Is an ERP system the right move for your clients?

The opportunities and benefits of workflow automation

Whenever your clients are considering a change in business process, it’s important to know why they’re making the change and what they’re getting out of it – especially when it’s going to affect their entire organisation.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are software solutions that automate complex business processes. They can give companies the power to streamline operations and increase performance efficiency that would otherwise be slowed down by clunky manual processes.

While they might sound like the one solution to all your client’s operational problems, it’s important not to jump in without fully considering your client’s company needs transitioning to an ERP is a serious investment, both economically and time-wise.

So how do you determine if an ERP is the right choice for your client’s company?

In this month’s blog I discuss what you have to think through before deciding if an ERP system is right for your client’s business. Alternatively, you can download HARMONiQ’s ERP Automation eBook for a more in-depth analysis.

Are manual processes slowing your clients down?

There are many ways in which inefficient manual processes can negatively affect business operations, but here we will be focusing on three that are often deemed the most important by businesses considering a system change.

Cost

It’s true that ERP system implementation comes with a cost, but many businesses overlook the cost they’re already wearing due to inefficient processes.

While manual processes can work well for some smaller companies, a lot of the time they can be costly for larger businesses or those striving for growth. These costs can be large and plentiful, caused by:

  • Lost productivity through time-consuming manual work
  • Extra staff needed to complete processes
  • Repetition of tasks due to human error
  • Loss of stock due to poorly maintained manual records
  • Lost customers due to stock unavailability

These are direct costs, as well as indirect costs associated with loss of time and staff productivity. The latter can often be overlooked by companies – especially if ineffective manual processes have become the norm.

Inventory Management Process

Manual inventory management can be a messy and expensive process

Competition

While your clients don’t want to just implement a new system because everyone else is, it’s important to understand their competition and the services they are offering.

If your clients competitors have already implemented workflow automation and are making the most of the benefits, there’s a real chance they’re improved processes are drawing in customers – customers that could be coming to your clients. If your client’s processes are slow, difficult and time-consuming, they aren’t able to go above and beyond for their customers to achieve sales growth.

In this day and age, information is much more accessible, allowing customers the privilege of shopping around and doing their research. If a competitor can offer faster, more accurate and a more cost-effective service than your clients, chances are they’ll score the business.

Growth

If, like many companies, your clients want to achieve growth and see your business prosper, it’s unlikely their current processes will support them in this goal.

It is next to impossible to experience and sustain growth with a paper-based system and manual processes. As your client’s business starts to grow, how are they going to:

  • Review, keep track and store paperwork and business documents?
  • Store, distribute, track and manage an increased inventory?
  • Train staff and keep them up to date on all business operations?
  • Take care and keep track of every customer?
  • View all business data to gain visibility of overall business performance?
Inventory Management Paperwork

More business means more paperwork – are you prepared?

Know where your clients stand

You can now see how important it is to take a thorough look at your client’s business practices – unnoticed costs and roadblocks can often be discovered hiding in plain sight.

Now you know what to look for, you will have a better ability to determine your clients need for workflow automation. You should be considering:

  • The cost of implementing an ERP vs. the cost of keeping things the same at your client’s business
  • The projection of your clients industry and the paths their competitors are taking to further progress their business and boost sales
  • Whether your client’s current practices can support them through periods of growth without compromising on service delivery

When you really consider it, it’s likely you’ll find that manual processes won’t let your clients continue a consistent offering through growth periods.

This is a good sign that your clients should be looking for a way to update their system through workflow automation, which can provide the biggest reward for the smallest investment.

Look to the future with workflow automation

Implementing an ERP system is the most efficient way to achieve workflow automation across your client’s business. ERP’s are fully integratable, and can streamline processes throughout your entire operation, including:

  • Warehousing and Distribution
  • CRM
  • Inventory Management
  • Sales
  • Reporting

Allowing an ERP to simplify and automate your client’s business processes removes the chance of error, saves time and money, increases staff productivity and will allow for growth without interruption.

If you’re considering implementing an ERP system into your client’s business, you can discover more about the process in our eBook ERP Automation: Is an ERP system the right move for my business? It will also give you a more extensive idea of the benefits and capabilities of ERP’s, so you can make a clear and objective decision regarding the suitability for your client’s business.

Next month, I will be talking about the most efficient way to implement an ERP system.

If you would like to discuss this further, please email me at drew@micronet.com.au – I am always happy to have a chat.

Is an ERP system the right move for you?

The opportunities and benefits of workflow automation

Whenever you’re considering a change in business process, it’s important to know why you’re making the change and what you’re getting out of it – especially when it’s going to affect the entire organisation.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are software solutions that automate complex business processes. They can give companies the power to streamline operations and increase performance efficiency that would otherwise be slowed down by clunky manual processes.

While they might sound like the one solution to all your operational problems, it’s important not to jump in without fully considering your company’s needs – transitioning to an ERP is a serious investment, both economically and time-wise.

So how do you determine if an ERP is the right choice for your company?

In this month’s blog I discuss what you have to think through before deciding if an ERP system is right for your business. Alternatively, you can download HARMONiQ’s ERP Automation eBook for a more in-depth analysis.

Are manual processes slowing you down?

There are many ways in which inefficient manual processes can negatively affect business operations, but here we will be focusing on three that are often deemed the most important by businesses considering a system change.

Cost

It’s true that ERP system implementation comes with a cost, but many businesses overlook the cost they’re already wearing due to inefficient processes.

