Driving the Data

Categories: Distribution, Innovations, Trends & Technology, ISSA, Management

By Jonathan Adkins | June 4, 2018 << Back to Articles

Accessible by: anyone

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? Hard work. Instinct. Confidence. Leadership. Vision. Gut. How about data?

Now more than ever, business owners and managers look to data to validate their gut feelings and complement what’s made them successful. That’s what it takes to win in today’s modern marketplace; successful companies no longer can rely solely on customer service and hard work to sustain competitive advantage.

However, high-quality performance metrics typically are not readily available for independent businesses in the same way they are for large corporations. That is, until now, and the advent of ISSA’s Distributor Performance Dashboards (DPD) powered by CoMetrics.

ISSA has teamed up with CoMetrics to deliver DPD, a robust, online benchmarking platform for jansan distributors. The purpose for DPD is to provide metrics that inform better business decisions and make ISSA members stronger and more profitable.

2018 is a new year, and ISSA has re-opened the benchmarks to all ISSA-member distributor firms—free as a benefit of membership. To get started, log in to the DPD website at You’ll complete the fiscal-year 2017 DPD Profitability & Operating Performance Survey to see your data on the dashboards and begin your analysis. You can use the benchmarks in DPD on a year-round basis to identify potential improvement opportunities and close the gap between you and your peers.

How should you use these benchmarks specifically? While there is no one correct way, we’ve seen significant impact for companies when implementing the following five steps using DPD:

  1. Use the CoScore interface to see how the industry is doing and how you stack up. CoScore is a performance index that includes seven critical variables—ranging from asset management and expense control to operating efficiency and financial health/stability—that are indicative of a distributor business’s performance.
  2. View the Benchmarking interface to identify two to three improvement opportunities. The Benchmarking dashboard is as simple or complex as you make it; in it, you’ll find elements from your income statement and balance sheet, critical profit variables, and important metrics like cost to serve, which can help you drive bottom-line growth.
  3. Investigate what’s driving or limiting your performance. Is your firm a top performer (i.e., among the top quartile of DPD participants)? Why or why not? Look to metrics highlighted in green to quickly identify where you lead your peers, while red-highlighted metrics show where you lag them. These generally are ideal areas to focus your improvement efforts.
  4. Set goals and implement changes. Benchmarks themselves can be helpful; implementing actionable insights from the data is paramount.
  5. Monitor performance using the Trends interface. You can view your company’s year-over-year performance using the Trends dashboard in DPD. As you set goals and make changes, consider rewarding your team for success relative to your peers.

Make this the year you tap into DPD and leverage data that can help you bolster your business, inform your decisions, and position your company for long-term success.     

Ready to get started? ISSA-member distributors can visit to learn more or contact the ISSA staff to gather your login credentials, complete the DPD survey, and begin benchmarking.

About the Author.

Jonathan Adkins is ISSA's Market Research & Analytics Director. He can be reached at; phone 800-225-4772.