Every business operates differently and each has its own quirks. Management manages a certain way, and employees have different day-to-days. What’s similar about successful businesses is that most make their decisions based on sound data. For AirBoss’s Steven Csaki, the data is what makes or breaks a company.
Steven is a Financial Business Analyst Manager at AirBoss Engineered Products, which means he’s the guy behind the numbers that help keep the division competitive. As Financial Business Analyst Manager, Steven is also a proponent of preserving and passing on processes. He believes that a company can’t survive unless it places value in the knowledge that its long-time employees have gained. They’re the ones who know these processes, and they’re the ones who know how to pass this knowledge on to others.
“A lot of the time it’s not just the data that’s lost,” he offers. “It’s the actual ‘Where do I go to get the data? How am I supposed to use the data?’ and you’re left starting from Ground Zero.”
In Steven’s opinion, successful businesses value their data.
Good Data Means Making Good Decisions
In boiling down his current role, Steven says, “I go through the various systems that we have, pull out useful data, and present it to the people who make decisions so they can make smarter ones.”
Under the surface, Steven and his team are responsible for helping AirBoss beat out the competition. He routinely performs costing analyses to make sure AirBoss prices are accessible but also competitive.
Steven budgets, forecasts, and finds the sweet spots as far as industry trends are concerned. This is why he considers the role of Financial Business Analyst Manager an important one.
“It’s important so that we can be swift in our decision making and make decisions based on solid information as opposed to just speculation,” he says. “CEOs and CFOs have a lot of demands on their time, and a lot of the time they themselves can’t do all the research necessary to make good decisions. They rely on analysts to do it for them and to present the data in a way that allows them to make the next deal or decide what the future might hold for the business strategically.”
Improve the Process, Improve the People
“People and processes go hand-in-hand,” Steven shares. “In my way of thinking, you can’t have one without the other.”
That’s how Steven has always approached his work. So, when he thinks back to starting at AirBoss, he doesn’t make a distinction between which aspects of the job appealed to him first. It’s always been about improving processes and, in doing so, improving the people.
In late 2016, he began working in operations and quickly transitioned to the materials side of things. Then, it was back to operations as a production manager and interim plant manager for a short period. Next, he worked his process-sharpening magic with the sales team to optimize product costing.
“That role kind of morphed into what I do today,” says Steven. “What I was doing for the sales team before, I’m now doing for the whole division.”
Business Relationships are Harder to Cultivate These Days
“Historically, business is driven by relationships,” says Steven. He understands the importance of business relationships, but he also realizes that recent times have caused relationship-based businesses to turn more toward reliable data for guidance. “If you have a business that historically has been driven by relationships, and then you take the relationships out of it, the only thing you have left is data to make your decisions.”
“If the company hasn’t prepared for that process-wise, it’s very hard for them to stay nimble. Having the data analytics and a team that can look through the data acts as a hedge against losing those relationships and experience.”
Again, for Steven, his outlook always circles back to strong data supporting sound decisions that improve processes. Companies that succeed—through good times and bad—are those that can rely on their data and the people (like Steven) who analyze it.
A Bridge Between People and Processes
“In a lot of ways, I function as a bridge between people and processes,” he says candidly. “To not only educate people on the current process but also to help develop or modify existing processes to make them work smarter for the business today.”
When Steven isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with his three kids (soccer, baseball, and dance lessons), and he admits that at heart, he’s a big nerd who loves to share his hobbies and interests with his family.