I know each and every business person reading this is interested in improving the efficiency of their daily operations. You want to be able to offer your clients the best products and services at the lowest possible cost. Unfortunately, increasing your company or department or team efficiency is not an easy task. A big mistake could impose a delay in your operations or force you to deliver an inferior product. Either one will cost you money.
Always take your time and set a reasonable time period for implementing any new efficiencies. Once you’ve identified areas where you can increase efficiency, suggest that any new implementations take place over a fiscal quarter, so every team member can adjust and you have time to ferret out the details and fine tune the plan.
Here are 5 ways I think you should look at to increase your business efficiencies, applicable company-wide, departmentally or on a team basis:
1. Assess and Evaluate Employee Productivity. The very first place to start is with an employee evaluation. Great businesses are built with great work forces. Consider the productivity of your own workforce, department by department. Ask managers to evaluate their team, as they work day-by-day with their colleagues and are a great resource when evaluating personnel and procedures.
Building clear communication channels with your managers, or granting them more flexibility with the management of their team, may also help boost productivity.
2. Assess and Evaluate Internal Procedures. This is often overlooked because this is by nature tedious work. But you should budget time to look at your entire company’s work flow; from how you are sourcing sales, to client meetings, to design work, to installation practices, and finally to after-sales service.
Where are you wasting time and money? Are there better methods and processes you can implement and if so, what are the steps necessary to get from A to Z?
3. Assess Company-wide Communication. There is such a wealth of technology available to guarantee your team members stay in touch with one another, as well as with clients, vendors, distributors and collaboration partners in your market. You can increase efficiencies in projects that require collaboration through specialized software or cloud-based technologies. Staying up to date with the latest technology and software dedicated to file sharing and inter-office communications can reduce the time needed to complete group projects.
4. Analyze customer traffic patterns. If you sell online, there are tons of website analytics you probably are already using to evaluate what works (sells) and what doesn’t. Software is available to inform you on how people found your website, what pages they visited, for how long and much, much more.
For retailers, you might look at using the latest in traffic monitoring software, giving you insight into detailed metrics that allow you to compare the performance of different products, monitor the effects of sales or promotions, monitor customer wait time, or determine effects on changes to prices, product placement or the various services you offer.
For integrators, you need to analyze how you are listening to your clients. They are an invaluable resource for letting you know what you’re doing right and for what you’re doing wrong. Think about analyzing how you keep your clients updated on new technologies, how to accurately track client correspondence and email responses, and how you can gain input from your clients through social media.
5. Continue to use the latest technology. When you look at increasing productivity, streamlining procedures and processes and improving the efficiency of your business, it is imperative that you are staying on top of the technology you deploy. Most businesses rely on technology for almost every task. Ensure you benefit from advances in enterprise technology by keeping up to date with emerging tech and business trends.
These are five areas you should begin with when looking to improve efficiency. Start by evaluating and asking questions. Strategize the plan with your management team. Set achievable goals and give yourself time to implement any changes. Track your progress and use positive results as a motivation to continue looking at ways to aid efficiency.