BlogDivisional Reporting Broadens Benchmarking's Scope

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Divisional reporting is a prominent enhancement making its first appearance in the version of the Solomon Coyle Dealer Benchmark Report released July 2, 2018. Using the new feature, dealers can now configure the benchmark report tool to generate apples-to-apples performance comparisons by product category.
“We’re excited at being able to offer divisional breakdowns as report parameters,” said David Solomon, the director of research and managing principal at Solomon Coyle, “and I think it will significantly enhance the value of dealer participation in our annual Operational Performance and Financial Benchmark Survey.”
“The 20 percent or so of dealers that submitted valid product-category data for the YE2017 survey will be the first to benefit,” Solomon explained.
“As we see activity and revenue growth in those areas, I anticipate that more and more dealers will provide divisional breakouts in their benchmarking survey response. There’s a steady rise in customer demand for a wider variety of products, dealer-integrated solutions, and streamlined procurement. It only makes sense that dealers will want to track their performance against other dealers that have offerings in the same categories.”

Where to Find Divisional Reporting

To use the new feature, go to the Division field located at the top of the left column in the parameters section of the Benchmark Report.
[Insert an image of parameters section that makes the division field prominent. Show left and middle columns and part of the right column.]
Product categories that are available for performance reporting will appear in the dropdown selector in solid black type. This indicates that valid data has been received from the dealer and the user may proceed to configure the report for comparisons of interest. Product categories that appear greyed out are not available for performance comparison.
[Insert an image of the Division field that shows the dropdown selector displaying both locked and unlocked field values.]

Product Categories Available for Benchmarking

Divisional reporting is available currently for five product categories:

  • Furniture
  • Architectural
  • Floor and Wall Coverings
  • Audio-Visual
  • Technology

Dealers wishing to benchmark in any of these categories must submit category-specific data that meets our validation criteria. The data is entered in the divisional columns of the benchmarking survey, as indicated in the picture below. For each product category being reported, the dealer must provide:

  • Revenue [screen 1]
  • Product COGS [screen 1]
  • WD&I COGS/Expenses [screen 2]
  • Design/Technical COGS/Expenses [screen 2]
  • Project Management COGS/Expenses [screen 2]
  • Selling Expenses[screen 3; needs to show more than the image below]

Divisional Reporting Can Be Selective

Ideally, every participating dealer would provide breakout data for every applicable category and thus help make benchmarking as useful as possible to the dealer community as a whole. Maybe someday we’ll see that happen. Until then, we encourage dealers to at least submit breakouts where it can help you the most in understanding your business.
For example, maybe you established an Audio-Visual division and you’ve gained enough traction with it to justify separate accounting of selling expense, product COGS and revenue. Enter the data in the Audio-Visual column and continue to do composite reporting for the other areas of the business. By making just that one change to how you complete the survey you can get significantly more value from your benchmarking effort.
Note regarding the Furniture and Architectural categories: Participating dealers have access to the All Divisions category and the Furniture + Architectural category for any year for which they provide a valid Financial Benchmarking Survey response. If you submit completely composite data, all of it will be reflected in the All Divisions category. If you submit a roll-up of Furniture and Architectural data and report everything else on a composite basis, then you’ll be able to generate separate reports for either All Divisions or Furniture + Architectural. If you submit separate data for Architectural Products, our Benchmark Report tool assumes you are also submitting separate data for Furniture and you will have the further option of generating a separate report for the Architectural category.
[The paragraph above (“Note regarding…”) is an expansion of one that appears on the tutorial page that John drafted for divisional reporting. Even if I have the facts right, I think it might cause more confusion than understanding. Statements made earlier in this write-up in my mind make the whole thing clear, starting with the 2nd sentence of para. 1 — “Using the new feature, dealers can now configure the benchmark report tool to generate apples-to-apples performance comparisons by product category.”] I’m temporarily displaying John’s paragraph at the bottom of this post for reference until we get this point sorted.

Divisional Reporting Can Be Retroactive

We also encourage dealers to submit breakouts for the time frames when it can help you the most in understanding your business. Of course, you’ll be able to enter category data when we start the YE2018 benchmarking cycle. But if you have category data available for YE2017 or any prior year for which you submitted a valid benchmarking survey, feel free to enter it at any time. We’ll update the survey database and you’ll be able to generate divisional reports.

Getting Assistance

The Solomon Coyle team is happy to assist any dealer interested in resubmitting YE2017 or prior-year data with divisional breakouts. Email John’s paragraph from the original write-up: “The Furniture division is unlocked when a dealer provides Architecture-specific Selling Expense, Product COGS and Revenue. Otherwise, it is assumed that the dealer combined Furniture with Architecture. i.e. Breaking out Architecture unlocks both the Architecture and Furniture divisions.