Efficiencies can be gained in a variety of places throughout your business. Given the complexities of running a business you may not know where to start. Here are five areas that you can assess to decide if these can be streamlined in your business. Remember to evaluate the impact that each of these will have on the bottom line and also how they will impact your customers, suppliers, employees and business partners.
Reduce PaperOne of the quickest ways to streamline your business is to look at the paper flows in your business. Paperwork can quickly pile up and add unnecessary lead times in variety of areas. As you trace the paper trail, ask everyone who handles or creates a paper form the following questions:
- What information do you add to the paperwork and why is it needed?
- What information do you take from the paperwork and why do you need it?
- Why is this paperwork important for you to perform your job?
If anybody answers, "because it's always been done that way." it is almost certain that this area of the process is a prime candidate for reducing paperwork and streamlining the process. Also, if each piece of information cannot be justified, it should be eliminated from the form to reduce the amount of work necessary to process the paperwork.
Another area to investigate is filing and storage. File cabinets and storage boxes take up valuable office space. Use a document management system to archive paperwork for long term storage and retrieval to free-up the office space that is being occupied by paper storage.
Saving money on cell phone business usage can be quick and easy. According to mobithinking.com, the number of cell phone subscribers will exceed five billion in 2010. Competition in the general cell phone market is fierce. This is even more so for business cell phone customers. You can take advantage of the current marketplace and save money on cell phone usage in your business.
- Read more on how to Reduce Your Business Cell Phone Charges
Employees on the frontline and in the trenches know their jobs better than anyone else. The best employees have been with the company a long time and know the processes and decisions inside out. Look for areas where supervisors and managers are involved in day-to-day operations of the business and these will be the most common areas that can benefit from empowering employees. Remember, every time you take a decision/interaction out of the work-flow, you improve its efficiency.
B2B with Customers, Suppliers and Partners
Business to business (B2B) communications (also called e-commerce) goes way beyond just having a storefront on your web page. Having the ability to share electronic information automatically will determine which businesses thrive and which ones struggle keep afloat. Benefits include:
- Better customer service
- Increased sales
- Reduced inventory
- Capital savings
- Improved cash flow
- Reduced lead times
Do you have one piece of software for order entry? Another for accounting? Another for inventory control? Do you employ somebody to key the data from one system into another system? A "yes" answer to any of these questions indicates that you could need an integrated software platform. There are a variety of packages available today that can meet the needs of small companies as well as the large ones.
No business is too large or too small to reap the benefits of outsourcing. Restaurants can benefit as well as small businesses. There are many reasons to outsource any variety of functions. If you want to successfully implement outsourcing, planning and preparation are key.
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