While manual processes can work well for some smaller companies, a lot of the time they can be costly for larger businesses or those striving for growth. These costs can be large and plentiful, caused by:

  • Lost productivity through time-consuming manual work
  • Extra staff needed to complete processes
  • Repetition of tasks due to human error
  • Loss of stock due to poorly maintained manual records
  • Lost customers due to stock unavailability

These are direct costs, as well as indirect costs associated with loss of time and staff productivity. The latter can often be overlooked by companies – especially if ineffective manual processes have become the norm.

Inventory Management Process

Manual inventory management can be a messy and expensive process

Competition

While you don’t want to just implement a new system because everyone else is, it’s important to understand your competition and the services they are offering.

If your competitors have already implemented workflow automation and are making the most of the benefits, there’s a real chance they’re improved processes are drawing in customers – customers that could be coming to you. If your processes are slow, difficult and time-consuming, you aren’t able to go above and beyond for your customers to achieve sales growth.

In this day and age, information is much more accessible, allowing customers the privilege of shopping around and doing their research. If a competitor can offer faster, more accurate and a more cost-effective service than you, chances are they’ll score the business.

Growth

If, like many companies, you want to achieve growth and see your business prosper, it’s unlikely your current processes will support you in this goal.

It is next to impossible to experience and sustain growth with a paper-based system and manual processes. As your business starts to grow, how are you going to:

  • Review, keep track and store paperwork and business documents?
  • Store, distribute, track and manage an increased inventory?
  • Train staff and keep them up to date on all business operations?
  • Take care and keep track of every customer?
  • View all business data to gain visibility of overall business performance?
Inventory Management Paperwork

More business means more paperwork – are you prepared?

Know where you stand

You can now see how important it is to take a thorough look at your business practices – unnoticed costs and roadblocks can often be discovered hiding in plain sight.

Now you know what to look for, you will have a better ability to determine your need for workflow automation. You should be considering:

  • The cost of implementing an ERP vs. the cost of keeping things the same
  • The projection of your industry and the paths your competitors are taking to further progress their business and boost sales
  • Whether your current practices can support you through periods of growth without compromising on service delivery

When you really consider it, it’s likely you’ll find that manual processes won’t let you continue a consistent offering through growth periods.

This is a good sign that you should be looking for a way to update your system through workflow automation, which can provide the biggest reward for the smallest investment.

Look to the future with workflow automation

Implementing an ERP system is the most efficient way to achieve workflow automation across your business. ERP’s are fully integratable, and can streamline processes throughout your entire operation, including:

  • Warehousing and Distribution
  • CRM
  • Inventory Management
  • Sales
  • Reporting

Allowing an ERP to simplify and automate your business processes removes the chance of error, saves time and money, increases staff productivity and will allow for growth without interruption.

If you’re considering implementing an ERP system into your business, you can discover more about the process in our eBook ERP Automation: Is an ERP system the right move for my business? It will also give you a more extensive idea of the benefits and capabilities of ERP’s, so you can make a clear and objective decision regarding the suitability for your business.

Next month, I will be talking about the most efficient way to implement an ERP system.

If you would like to discuss this further, please email me at drew@micronet.com.au – I am always happy to have a chat.

 

Author Bio

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.

Should your clients be selling online? Discover if e-commerce is right for their business

Have your clients been thinking about online selling?

If they are, the good news is that online sales reached $1.5 trillion dollars worldwide in 2016, and over the last 2 years has continued to grow.

That number demonstrates that customers are increasingly refusing to be limited by physical boundaries and the need to shop in store or fill out manual orders. So, there are some huge opportunities to expand into e-commerce in order to tap into that market.

But is it worth it for your client’s businesses?

With so much potential revenue waiting for them, it’s a smart move to start weighing up their options and considering the viability of an e-commerce website for their business.

Online Selling

Online shopping is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world.

Taking the first step into the world of e-commerce

For businesses who engage in traditional offline selling practices, deciding to sell their products online is a new terrain and may seem intimidating at first. There are many questions to ask yourself, including:

  • How will their customers benefit from an e-commerce site?
  • How much is an e-commerce site going to cost them?
  • How will they set up the site?
  • Who will set up the site?
  • When is the right time to launch?

But, before your clients even begin to go down that rabbit hole, they need to weigh up what they would like to achieve with online selling. Then collectively you can determine whether or not e-commerce actually has the capability to achieve these goals for your clients.

If your clients already know that e-commerce is a direction they want to take, our Selling Online e-book, is a complete guide to everything they need to know to get them started on their e-commerce journey. But, if they’re not sold on the idea yet, read on.

Your client’s objectives vs. e-commerce capabilities

For any business, it’s safe to assume that they’re always looking for new ways to make their processes more efficient, grow their business and make more money.

That’s why e-commerce and the opportunities it creates (and the needs that it can fulfil) is so exciting.

Let’s take a look at the 3 most common needs businesses are wanting to fulfil with online selling.

1. Increasing their customer reach

The beauty in your clients having a smaller customer base is how well they get to know their customers, so there are definitely some advantages to staying traditional. By building stronger relationships, your client’s customers will often become advocates for their brand and spread positive word-of-mouth to their network.

While traditional bricks and mortar businesses are limited to the customer base that surrounds the vicinity of the store or warehouse, one-on-one customer engagement is still an extremely important part of selling. Being able to speak directly to customers about their needs, issues and the value your client’s products offer will provide them valuable guidance.

