Remember in school when your math teacher always prodded you to show your work? Sure, it added an extra step to solving the problem, but with the work there in front of you, there was no denying you knew what you were doing. Being able to prove how you arrived at an answer gives it — and you — validation.
Though math class is long gone, it's still important to show your work when it comes to your operations. Today's world requires data, and in an industry where resources are often tight, you must be able to justify decision making and prove your need when asking for more resources. Because operations tend to go unseen by leadership, it's essential to be able to show your work through reliable data.
If documenting sound data on the work you're doing is something your department has put off, here are five times you'll wish you'd started sooner.
1. Proving Productivity and Efficiency
Educational institutions depend on efficiency. There's rarely a minute or dollar to waste, so it's important you and your team can prove the work you're doing and that you're doing it well. Leadership will want to know what's being reported and completed, who's doing what, how many people it really takes to do the job and how much time certain projects take. If you're not able to provide accurate numbers, you leave your department in a vulnerable position in which decision makers may make choices for you. Since you know your operations best, make sure you're able to stay in the driver's seat by having trusted data on hand.
2. Making Budget Cases
Whether you're asking for more budget resources or approving them, this isn't a situation that's approached lightly. To help your team be able to do its best work for your institution, you'll need to be confident you can have these conversations and ensure that your department has the resources it needs. Maybe you need new operations software or it's finally time to replace that dying piece of equipment that's draining your team's time. Without numerical evidence to build your case, decision makers aren't likely to grant any amount of budget dollars.
3. Justifying New Hires
Is your team spread too thin? If the work orders keep multiplying but your team's time doesn't, you'll need an extra set of hands to help get the work done. Hiring a new employee is an expensive investment, and like with any investment, leadership will want to know how it's going to pay off. By being able to show how much time your team is currently spending on projects and how much is still falling through the cracks, you'll make it difficult for management to deny that extra help is needed. If you can prove how much quicker your department will get the work done and how it will benefit your institution with data, you'll be a lot closer to getting that new hire.
4. Deciding on Repair vs. Replace
Sooner or later, you'll have problem equipment – those assets that become a time drainer, money pit or both. Issues like this can really hurt your team's efficiency and can cause your operations and institution to suffer. As someone who observes your assets closely on a regular basis, you may know there's a problem, but can you prove it? When making the case to upgrade equipment, make sure you can present the facts on how much time and money is being wasted in its current state and the effect faulty equipment is having on your institution. Accurate data can also show if an asset is better suited for repair or full replacement.
5. Validating Retrofitting
Say you were granted the funds to complete a big retrofitting project. You're pleased with the outcome, and now you think it would be a smart idea to proceed with other retrofitting projects of this kind in other buildings. Without documented evidence to point to, it's going to be hard to prove that the first project's results are substantial enough to warrant funding for more. You need to be confident you can back up your claims.
When asking for more resources, it's important to remember that your institution's operations experts and upper management are on the same team – you all want to provide the best for those you serve in the most efficient way. For those overseeing operations, data is key. But what data should you collect, and what should you look for when it comes to reporting tools?
Check out our Showing Your Work Matters guide to learn which reports will help you make the most impact and provide the data you need when it comes to solving your department's operational needs.