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Reducing costs and improving efficiencies

posted by: Bernard Harper, 20 Nov 2019, 14:49 PM     category: Thinking

 

Key themes: Inefficient processes, Hidden costs ,Preparation, Change Management

You’d be amazed as to how much time and money your staff are spending executing duties that could be done more efficiently.

Ask yourself: when a customer or supplier interacts with your business, how does this process work currently ? Do they have to request the product or service more than once ? Or are they frustrated because dealing with your company is so time consuming. It may be worth asking one or two of your key customers or suppliers what it’s like dealing with your organisation.

Have a quick look at what’s going on ‘under the bonnet’ in your organisation. Follow a typical process through from beginning to end. Is the same thing having to be done more than once ? Is there duplication of effort involved with your staff and/or systems ? Multiple spreadsheets flying around; duplication of data entry ? Here’s where your hidden costs lie: leaking time, money, and potentially staff and customers….

Technology has moved on rapidly in the business operations space. Technology is great at performing repetitive tasks – humans are generally bad at them. There will be processes than can be fully automated that are currently being done manually. This is a poor use of human resources, and somewhat soul destroying for those that must do them. The answer is to use technology wisely for these boring tasks and in doing so freeing up your staff for higher order activities.

Inefficient Processes

One big mistake we often see is where a company implements a new piece of software without doing the analysis of how it impacts the existing systems and processes. This often leads to substantial inefficiencies where processes are duplicated and/or information must be entered more than once. Often the culprit is a cloud-based solution that has numerous touch points within the business, both systems and human. Because the new system is often plonked in on top of the existing architecture, problems quickly arise. The vendors of these systems are only really interested in the monthly retainer you pay them to ‘rent’ their software and are much less concerned in how the implementation can be made to work properly within your business.

Prepare the Ground

You wouldn’t plan new seedings in the ground that is choked with weeds. Similarly, you wouldn’t build a house without a decent set of plans.

Therefore, before implementing new processes and/or systems it pays to do some business process reengineering as a precursor to any development.

This will allow you to identify what information is required to run the business, including any missing data. As well as the data, key processes are examined and inefficiencies are designed away.

Last but not least, implementing a proper change management process is essential to any successful adoption.  Without it no new system or process is likely to be welcomed if those affected are none the wiser when it turns up.

 

Bernard Harper is managing director of NetReturn Consulting

 
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