There are tons of big and small ways to increase a company’s operational efficiency. In order to stay ahead of the competition, it’s critical to focus on what your customer really wants from your business (& how you can provide it faster and cheaper), figure out how work really gets done by your employees (manage and improve your business processes), and remove any obvious inefficiencies like unnecessary manual data entry, continuous order delays, overproduction, etc.
The 4 tips mentioned below will help you boost operational efficiency at your company by:
- Streamlining and automating business processes
- Automating partner communication
- Increasing collaboration between employees
- Improving data visibility and accuracy
- Reducing process complexities and manual data entry
- Improving customer satisfaction
1. Ensure your team has continuous access to company information
Continuous, uninterrupted access to accurate, real-time information is critical. Your employees should be working on one system – not multiple, separate systems. Sharing one database will ensure your team is working with the same information in order to make accurate, quick decisions and effectively complete tasks. There are affordable ERP management suites, like ErpWizard, developed for SMEs that allow these small businesses to streamline their processes and increase efficiency.
To ensure your team has continuous access and doesn’t encounter any downtime throughout the day (or loss of data), make sure you have a business continuity and disaster recovery solution and plan in action. Never skimp on a good business continuity solution! Check out QBR for more information.
2. Make it possible for your remote workers to access company info from their mobile devices
This point ties along with point #1 – to make sure your team (even those working out of office) have access to your management system (company information) at all times. Sales reps visiting customers will be able to input orders right away into the system from their mobile device (by logging into your company’s mobile business application); this ensures orders are accurate and can be processed quickly. Customer satisfaction will definitely see a boost with this tip!
3. Create efficient processes with Trading Partners
Receiving an email or fax with your partner’s purchase order and then manually inputting it into your management system, only to manually create and send back an invoice cannot be any more INEFFICIENT. It’s time you look into EDI in order to send and receive partner messages electronically. EDI documents, like Purchase Orders, Invoices, ASNs, can then be converted to XML/CSV in order to be automatically integrated into your management system – reducing any human intervention [Visit EDI2XML to see how this works]. Your partners, especially big players like Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, etc., will definitely be glad you can meet their requirements.
4. Develop & review a technology plan every year
Technology is continuously evolving. Your business requirements are constantly changing as well. Your company’s hardware and software will need to be re-evaluated every so often to ensure these IT solutions align properly with your business objectives and requirements. Every year or so, depending on how fast your company grows, you can sit down with an IT consultant or your IT Provider to determine what your company may be missing in order to stay competitive and efficient. Perhaps it’s time to upgrade your system, simplify a few processes, bring in process consistency and standardized procedures, implement a Business Intelligence & Analytics tool and more. Develop a technology plan for all this so years don’t go by before you realize you’ve hit a wall and need a whole IT revamp that can have major disruptions to your business.