For these reasons, sticking with traditional practices is a totally viable business option. But, when it comes to e-commerce, your clients can gain access to an entirely new customer base — and boost their sales volume as a result.

With e-commerce, it’s possible to reach thousands of new customers (potentially from anywhere in the world), at any time of the day or night. Traditional business hours no longer matter, as customers can complete their orders 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

And even better than that?

Your clients, as the merchant, wouldn’t need to dedicate any extra resources to support it.

2. Increased workflow and supply-chain efficiency

While front-facing operations are a huge part of selling online, there is a whole other side of online selling that involves processing customer orders and getting them out quickly and efficiently.

When set-up correctly, e-commerce sites are a cost-effective way to streamline your client’s workflow processes by eliminating manual, labour-intensive processes and replacing them with automation.

e-commerce platforms can help your clients to:

  • Streamline order processes
    Manage all incoming orders from a centralised location, leading to larger volumes of orders that can be filled daily.
  • Increase order accuracy
    Maintain order accuracy, even during busy times of the year like major sales and Christmas.
  • Complete inventory visibility
    Having accurate, real-time views of their product inventory will enable them to maintain accurate orders.

However, if your client’s currently operate warehousing facilities but they aren’t currently selling online, these systems are still able to be utilised with mobile warehousing solutions.

Your clients don’t necessarily need an e-commerce site to automate their warehouse processes, but seamlessly integrating the two will make the buying process a lot easier for them, and their customers.

e-commerce and distribution integration

Seemlessly integrate e-commerce and distribution operations.

3. Achievement of financial goals

If your clients are after quick, short-term financial gain, e-commerce may not be the right move for their business. Online selling is much more of a long-term investment that will cost them at first but will certainly earn back its value very quickly.

They need to be aware that there will be initial set-up costs to get their site up and running. But, before they even get to that stage, there will be lots of time (and money) spent on strategy and planning to get the right solution for their business and — more importantly — their customers.

In saying that, in the long-run, e-commerce is an extremely successful and sustainable business model. The operational costs are far lower than traditional bricks-and-mortar, and marketing automation functions will lower the total number of employees required to run your client’s business. This will result in outstanding long-term ROI, and the initial set-up costs will quickly be forgotten.

Selling Online

Online selling isn’t a quick fix, it’s a long-term financial investment.

There’s no question that more and more businesses are turning to digital, driven by customer demand. But that doesn’t mean it is the right move for your client’s businesses to move online — yet.

In order to be successful, your clients will need thorough planning, and be supported by well-chosen technology that suits the needs and wants of their business and their customers. Check out the Selling Online eBook for more information about assessing if your client’s business is ready for online selling.

Are your clients thinking about online selling?

HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution business make a successful and seamless switch to a fully integrated e-commerce solution which maximised their sales and ROI.

We’re using that expertise to keep you informed about your client’s selling online options. That’s why next month, I’ll talk more about ensuring their transition to selling online is a success. Meanwhile, why not learn more: download HARMONiQ’s “Complete Guide to Online Selling” e-book.

Here you’ll find a complete overview of all the planning and resources your clients need to invest in, so they can effectively facilitate the launch of a successful e-commerce platform.

And if your clients would like to see first-hand how our system can help them seamlessly transition to online selling, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If your clients want to gain better control of the sales processes in their business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business, or click here to get in touch.

Should you be selling online? Discover if e-commerce is right for your business

Have you been thinking about online selling?

If you are, the good news is that online sales reached $1.5 trillion dollars worldwide in 2016, and over the last 2 years has continued to grow.

That number demonstrates that customers are increasingly refusing to be limited by physical boundaries and the need to shop in store or fill out manual orders. So, there are some huge opportunities to expand into e-commerce in order to tap into that market.

But is it worth it for your business?

With so much potential revenue waiting for you, it’s a smart move to start weighing up your options and considering the viability of an e-commerce website.

Online Selling

Online shopping is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world.

Taking the first step into the world of e-commerce

For businesses who engage in traditional offline selling practices, deciding to sell your products online is a new terrain and may seem intimidating at first. There are many questions to ask yourself, including:

  • How will your customers benefit from an e-commerce site?
  • How much is an e-commerce site going to cost you?
  • How will you set up the site?
  • Who will set up the site?
  • When is the right time to launch?

But, before you even begin to go down that rabbit hole, you need to weigh up what you’d like to achieve with online selling. Then you can determine whether or not e-commerce actually has the capability to achieve these goals for you.

If you already know that e-commerce is a direction you want to take, our Selling Online e-book, is a complete guide to everything you need to know to get you started on your e-commerce journey. But, if you’re not sold on the idea yet, read on.

Your objectives vs. e-commerce capabilities

For any business, it’s safe to assume that you’re always looking for new ways to make your processes more efficient, grow your business and make more money.

That’s why e-commerce and the opportunities it creates (and the needs that it can fulfil) is so exciting.

Let’s take a look at the 3 most common needs businesses are wanting to fulfil with online selling.

1. Increasing your customer reach

The beauty in having a smaller customer base is how well you get to know your customers, so there are definitely some advantages to staying traditional. By building stronger relationships, your customers will often become advocates for your brand and spread positive word-of-mouth to their network.

While traditional bricks and mortar businesses are limited to the customer base that surrounds the vicinity of the store or warehouse, one-on-one customer engagement is still an extremely important part of selling. Being able to speak directly to your customers about their needs, issues and the value your products offer will provide them valuable guidance.

