One of the keys to any successful business is ensuring that it operates like a well-oiled machine. Efficiency is one of the foundations that underpin any enterprise hoping to grow its brand and market reach. The sad truth is that many companies are seldom efficient.
Inefficiency is a problem that must get tackled if a company wants to survive and become a market leader. There are many ways that companies are inefficient, with some examples seldom evident to a casual observer. Here are some ways to boost your firm’s efficiency:
1. Outsource Processes That Slow You Down
Outsourcing is a common way to deal with processes or procedures that you either can’t or won’t do in-house. Your company will likely have some processes that slow down and impact other areas of the business. As you can imagine, that will significantly affect efficiency.
It makes sense to review which functions of your company slow everything down and take measures to have a third-party supplier take care of them for you.
2. Keep Your Employees Motivated
The people that work for you are perhaps your greatest assets. Without those hard-working individuals, you wouldn’t have a company left to run! You want to ensure that your employees provide their best work for your business. One way to do that is with motivation.
Look at the things that make your staff happy, and conversely, the factors that make them feel unhappy. Once you’ve reviewed that, take the proper steps to increase employee motivation and engagement.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Invent Stuff
It doesn’t matter whether your company sells products and services that many other businesses offer or if you offer something truly unique to your market. You shouldn’t feel afraid to devise custom or tailored solutions that hinder your company’s efficiency.
For example, if you make physical goods, consider custom metal fabrication to streamline your manufacturing processes. Keep in mind that there isn’t always an “off the shelf” solution to all business problems. Sometimes, you have to invent solutions.
4. Stop Being Unrealistic
It’s a natural part of human behavior to want to excel at everything. But, are you placing unnecessary and untenable demands on yourself and your team just to deliver extraordinary promises to your customers?
You need to look at the broader picture and be more realistic with what you can achieve using the resources at your disposal. Pushing yourself and your team to work beyond their limits won’t improve efficiency; it’ll make it worse!
5. Automate Tasks Where Possible
There’s no denying that automation makes life easier. Everyone uses automated processes in their daily lives to some degree, and it’s something you should do with your company. For instance, could you automate some warehouse processes to improving despatch speeds?
Perhaps you could automate payment collections from your customers, so you no longer have to process manual card or cash payments. There are scores of ways you can automate tasks at your business.
6. Upgrade Your Technology
How often do you upgrade the technology at your company? If you’re unsure of the answer, the likelihood is high that you don’t conduct periodic upgrades. Assets like computers and IT equipment, machinery, and other technology should continually get upgraded when possible.
That’s because old technology can cause your business to become inefficient. For example, slow computers can increase the time it takes to complete tasks electronically. Plus, old machinery can slow down production processes.
7. Embrace Online Tools
The Internet isn’t just a place to sell your products and services or something to browse when you’re feeling bored. It’s also a practical way of increasing your company’s productivity and efficiency through the use of online or “cloud-based” tools.
Google Workspace, for example, combined communication with productivity tools and is perfect for teams of people. Salesforce is another example; it provides enterprise-level tools focused on customer service, marketing automation, and analytics.
8. Reduce Paper Workflows
Having reams of paperwork in your company isn’t just bad for the environment; it’s also terrible for efficiency reasons. Paper workflows belong in the 19th century, and there is seldom any reason why they should have a place in modern companies.
That’s why you should move your workflows to electronic-based ones. Invoicing, receipts, contracts, are just three examples of workflows you can do online. You can even electronically sign documents like contracts and letters.
9. