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Talking Stats: Finding The Right Numbers For The Right Story 

A bullhorn is blaring out random numbers.

How do you connect the dots between statistics to tell a compelling story about the value you offer? Augury’s Director of Customer Value Management David Eisenstadt explains why numbers only mean something when they tell a greater story – whether it’s the box scores of a baseball or basketball game, or how to lower your maintenance costs. And the more personal these numbers get, the better…

 

1+1=3

I love it when two stats collide to tell a bigger story. Take this first fact: maintenance costs can represent between 10 and 40 per cent of the costs of producing goods, depending on the industry. That’s a lot. And with inflation driving broad cost increases, companies everywhere are looking to control maintenance costs.

Now here’s a second stat: 33 cents out of every dollar used on maintenance costs is wasted because of unnecessary or improperly carried out maintenance. Though the data point is a bit dated, we routinely hear from customers that they want more ongoing insights on their machines to use their limited maintenance budgets more efficiently. 

In other words, a lack of machine health data is responsible for a lot of waste and increased maintenance costs. So why not leverage a machine health solution to not only avoid unnecessary downtime but also boost the effectiveness of your maintenance management?

Are you sold? If not, let me share a nice stand-alone stat: Augury’s customers typically see an ROI of 3 to 10x within months. This is what’s called a very strong value proposition. It’s an important factor in my decision to work at Augury. I had a feeling there would be a lot of great stories. 

“This passion only increased when I went to college and started taking courses in statistics and research methodologies. However, it was never about numbers for numbers sake.”

It’s In The Numbers

I love making sense of numbers. Growing up as a fan of the Boston Red Sox and Celtics, I kept up with players’ stats such as pitching, on base average, or shooting percentages, which affected my expectation of how players would perform as I watched the games. As I got a bit older, I was excited by the way advanced metrics were used to build teams –  as popularized in the Michael Lewis book Moneyball, which was later made into a film.

And yes, this passion only increased when I went to college and started taking courses in statistics and research methodologies. However, it was never about numbers for numbers sake. Numbers always need to be part of a larger story – serving as an anchor in a storm.

Winning with Numbers 

Numbers can certainly offer a sense of security. This is why so many companies talk about being data-driven and needing to see the numbers before any decision. But numbers in a vacuum aren’t enough.

When I was at a multinational company, after spending a few years in the global business unit in business analysis, strategy, and product management roles, I moved to the sales organization to support the sales team in developing customer business cases. Eventually I became Chief of Staff for our regional go-to-market business. I was always hungry for data to help me understand our business. But in fact, it was the experience of speaking regularly with customers, account executives, and service managers that led me to look differently at some of the data and develop better insights. 

It was fun. One of my favorite things was investigating a fresh set of data about our business to see what the numbers would reveal. I would then develop a hypothesis to try to explain what was driving results. 

But it only got really fun after talking with customers and customer-facing teams to get their takes on what was happening. And it was the cases where it first seemed as if there was a misalignment between people’s stories and our initial reads of the data, which led to the most interesting discoveries. This iterative process resulted in better strategy development and helped us consistently exceed our sales and margin goals.

Making Numbers Personal

At Augury, an important part of my job is to work with our customer champions, as well as our sales and customer success teams, to help them make the business case for using Augury’s solution. And while Augury’s overall value proposition is very solid, not all stats speak to all people with the same impact.

“Like with the quickly expanding world of personalized medicine, every case is different – and the more you know about a patient, the more you can help them. It’s the same with factories.”

Manufacturers face a variety of challenges. Certainly, no one wants downtime and lost production. And the same goes for avoiding waste and clean-up costs, reducing repair costs by catching something early, and minimizing energy costs. The numbers speak for themselves.

At the end of the day, everyone’s chasing their own ideal outcome. Every company and factory is different. For some, reducing repair costs is of utmost importance because their machines are so expensive. For others, such as food manufacturers, they are more into chasing the numbers around waste reduction.

In other words, like with the quickly expanding world of personalized medicine, every case is different – and the more you know about a patient, the more you can help them. It’s the same with factories: the more you know about the challenges of a particular business or site, the more you can find those meaningful numbers that speak to them the most. Ultimately, the personalized approach is key to support customers in developing confidence in their decision to partner with Augury.

“But the numbers that may have a larger impact on the lives of our users, such as increased peace of mind or a safer working environment, are usually much harder to quantify.”

Next-Level Numbers

We continuously strive to simplify the process of building business cases, such as with a simple ROI calculator. And we work with customers to personalize numbers such as calculating how many chips, beers or tubes of toothpaste we’ve been able to save them. These are the things that are relatively easy to quantify and assess impact.

But the numbers that may have a larger impact on the lives of our users, such as increased peace of mind or a safer working environment, are usually much harder to quantify. So how do you measure that? And how do you measure all those wins where customers leverage Augury’s data to successfully identify a root cause problem – from finding out why a component is overheating, or finding the optimum running speed of a machine? 

So this is my new challenge in our quest for continual improvement: telling these stories client by client, homerun by homerun.

Want to hear more success stories backed by numbers? Please contact us.

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