For these reasons, sticking with traditional practices is a totally viable business option. But, when it comes to e-commerce, you can gain access to an entirely new customer base — and boost your sales volume as a result.

With e-commerce, it’s possible to reach thousands of new customers (potentially from anywhere in the world), at any time of the day or night. Traditional business hours no longer matter, as customers can complete their orders 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

And even better than that?

You, as the merchant, wouldn’t need to dedicate any extra resources to support it.

2. Increased workflow and supply-chain efficiency

While front-facing operations are a huge part of selling online, there is a whole other side of online selling that involves processing customer orders and getting them out quickly and efficiently.

When set-up correctly, e-commerce sites are a cost-effective way to streamline your workflow processes by eliminating manual, labour-intensive processes and replacing them with automation.

e-commerce platforms can help you to:

  • Streamline order processes
    Manage all incoming orders from a centralised location, leading to larger volumes of orders that can be filled daily.
  • Increase order accuracy
    Maintain order accuracy, even during busy times of the year like major sales and Christmas.
  • Complete inventory visibility
    Having accurate, real-time views of your product inventory will enable you to maintain accurate orders.

However, if you currently operate warehousing facilities but you aren’t currently selling online, these systems are still able to be utilised with mobile warehousing solutions.

You don’t necessarily need an e-commerce site to automate warehouse processes, but seamlessly integrating the two will make the buying process a lot easier for you, and your customers

e-commerce and distribution integration

Seemlessly integrate e-commerce and distribution operations.

3. Achievement of financial goals

If you’re after quick, short-term financial gain, e-commerce may not be the right move for your business. Online selling is much more of a long-term investment that will cost you at first but will certainly earn back its value very quickly.

You need to be aware that there will be initial set-up costs to get your site up and running. But, before you even get to that stage, there will be lots of time (and money) spent on strategy and planning to get the right solution for your business and — more importantly — your customers.

In saying that, in the long-run, e-commerce is an extremely successful and sustainable business model. The operational costs are far lower than traditional bricks-and-mortar, and marketing automation functions will lower the total number of employees required to run your business. This will result in outstanding long-term ROI, and the initial set-up costs will quickly be forgotten.

Selling Online

Online selling isn’t a quick fix, it’s a long-term financial investment.

There’s no question that more and more businesses are turning to digital, driven by customer demand. But that doesn’t mean it is the right move for your business to move online — yet.

In order to be successful, you will need thorough planning, and be supported by well-chosen technology that suits the needs and wants of your business and your customers. Check out the Selling Online eBook for more information about assessing if your business is ready for online selling.

Are you thinking about online selling?

HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution business make a successful and seamless switch to a fully integrated e-commerce solution which maximised their sales and ROI.

We’re using that expertise to keep you informed about your selling online options. That’s why next month, I’ll talk more about ensuring your transition to selling online is a success. Meanwhile, why not learn more: download HARMONiQ’s “Complete Guide to Online Selling” e-book.

Here you’ll find a complete overview of all the planning and resources you need to invest in, so you can effectively facilitate the launch of a successful e-commerce platform.

And if you’d like to see first-hand how our system can help you seamlessly transition to online selling, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.

Seeking a competitive advantage for your clients? Try automation and cost controls

In my last blog, I spoke about the massive issues caused by manual systems, and how adopting process automation can help your clients control costs and eliminate these inefficiencies.

But in competitive industries such as wholesale, distribution, or retail, your clients need to do much more than just eliminate inefficiencies. Every dollar counts, so they need to be looking for ways to both cut costs where necessary and invest in long-term solutions that will be more cost-effective.

Every business is striving to stay competitive with innovation, technology and improved processes. That means your client’s businesses need to be too. Because continuing to rely on how things have always been done can be the fastest way for them to get left behind.

When I previously spoke about process automation, I talked about how it can help your clients achieve:

  • Increased staff productivity
  • Streamlined reporting
  • Better management of suppliers
  • Improved customer satisfaction.

Which ultimately all results in tighter costs and margin controls — and therefore, more revenue.

You might think that the intricacies of increasing cost controls can be daunting and complex, but it’s been laid out in an easily understandable way in HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs eBook.

Process Automation

Unsure where to cut costs, and where to invest? Find out in the eBook

The eBook will go into more detail about the various processes and changes you can implement in order to control costs, but today I’m bringing you the top 3 methods of leveraging process automation. These will increase your client’s capability to control costs and give a huge leg-up on your ability to be competitive.

Every dollar counts: 3 ways process automation can control costs and boost your client’s competitiveness

  1. Eliminate double-handling

Technology can make or break your client’s business. While the right kind of tech can boost their efficiency and productivity, the wrong kind could be their downfall.

This is especially the case if they have multiple systems working in isolation. This creates a huge number of issues, one of the most significant being an extreme amount of double-handling. This includes:

  • Importing and exporting data between different systems
  • Entering the same data multiple times
  • Re-entering data if there’s errors and inconsistencies

Obviously, this level of inefficiency is going to rapidly increase costs, not help control them.

Double-handling is a constant adversary for retail, warehousing and distribution businesses, and process automation is one of the only ways to guarantee victory over it.

Businesses who use software that integrates all aspects of their operations (accounting, inventory management, customer service, eMarketing, etc.) can easily identify and eliminate instances in which staff duplicate their efforts, make errors, or repeat data entry.

  1. Streamline your client’s reporting

Monitoring your client’s KPIs through robust reporting is a great way to ensure their business stays on the right track and is effectively controlling costs.

