Striving to achieve operational efficiency in business is an ongoing effort. Ever-changing customer expectations and technology dependence drive it. At AIS, we aim to innovate and improve every aspect of our business. This includes focusing on operational efficiency and effectiveness in order to simplify processes, cut costs and streamline the user experience to better serve our customers.
Workflow analysis and implementation of a uniform system or technology can bring you quick wins. Understanding of the link between efficiency and expense also bring positive results.
Start by performing a deep review of the most common functions. Ask yourself: What processes are in place? How many hands are touching them? At what frequency? How much time does it take? Then, take a step back and ask: Is there an easier way? How can we streamline and simplify? Is this necessary anymore? Often the most common processes have been in play since the beginning. So, it’s easy to forget that times have changed. Accept that striving for operational efficiency is never-ending. As time moves on and the business changes, it’s likely that your processes should too.
Visualizing the optimal process or workflow will help determine where best to infuse technology. Finding ways to automate easy, routine tasks ensures that your time and most valuable resources (personnel) are best utilized for high valued customer touches. Yes, systems or new technology can be costly. Be open to taking the time to research options, however. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure the agreement clearly outlines your pain points, expected outcomes and how to measure success. Remain focused on simplifying processes and improving the user experience. Remember to keep an eye out for additional efficiency gains the technology will bring.
Companies large and small can always find ways to cut costs, eliminate waste or be more efficient. Simple but noteworthy ways to do this may include:
- Moving from snail mail to email (reducing postage)
- Offering E-signature in place of wet signature (less paper usage)
- Converting usage of paper cups to BYOM (bring-your-own-mug)
There are many more examples of improving operational efficiency that can be easily implemented. Dual monitors minimize printing but also increases productivity. Home-based workers reduce facilities expenses but also brings scheduling flexibility and greater employee satisfaction. When prioritizing your efficiency goals, it’s important to factor-in areas where expense reduction may occur. In most cases, an initial investment will be required. Just make sure that over time, the benefits will far outweigh the cost.
Above all, engage your team. Involving the staff members affected increases buy-in, ensures processes are accurately documented and provides meaningful insight into areas of inefficiency. From clerical to customer-facing functions, ongoing feedback is critical to measuring effectiveness. The ideal workplace runs efficiently and has engaged employees. Consequently, this helps to ensure that employees are well equipped to deliver a best-in-class experience to your customers. Another benefit of well-equipped employees is the support they feel and higher employee retention. Although this seems like an area for Human Resources to focuses on, employee retention also contributes to efficiency.
The article above is part of our B2B series offering tips to other business owners, managers and entrepreneurs. Also see our tips on Sales and Marketing, Finance and company direction written by the subject matter experts. Follow us on LinkedIn for more business-related topics.