The Data That Matters
This time, Susan Zweibaum was ready. Zweibaum, director of online content for Acme United, a manufacturer of cutting, measuring and safety products, was on deck for her quarterly meeting with the CEO and chairman. On the agenda: the rate of online growth, a huge topic that often got mired in some obscure detail of the data. Zweibaum had exactly an hour to cover all of it, plus get her future plans on the table.
Acme makes a range of products, including Westcott scissors, Camillus knives and Physicians Care first aid kits, that are sold at thousands of retailers and online sites, from specialty shops to Wal-Mart and Amazon. The company, which has facilities in the United States, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and China and registered $84.4 million in revenue last year, collects terabytes of data from millions of customers and partners annually. Zweibaum wanted to keep her quarterly progress reports focused on a holistic picture of online trends, problems and opportunities, and not some obscure retail site or blip on the purchasing screen.
To highlight what's important, Zweibaum created a global index of retail sales that can be compared to sales at its big retail partners and to Acme's product sales. The concept, modeled after stock indexes, provides a visual reference of overall trends, highlighting how Acme is doing compared with key partners and with the retail sector overall.