Many business executives think this means having to dedicate significant resources towards data compilation and analytics. But is that really the case?

Of course not!

Automated reporting is an opportunity being seized by businesses who want to gain a competitive advantage.

By making full use of their reporting tools, leading businesses generate reports to ensure that:

  • Financials are on track
  • Variances are investigated immediately
  • Sales staff are held accountable for their targets
  • Generating pipeline analytics is fast and easy

So not only does process automation allow your clients to track how they have done in the past, it can also help them plan intelligently for the future.

  1. Engage your client’s customers

Businesses frequently rely solely on staff to action follow-up tasks and respond to customer enquiries. This almost inevitably results in some tasks falling through the cracks, which means missed opportunities and a compromised customer service record.

That’s hardly ideal if your clients are trying to remain competitive — especially if they are relying on referrals or return business to boost their bottom line.

This is where I’ve seen businesses use their CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) to intelligently achieve significant advantage in customer satisfaction. Some examples of what they do:

  • Automatic follow-ups to quotes
  • Targeted emails to touch base with existing customers every few months
  • Personalised follow-up emails to customers who have deviated from their usual buying habits

By using a CRM to automate these tasks, your clients could be saving time and effort for their staff, while also continuing to maintain meaningful relationships with their customers and drive increased sales and cost controls.

Seize the automation opportunity

The endless benefits of process automation don’t just stop there. If your clients are trying to stay competitive and you want to know more about methods for controlling costs, then check out HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook.

Process automation software

Boost your efficiency and competitiveness with process automation and integrated operations

As strong advocates for automation, we’ve helped businesses leverage technology to increase their efficiency and profitability with our HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.

It’s a unique platform that gives your clients:

  • Full integration by incorporating all operations into one platform — totally streamlining their business.
  • The ability to track key performance metrics, as well as pipeline analytics, allowing your clients to forecast their outcomes and make more informed decisions.
  • Automation of simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help your clients optimise their business processes and gain that edge they need. As a truly customisable and scalable software, your clients can leverage HARMONiQ to drive significant efficiencies, while also ensuring that the software will continue to grow alongside their business.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging process automation for your clients and other great technology to achieve significant efficiency improvements in their businesses, please call me on 02 9542 2000.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your client’s business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business, or click here to get in touch.

Seeking a competitive advantage? Try automation and cost controls.

In my last blog, I spoke about the massive issues caused by manual systems, and how adopting process automation can help you control costs and eliminate these inefficiencies.

But in competitive industries such as wholesale, distribution, or retail, you need to do much more than just eliminate inefficiencies. Every dollar counts, so you need to be looking for ways to both cut costs where necessary and invest in long-term solutions that will be more cost-effective.

Every business is striving to stay competitive with innovation, technology and improved processes. That means you need to be too. Because continuing to rely on how things have always been done can be the fastest way to get left behind.

When I previously spoke about process automation, I talked about how it can help you achieve:

  • Increased staff productivity
  • Streamlined reporting
  • Better management of suppliers
  • Improved customer satisfaction.

Which ultimately all results in tighter costs and margin controls — and therefore, more revenue.

You might think that the intricacies of increasing cost controls can be daunting and complex, but it’s been laid out in an easily understandable way in HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs eBook

Process Automation

Unsure where to cut costs, and where to invest? Find out in the eBook

The eBook will go into more detail about the various processes and changes you can implement in order to control costs, but today I’m bringing you the top 3 methods of leveraging process automation. These will increase your capability to control costs and give a huge leg-up on your ability to be competitive.

Every dollar counts: 3 ways process automation can control costs and boost your competitiveness

  1. Eliminate double-handling

Technology can make or break your business. While the right kind of tech can boost efficiency and productivity, the wrong kind could be your downfall.

This is especially the case if you’ve got multiple systems working in isolation. This creates a huge number of issues, one of the most significant being an extreme amount of double-handling. This includes:

  • Importing and exporting data between different systems
  • Entering the same data multiple times
  • Re-entering data if there’s errors and inconsistencies

Obviously, this level of inefficiency is going to rapidly increase costs, not help control them.

Double-handling is a constant adversary for retail, warehousing and distribution businesses, and process automation is one of the only ways to guarantee victory over it.

Businesses who use software that integrates all aspects of their operations (accounting, inventory management, customer service, eMarketing, etc.) can easily identify and eliminate instances in which staff duplicate their efforts, make errors, or repeat data entry.

  1. Streamline your reporting

Monitoring your KPIs through robust reporting is a great way to ensure your business stays on the right track and is effectively controlling costs.

Many business executives think this means having to dedicate significant resources towards data compilation and analytics. But is that really the case?

Of course not!

Automated reporting is an opportunity being seized by businesses who want to gain a competitive advantage.

By making full use of their reporting tools, leading businesses generate reports to ensure that:

  • Financials are on track
  • Variances are investigated immediately
  • Sales staff are held accountable for their targets
  • Generating pipeline analytics is fast and easy

So not only does process automation allow you to track how you’ve done in the past, it can also help you plan intelligently for the future.

  1. Engage your customers

Businesses frequently rely solely on staff to action follow-up tasks and respond to customer enquiries. This almost inevitably results in some tasks falling through the cracks, which means missed opportunities and a compromised customer service record.

That’s hardly ideal if you’re trying to remain competitive — especially if you’re relying on referrals or return business to boost your bottom line.

This is where I’ve seen businesses use their CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) to intelligently achieve significant advantage in customer satisfaction. Some examples of what they do:

  • Automatic follow-ups to quotes
  • Targeted emails to touch base with existing customers every few months
  • Personalised follow-up emails to customers who have deviated from their usual buying habits.

By using a CRM to automate these tasks, you could be saving time and effort for your staff, while also continuing to maintain meaningful relationships with your customers and drive increased sales and cost controls.

Seize the automation opportunity

The endless benefits of process automation don’t just stop there. If you’re trying to stay competitive and you want to know more about methods for controlling costs, then check out HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook.

Process automation software

Boost your efficiency and competitiveness with process automation and integrated operations

As strong advocates for automation, we’ve helped businesses leverage technology to increase their efficiency and profitability with our HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.

It’s a unique platform that gives you:

  • Full integration by incorporating all operations into one platform — totally streamlining your business.
  • The ability to track key performance metrics, as well as pipeline analytics, allowing you to forecast your outcomes and make more informed decisions.
  • Automation of simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise your business processes and gain that edge you need. As a truly customisable and scalable software, you can leverage HARMONiQ to drive significant efficiencies, while also ensuring that the software will continue to grow alongside your business.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging process automation and other great technology to achieve significant efficiency improvements in your business, please call me on 02 9542 2000.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.

 

Lost inventory getting your clients down? Fight inventory shrinkage with process automation.

It’s estimated that Australian wholesalers and retailers lose an average of 1.24% of total turnover per year through various forms of inventory shrinkage.

That adds up to a huge amount of money — last year alone, it was estimated that a staggering $4.5 billion was lost due to inventory shrinkage in Australia’s retail, warehousing and distribution sector.

Most businesses attribute a large portion of these losses to theft and breakage. While these factors do play a significant part in lost capital, there’s no denying the huge losses that are caused by inefficiencies and errors.

Inventory Shrinkage

Inventory shrinkage is a massive cost for Australian businesses

By inefficiencies, I mean:

  • Unchecked stock variances, or the excessive monitoring of variances
  • Invoicing errors
  • Administrative mistakes
  • Double-handling of inventory and tasks

And the worst part?

Often these expensive drains on productivity are either passed onto your client’s customers, or simply taken as a hit to the company’s bottom line.

So, how can businesses, like your clients, minimise their costs when it comes to dealing with variances and shrinkage?

The best way is the adoption of process automation.

See how process automation can help your clients control costs: HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook

How manual processes are wasting time

The following are just two of the many examples where the speed and productivity of a business is drastically affected by processes that have not yet been optimised.

Inefficient Exception Reporting

Exception reporting is the process of flagging any discrepancies between a company’s actual and expected performance. It is an essential part of controlling costs and tightening margins, but completing it manually causes all sorts of problems.

There are so many points in the reporting process that are prime opportunities for errors and inefficiencies:

  • Scrutiny of inbound stock data
  • Analysis of outbound stock data
  • Data entry across a number of different points
  • Reconciling data across different systems.

Not only is this hugely inefficient, but an error in any one of these steps means massive inaccuracies across all reporting.

Needless to say, the whole process is prone to administrative and paperwork errors that can contribute in driving your client’s businesses inventory shrinkage.

Delayed Variance Investigations

A good example of a knock-on effect from inaccurate reporting is the way it can affect stock variance.

Adjustments and variances tend to pile-up. If you’re waiting weeks, or even months, before you sift through paperwork and complete investigations, then your clients are in huge danger of chasing red herrings and failing to identify the real source of the issues.

By this time these situations will have become not only more difficult to identify and resolve, but more expensive as well.

For example, they might discover that they have been short-delivered stock far too late. Obviously, this is not ideal for a myriad of reasons, but it’s the lost capital that’s going to hurt the most.

That’s the advantage of process automation — real-time alerts of excessive variances and the easy identification of problem areas.

process automation

Administration issues contribute greatly to inventory shrinkage

How can your clients get a better grip on their stock — and their margins

Although it will likely always be a factor for any retailer or warehouse, inventory shrinkage can be massively reduced with greater automation.

See how process automation can help your clients gain visibility and increase efficiency: HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook

Automating inventory parameters

Once your clients have process automation integrated within their business, they can set parameters to avoid various triggers of inventory shrinkage. With these parameters your clients can set alerts for whenever they go above or below acceptable stock levels.

This way your client can make sure they never promise a customer a product that they don’t have, or over order stock that will pass a use-by date before it is sold.

Automated stock adjustments

Process automation can also let your clients know when stock adjustments have been completed. This means any issues that come up relating to invoicing or stock levels can be immediately dealt with.

With this process in place your clients will know in real-time if they need to chase up that supplier who forgot to deliver that one extra pallet before it becomes an issue for their customers.

The best part? Implementing process automation doesn’t have to be difficult

HARMONiQ has already helped many wholesalers, retailers and distributers reduce their inventory shrinkage, and ultimately create a much healthier turnover.

HARMONiQ can provide you and your clients with:

  • Real time alerts
  • Accurate adjustments
  • Easy reporting
  • Stock investigations

To learn more about the capabilities of our system, check out our eBook.

In my next blog I’ll be talking about how process automation and cost controls can contribute to a competitive advantage.

In the meantime, book an online demo to see how process automation can benefit your client’s business.

 

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.

Lost inventory getting you down? Fight inventory shrinkage with process automation.

It’s estimated that Australian wholesalers and retailers lose an average of 1.24% of total turnover per year through various forms of inventory shrinkage.

That adds up to a huge amount of money — last year alone, it was estimated that a staggering $4.5 billion was lost due to inventory shrinkage in Australia’s retail, warehousing and distribution sector.

Most businesses attribute a large portion of these losses to theft and breakage. While these factors do play a significant part in lost capital, there’s no denying the huge losses that are caused by inefficiencies and errors.

Inventory Shrinkage

Inventory shrinkage is a massive cost for Australian businesses

By inefficiencies, I mean:

  • Unchecked stock variances, or the excessive monitoring of variances
  • Invoicing errors
  • Administrative mistakes
  • Double-handling of inventory and tasks

And the worst part?

Often these expensive drains on productivity are either passed onto our customers, or simply taken as a hit to the company’s bottom line.

So, how can businesses, like yours, minimise their costs when it comes to dealing with variances and shrinkage?

The best way is the adoption of process automation.

See how process automation can help you control costs: HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook

How manual processes are wasting your time

The following are just two of the many examples where the speed and productivity of a business is drastically affected by processes that have not yet been optimised.

Inefficient Exception Reporting

Exception reporting is the process of flagging any discrepancies between a company’s actual and expected performance. It is an essential part of controlling costs and tightening margins, but completing it manually causes all sorts of problems.

There are so many points in the reporting process that are prime opportunities for errors and inefficiencies:

  • Scrutiny of inbound stock data
  • Analysis of outbound stock data
  • Data entry across a number of different points
  • Reconciling data across different systems.

Not only is this hugely inefficient, but an error in any one of these steps means massive inaccuracies across all reporting.

Needless to say, the whole process is prone to administrative and paperwork errors that can contribute in driving your business’s inventory shrinkage.

Delayed Variance Investigations

A good example of a knock-on effect from inaccurate reporting is the way it can affect stock variance.

Adjustments and variances tend to pile-up. If you’re waiting weeks, or even months, before you sift through paperwork and complete investigations, then you’re in huge danger of chasing red herrings and failing to identify the real source of the issues.

By this time these situations will have become not only more difficult to identify and resolve, but more expensive as well.

For example, you might discover that you have been short-delivered stock far too late. Obviously, this is not ideal for a myriad of reasons, but it’s the lost capital that’s going to hurt the most.

That’s the advantage of process automation — real-time alerts of excessive variances and the easy identification of problem areas.

process automation

Administration issues contribute greatly to inventory shrinkage

How you can get a better grip on your stock — and your margins

Although it will likely always be a factor for any retailer or warehouse, inventory shrinkage can be massively reduced with greater automation.

See how process automation can help you gain visibility and increase efficiency: HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook

Automating inventory parameters

Once you have process automation integrated within your business, you can set parameters to avoid various triggers of inventory shrinkage. With these parameters you can set alerts for whenever you go above or below acceptable stock levels.

This way you can make sure that you never promise a customer a product that you don’t have, or over order stock that will pass a use-by date before it is sold.

Automated stock adjustments

Process automation can also let you know when stock adjustments have been completed. This means any issues that come up relating to invoicing or stock levels can be immediately dealt with.

With this process in place you will know in real-time if you need to chase up that supplier who forgot to deliver that one extra pallet before it becomes an issue for your customers.

The best part? Implementing process automation doesn’t have to be difficult

HARMONiQ has already helped many wholesalers, retailers and distributers reduce their inventory shrinkage, and ultimately create a much healthier turnover.

HARMONiQ can provide you with

  • Real time alerts
  • Accurate adjustments
  • Easy reporting
  • Stock investigations

To learn more about the capabilities of our system, check out our eBook.

In my next blog I’ll be talking about how process automation and cost controls can contribute to a competitive advantage.

In the meantime, book an online demo to see how process automation can benefit your business.

 

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.

3 essential considerations before you implement new margin and cost controls for your client

In a globalised market that is fiercely competitive, businesses need to outperform their competitors wherever and whenever they can.

One huge opportunity for competitive advantage is margin and cost optimisation.

Last month, we established the importance of introducing tighter margin and cost controls. (And the risks of not doing it.)

The next step: how to implement those controls for your clients.

As much as you might want to jump straight into a new margin approach for your clients — knee-jerk, short-lived changes can put their staff off side, and do more harm than good.

How do you ensure their new approach lasts?

Taking an integrated, project-based approach is the best way. But it’s not without its own challenges.

HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution businesses put in place the metrics and controls they need to stay more competitive.

We even created a whole eBook about it. Download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs eBook here.

In this month’s blog, I’m discussing what you have to think through before you get down to implementing tighter controls in your clients’ business…

3 essential considerations

1. How effective is your clients’ change management?

“Creating sustainable cost transformation is not a change in process – it is a change in thinking that requires complete organisational commitment and involvement.” – Tania Seary, The Faculty

For change to occur – a complete staff buy-in is needed

Management’s ability to prepare and support their team in making fundamental changes will be a defining factor in their success

Your clients will need to establish a culture of cost and margin optimisation.

This new culture must be embraced by all. It won’t happen if senior management is resistant and staff is not involved.

How do you ensure organisational commitment and involvement?

First, management need to make sure it’s not seen as a cost cutting exercise.

The initiative needs to be embraced as a positive, value-adding endeavour —  to identify and leverage every point where your clients add (or don’t add) value to their customer.

Second, senior management must commit up front to the mission — its importance — and the process to ensure staff buy-in all the way down the line.

