following key changes:
  • A review of all slow moving stock to either scrap, write down to fair value and sell it to discounters or run a price campaign with existing clients to clear it.
  • They changed the replenishment policy which included giving the stock controllers more control over the order quantity decisions; these were now driven from sales forecasts supplied by the sales team. Stock performance measures were introduced and published, which compared availability vs forecast demand.
  • They redesigned the sales team bonus and commission structure to reflect performance against sales forecast and overall profitability, rather than top line revenue. The aim here was to reduce the tendency to overstock for fear of losing a sale.
  1. Establish preferred sales channels for the different product types – Using the channel and regional sales data they now had available they were able to match their products types to the channels and regions that would be most effective. Having this new up to date information also gave them the confidence to test and measure specific product and channel combinations together with targeted marketing, to establish which combinations were most effective.

Actions into Results

Put simply, the impact on the business was profound. From these few changes alone, the company was able to increase top line revenue by 10% within the first 12 months while at the same time reducing the amount of stock held from £8m to £5m.

By reducing the stock so significantly they could re-arrange the layouts within the distribution to increase pick, pack and ship efficiency. This resulted in a reduction in the number of picking staff by 2, saving £70k per year in wages and associated costs, while also reducing shipping turnaround times from an average of 5 days to 2.

Taken together these changes directly resulted in an increase in profit of £247k within the first 12 months. Even more important was the confidence across the business to use the data to drive the decision making, rather than the more subjective and opinion based approaches they had tended to adopt in the past.

An interesting side effect was the fact that the management team became much closer. For the first time they all had the same view of the overall direction the company needed to take, with only relatively minor disagreements on the approach to get there. Working from a position of knowledge and confidence, they were now able to set themselves on a course that was both profitable and enjoyable.

Afinitis Intelligence – Combining Intuition and Insight to help great teams to achieve more than they thought possible