The problem with list reports is that they only convey one piece of information at a time. They don’t give a full picture of what’s going on.
For example. Take a look at this image
This is the out of the box Low Stock report. It’s basically a list of products ordered by Stock Quantity. You can’t identify any patterns, groupings or priority actions with the list.
Now take a look at the same report using the Multiplex Report plugin
This is displayed in a graph format, but instead of a column indicating a single amount, it is split into each product with a picture of it’s manufacturer, giving a pictorial indication of the spread of low stock against manufacturer . I’ll cover all the elements of the screen in the next section.
This shows products WHERE the ‘Stock Quantity’ is one or below, WHERE there are more than one ‘Units Sold’ and then ORDERED BY ‘Units Sold’.
So if you focus on the right hand column, we have four priority products that we can see have had the most sales, but we know are low on stock. These need investigating. But because the report is all about images, it is immediately apparent the manufacturer of these products (you will see later that we do the same using the category image instead of the manufacturer image).