As a business owner, you no doubt understand the challenge businesses face to reduce inefficiencies, when trying to ensure productivity. Inefficiencies can creep up on us all, and if not remedied, can cause real heartache and pain to the business.
Often businesses will seek to reduce inefficiencies by chasing up their employees, looking for reasons why they are spending lots of time on certain tasks and not getting the job done quickly enough. This can have a negative impact to the morale of employees, while not addressing one of the core problems – the systems that staff are depending on to get work done are letting them down.
“Every time we get a new customer, three different people have to enter their details into four different systems, but that’s just how it has to be, right…?”
Not really. What that really means is, it takes up to 30 minutes per new customer on data entry alone – ignoring any further time spent correcting the inevitable inconsistencies of multi-point data entry. Say you get 4 new customers per week, that’s 2 hours per week. That’s 104 hours per year. That’s 13 days of staff time per year, spent on only entering the details of new customers into your systems. In other words, that’s 13 days that could be better spent.
And that’s just on one example of inefficient processes and system implementation.
I’ve seen too many businesses do nothing to reduce inefficiencies for far too long – only realising their impact when something goes significantly wrong – like the resignation of a key employee or losing customers to the competition.
So, how do you know when you need to reduce inefficiencies?
Well, a business needs to reduce inefficiencies when instead of doing what they do best, employees waste time by:
- Manually entering an order each time, when the customer only buys the same product every time;
- Taking orders for products that the business doesn’t have in stock, or have been superseded, or they miss the opportunity for an upsell because they don’t have visibility across every deal in process;
- Taking orders for customers that will put the customer over their trading terms or credit limit; and
- Picking orders with no information provided on how big or heavy the order is going to be, resulting in multiple unnecessary trips.
At the end of the day, inefficiencies can reduce the quality of your product / service, damage the morale of your employees, and even hurt the business financially.
If nothing is done to address your inefficiencies, it can result in:
- Your business spending thousands of dollars on tasks that add no value to your business;
- Employees spending more time on mundane administrative tasks, than those that are financially beneficial;
- Credit issues in the form of lost invoices, missing sales, and eroding margins;
- Key employees leaving the business out of frustration; and
- Customers leaving your business in favour of your competitors.
How can we avoid this?
The good news is that all this pain and heartache can be minimised. The best approach is to help your employees to the best they possibly can by supporting them with the right systems and processes, minimising the inefficiencies and maximising their productivity.
To achieve this, one key change you can make right now, is bringing your business management systems, tools, and processes into a single, integrated ecosystem that just works. It instantly makes staff more efficient – they only have to enter data once, and then it’s replicated across the business. This also works wonders for minimising human error and duplicate data.
But that’s not all. With the right software, you can minimise inefficiency throughout your business. Specifically, your software should:
- Centralise data and save employees’ time by eliminating manual processes.
- Streamline business processes and improve your supply chain.
- Track orders efficiently to reduce the risk of error and increase your return on investment (ROI).
- Be an end-to-end solution, providing the right tools for your specific business needs.
- Have mobile accessibility, so that your employees can work from anywhere, and have the information they need, where they need it.
- Reduce the manual processes involved in stocktaking which not only take longer but increase the risk of error.
Many of our clients, both big and small, are leveraging Micronet Systems to reduce inefficiencies and seeing significant benefits.
Micronet is a powerful platform for your business, allowing you to really revolutionise the way you do things. With Micronet you can:
- Automate intercompany order fulfilment, source inventory across all locations with transfers between companies and branches.
- Streamline business processes and improve your supply chain by incorporating efficient paperless picking & packing, automated receiving & receipting, warehousing automation, mobile stocktaking, integrated bar-coding, EDI interfacing, bin management, warehouse scheduling and bench scanning.
- Link the order to the shipment, providing visibility across the progress of your order, alert employees, and check credit limit (before and after orders are processed).
- Find solutions for integrated financials, warehouse management, e-business, customer relationship management, retail/POS, sales force management, business intelligence, and service management.
- Optimise your sales and marketing operations, and give your sales force access to the applications and tools they need in completing a sale and leaving a satisfied customer.
- Conduct Mobile Stocktaking – an efficient and accurate process for managing stocktakes. Errors and costs in a mobile stocktake are greatly reduced while speed and flexibility are significantly improved.
I hope these process specifications help you when you work towards reducing inefficiencies and increasing productivity. If you are dealing with any of the issues I’ve written about above and would like to discuss, please call my colleague, Yvette on 02 9542 2000.
Stuart Duncan is a Senior Sales Consultant at Micronet Systems, and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient processes regarding: sales, inventory and accounting systems by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, then leverage Stuart’s knowledge, with over 35 years of experience.