As a result of the current economic downturn, many businesses are struggling to increase profits or maintain growth. If you’re a business owner, you may therefore be looking for other non-traditional streams of revenue to add to your company. Reducing wasteful spending and optimising your company’s efficiency is one effective way of doing this, since doing so requires no extra growth on your part. And even if your company is not struggling, it is never a bad idea to increase the efficiency of a business. This is because inefficiencies in a company can substantially reduce profit margins. Businesses can also develop sub-standard reputations, if delays, occur too often. Here are a few quick ways you can help your business run more smoothly.
Incorporate Digital Tools Where Possible
Enterprise software tools serving all sectors of business are developing at a rapid rate. Already, daily tasks like managing employee pay, conducting market research, and sending sales e-mails can be done effortlessly and effectively through automation software. With the development of more emerging technologies like AI and machine learning, the capabilities of software tools are constantly expanding, as well. Purchasing a license for most popular enterprise software platforms is substantially less expensive than hiring someone. As such, to optimise your efficiency, you should try to incorporate useful software tools where possible. Automating tasks will not only reduce your overheads in terms of payroll, but can also save you and your colleagues time on a daily basis. Tasks like analysing website traffic could have been highly time-consuming in the past, but now can be accomplished instantly with very little oversight.
However, you should be careful about making your company overly reliant on software. In particular, over-using automated emails as part of your customer service management can cause more frustration in your customers than satisfaction. Software tools aren’t infallible either, so it is probably worthwhile to review the technology you do use regularly to ensure that they are fulfilling tasks properly.
Optimise Your Supply Chain
If a large part of your company involves the transportation of goods nationally or internationally, it is likely you can increase the efficiency of your company by optimising your supply chain. Given the amount of stages often involved in the delivery of packages today, there are plenty of opportunities for spillages or unnecessary delays to occur. This is particularly true for long-term sea freight operations, where cargo is often left unattended for months on end. Long planning and manufacturing cycles, poor planning accuracy, and inflexibility are all additional factors which can further reduce the efficacy of your supply chain. Poor planning in particular can be damaging if you’re a small business. This is because it means you may have to use several partially loaded vehicles instead of one fully-loaded one.
If logistics forms a core part of your operation, the above factors can lead to serious dents in your overall profits. Supply executives can often ignore any potential issues with your supply chain because the direct effects often aren’t obvious. That is why you or a 3rd party may consider conducting an independent analysis of your supply chain, to identify any specific problems with it. Fortunately, today there are plenty of 3rd party logistics providers as well as automated platforms which are designed to make transportation as efficient as possible. You could also think about investing in custom packaging for the delivery of fragile goods, to avoid any unnecessary breakages.
Motivate Your Employees
One of the major barriers to an efficient business is employee productivity. This is directly related to how motivated they are in working for your company. Unmotivated workers will not be invested in the quality of their work or how it reflects on the business at large. As such, they can frequently produce sub-standard work, miss deadlines, and work at an unnecessarily slow pace. They may also leave unexpectedly, resulting in delays due to the need to hire and train replacement staff. Finally, they can also impact the mood of a workplace environment, thus leading to other unmotivated employees.
The first step in improving productivity is therefore finding a way to boost employee motivation. There is not one guaranteed way to do this, but a good place to start is your own attitude. Employees tend to acclimate to the environment they are working in, so if you make a point of acting professionally, it is likely they will pick up on this. Delegating responsibilities will also make employees feel that they are trusted and part of the company. Otherwise, you could consider implementing monetary or physical reward schemes to further motivate your employees. However, be aware that, in areas like sales, this could promote unethical business practices.
Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Meetings are another thing which you can likely reduce and optimise to make your use of time as efficient as possible. All too often, meetings are held when emails could suffice, or the overall outcome of a meeting is too vague. Fortunately, this can be fixed fairly straightforwardly. You should first clearly determine the purpose of the meeting prior to calling it. Doing so will allow you to identify whether the meeting is actually needed or not. If it is just a reminder or an update about something, it is likely this information can be disseminated in a less formal manner. Secondly, you should make clear to everyone the actionable points of the meeting prior to its ending. That way, everyone will know specifically what to do afterwards.
Reduce Your Electricity Bills
The quickest way to cut costs in a business with premises is to reduce your electricity usage. This is also a sensible place to cut costs since doing so in this area won’t adversely affect your capability of making profits. You can start doing this easily, by turning off all computers and electronic applications when not in use. From there, you can also switch to energy-saving lighting and replace any outdated and inefficient equipment. LED lighting, in particular, has a very low energy cost, relative to the light it emits.