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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.