2. Are the right metrics and controls being measured?

To make the right decisions you need to be measuring the right metrics

With today’s modern technologies, businesses can measure almost anything — it’s choosing what to filter out that’s the real challenge.

Businesses need to find the true primary and secondary drivers of their value chain. These are the activities that provide significant value to the end-user — and consequently, competitive advantage to their business.

For example: Is their logistical ability to deliver product more quickly than competitors delivering value to their customers? Or is this unimportant to the customer, and a cheaper alternative could win the day?

A deep dive into each of your clients’ organisational activities will highlight the true value drivers. This will ultimately allow your clients to:

  • Reduce the cost of invaluable activities.
  • Spend to add value where it truly matters for their customers.
  • And make their business more competitive as a result.

3. How will you embed the new controls into your clients’ business?

Reporting on the new metrics must become a core part of their organisation

When you’ve decided the right metrics, you’ll need to set up your clients’ business systems to track, measure, and report on them.

But that’s not just a one-time project.

It’s a continuous process that needs to be imbedded into everyday operations — kept top of mind — and used long-term as an ongoing management tool.

It’s imperative that the project isn’t forgotten just because it is a continuous project.

At the same time, the metrics need to remain flexible, adaptable to market changes and open to continuous improvement.

What happens when you get it right

Once you’ve done the initial hard work, your clients’ business will benefit long term from their ability to:

  • Make informed business decisions
  • Cut costs
  • Implement consistent controls, while allowing staff room to negotiate on prices
  • Access one source of truth for all aspects of your business
  • Get accurate real time reporting
  • Encourage team collaboration
  • Get better at purchasing, selling, and negotiating

But most importantly… cost and margin control ultimately means your clients will be more profitable and competitive.

Why not learn more! Download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs e-book.

Next month, I’ll bring you more insights on how to keep up with rapid changes in the retail, warehousing and distribution industries.

And if you’d like to see how our system can help your clients gain control and streamline your processes, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.

3 essential considerations before you implement new margin and cost controls

In a globalised market that is fiercely competitive, your business needs to outperform its competitors wherever and whenever it can.

One huge opportunity for competitive advantage is margin and cost optimisation.

Last month, we established the importance of introducing tighter margin and cost controls. (And the risks of not doing it.)

The next step: how to implement those controls.

As much as you might want to jump straight into a new approach — knee-jerk, short-lived changes can put your staff off side, and do more harm than good.

How do you ensure your new approach lasts?

Taking an integrated, project-based approach is the best way. But it’s not without its own challenges.

HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution businesses put in place the metrics and controls they need to stay more competitive.

We even created a whole eBook about it. Download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs eBook here.

In this month’s blog, I’m discussing what you have to think through before you get down to implementing tighter controls…

3 essential considerations

1.How effective is your change management?

“Creating sustainable cost transformation is not a change in process – it is a change in thinking that requires complete organisational commitment and involvement.” – Tania Seary, The Faculty

For change to occur – a complete staff buy-in is needed

Your management’s ability to prepare and support your team in making fundamental changes will be a defining factor in your success

You will need to establish a culture of cost and margin optimisation.

This new culture must be embraced by all. It won’t happen if senior management is resistant and staff is not involved.

How do you ensure organisational commitment and involvement?

First, you need to make sure it’s not seen as a cost cutting exercise.

The initiative needs to be embraced as a positive, value-adding endeavour –  to identify and leverage every point where you add (or don’t add) value for your customer.

Second, senior management must commit up front to the mission – its importance – and the process to ensure staff buy-in all the way down the line.

2. Have you decided on the right metrics and controls?

To make the right decisions you need to be measuring the right metrics

With today’s modern technologies, businesses can measure almost anything — it’s choosing what to filter out that’s the real challenge.

You need to find the true primary and secondary drivers of your business’ value chain. These are the activities that provide significant value to the end-user – and consequently, competitive advantage to the business.

For example: Is your logistical ability to deliver product more quickly than competitors delivering value to your customers? Or is this unimportant to the customer, and a cheaper alternative could win the day?

A deep dive into each of your organisational activities will highlight the true value drivers. This will ultimately allow you to

  • Reduce the cost of invaluable activities
  • Spend to add value where it truly matters for your customers
  • And make your business more competitive as a result.

3. How will you embed the new controls into your business

Reporting on your new metrics must become a core part of your organisation

When you’ve decided your metrics, you’ll need to set up your business systems to track, measure, and report on them.

But that’s not just a one-time project.

It’s a continuous process that needs to be imbedded into everyday operations – kept top of mind – and used long-term as an ongoing management tool.

It’s imperative that you ensure the project isn’t forgotten just because it is a continuous project.

At the same time, your metrics need to remain flexible, adaptable to market changes and open to continuous improvement

What happens when you get it right

Once you’ve done the initial hard work, your business will benefit long term from your ability to:

  • Make informed business decisions
  • Cut costs
  • Implement consistent controls, while allowing staff room to negotiate on prices
  • Access one source of truth for all aspects of your business
  • Get accurate real time reporting
  • Encourage team collaboration
  • Get better at purchasing, selling, and negotiating

But most importantly… cost and margin control ultimately means you’ll be more profitable and competitive.

Why not learn more! Download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs e-book.

Next month, I’ll bring you more insights on how to keep up with rapid changes in the retail, warehousing and distribution industries.

And if you’d like to see how our system can help you gain control and streamline your processes, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

 

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.