In 2020, Erin McGonigle took over as Director of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Bookstore. Even after many years working in the campus store, there was still more to learn in her new position. One of her discoveries was the benefits of using Dashboard, an MBS system’s business intelligence tool.
“When I took over as Director, I already knew the MBS system, but as anyone coming in, the first thing I did was really look around at other systems to see what was available. MBS is the leader on the textbook side. The detail level you get is unmatched in other places. I also discovered we were not utilizing Dashboard,” McGonigle said. “Now, I love Dashboard. I can still do my own reports, but I can also pull so much information. I have had three to four custom reports built within the tool to address specific things our store does. For example, one of the reports has to do with shipping. It’s something that might seem minimal, but it is really important for me to see how many online orders are being picked up versus shipped and to be able to track the difference between that. I look at the report every month and it is so easy now.”
Dashboard is a powerful business intelligence tool that gives stores on-demand, convenient access to high-level business intelligence as well as the ability to take a deeper look into the data to get a more detailed analysis. Dashboard is accessible from any web-based browser and makes it easy to quickly assess your store’s performance as well as share reports or information.
“I look at Dashboard every day. I am still learning a lot of the features, but it gives a great snapshot of our data. In the middle of the month, I do a comparison to see where we are versus where we were the previous year. I like to know in the moment where the store stands. This feature has really helped me save time and gives me a clear picture of the store,” McGonigle said. “It’s been great and so helpful. I am a big data person. I love that I can pull so much new data, crunch the numbers and kick things around. For example, I would be able to see if our t-shirt sales are down this year versus last year and get that level of detail I need to pinpoint why.”
Custom reports help streamline processes
While Dashboard provides many standard reports including a customizable KPI dashboard for stores, every store has unique data needs. Working with an MBS Store Technology Solutions representative, McGonigle had a few custom Dashboard reports built for her store to streamline and simplify processes.
“We have a customized budget report. I can put my projected month-to-month sales budget in and quickly see my budget versus actual sales. That had been a manual report before. I still keep the manual report to check at the end of the month, but I use Dashboard for day-to-day check ins and the midmonth check in to see where the month is compared to the budget. That has been really helpful. I think that is one of my favorite custom reports,” McGonigle said.
“My buyer, Darcy, does a lot of merchandise ranking reports to see what items are selling. Darcy uses one of the custom reports to stock the floor. So instead of going out onto the floor to see what’s out there, she has a spreadsheet of what’s in the back and checks to see what has sold. Then she uses that to create a list of items for our student worker to pull from the back. Otherwise, she has to go to each rack to see what we have and run back and forth to the stock room. It has saved a lot of time,” McGonigle said.
Access and support
As a new store director, McGonigle has been working hard to learn and understand all that her store’s MBS system can do. Through this, she has been grateful for the support of her MBS representative and the on-demand training documentation, videos and how-to instructions through the STS Resource Center.
“Brian Howard, our representative, is amazing. I contact him for everything. If he doesn’t know the answer, he gets you to who knows the answer, so I always ask Brian. We have a couple newer employees, so I will send him an email and he will send them the how-to link, write some quick instructions or offer to walk us through it. He’s really great about helping us,” McGonigle said. “My buyer had been a student worker who has recently stepped into her role. She has spent a lot of time in the Resource Center’s documentation area self-teaching and reading. She comes to me and says that our store has been doing a task one way, but we should really be doing it like this. There are tons of great resources that have been helpful in there as well.”