The beginning of a new financial year is a busy time for many businesses as they finish up the previous year, get all their books up-to-date, finalise invoices, do stocktake, purchase new equipment, and finalise a budget for the next twelve months.
Unfortunately, it’s at this time of year that many businesses discover that they have several inefficiencies hampering their growth and productivity – and unless they can overcome these, their next financial year may not be as fruitful as they hope.
In the article below, we’ll be discussing some of the inefficiencies that our customers have previously experienced and what you can do to reduce these to make your business more productive.
5 efficiency challenges for businesses
Because this period is when most businesses are taking a deeper look at their business, internal processes and systems, and organising for the year ahead, it’s common to discover inefficiencies. Things that were previously overlooked pop up, and it’s vital to confront these challenges head on.
For many inventory and distribution businesses, these challenges include:
1. Poor scheduling
Businesses in recent years have understandably been focused on keeping ahead of supply issues rather than tackling some of their internal processes. But for many, this now means that things like stocktake or staff training have become an annual all-hands-on-deck-weekend activity rather than regular, cyclical events that happen throughout the year.
2. Staff turnover
Employees from all industries have recently taken a hard look at their jobs and realised that this may not be for them or that they want to re-skill into a different industry. Or even that their current place of employment is no longer suitable due to internal tensions stemming from poor processes. Unfortunately, this means that businesses have higher turnover than usual, and many industries have become quite transient.
3. Manual systems
Manual systems make it difficult for employees to do their jobs efficiently. This means that employees must spend more time completing manual tasks, searching for information, or documenting customer interactions. While there is merit in the ways that business was done 30+ years ago, technology has certainly made it easier.
4. Loss of vital knowledge
Staff turnover combined with manual systems inevitably leads to businesses losing vital knowledge due to lack of documented knowledge or task protocols. This can be incredibly costly to businesses that rely on individual “heroes” who take their skills elsewhere – and then have to train new employees on skills they themselves may not have retained.
5. Taking shortcuts
Manual systems and lack of processes lead to staff taking shortcuts when it comes to their work. While some tasks may have an “easy” way to do them, this is often at the cost of proper documentation and protocol. This leaves businesses vulnerable to making constant mistakes and losing customers.
These inefficiencies result in high cost for the business in terms of training new employees, retaining unique knowledge, mistakes due to poor processes, and poor staff morale.
So how can businesses eradicate many of these inefficiencies?
Why businesses shouldn’t hire more employees to improve efficiency
Many of our customers previously look to hiring more people to solve these kinds of inefficiencies – but this can be costly and doesn’t address the real cause of them.
Many of these challenges stem from not having the right technology or tools to help make the business productive, efficient, and streamlined. Without the right systems in place, poor processes, scheduling issues, and unfollowed protocols will continue to challenge the business and the staff that are hired.
And often, technology is much cheaper in the long run than hiring more people. So, what kind of technology can businesses start using?
An ERP is the key to solving many efficiency challenges
Today’s technology plays a vital role in most businesses – and when used correctly, it can streamline the entire business. This is why we recommend that warehouse and distribution businesses utilise a scalable and powerful ERP software that can manage all aspects of their business.
An ERP will be able to re-focus your business and employees by:
- Automating workflows – many businesses have time-consuming or repetitive tasks that need to be done. Whether it’s a sales orders, stock replenishment, customer interactions, or simple task notifications, automating the workflow of each task frees up your employees and ensures that proper paths and protocols are adhered to as it progresses through the business.
- Making data portable – mobile integrations allow you to bring your valuable information and data anywhere you go. Having access to this data in the field or warehouse adds confidence and surety to decision-making.
- Adding insights and visibility – ERPs can track any decision, order, or interaction – and share valuable insights into it. From breaking down costs of labour to pushing tasks up the priority list, your ERP will give you visibility into your business and assist you in making the right choices.
- Creating processes – ERPs provide the perfect platform to create and document processes that your employees can understand and follow. In addition, an ERP enables you to conduct activities like stocktake on a more regular basis to reduce employee stress and overtime around certain parts of the year.
ERPs will enable you to do business quicker and more accurately. And when competition is at its peak and customers are quicker than ever to switch their preferences, efficiency and agility are vital to have.
Being able to grow your business, improve customer loyalty, and build better processes will add significant value to your business in the long-term – and open some doors in the future if you want to be able to sell the business and focus on other projects.
Is it time to speed things up?
Being efficient is a process that takes more than a day – and the technology you use can be crucial to the success of this goal. Without the right systems in place, it becomes much harder to adhere to processes, focus on the right areas, or support your employees in their roles.
The HARMONiQ team has spent over thirty years working with warehouse and distribution businesses to understand their unique processes and create an ERP designed for them.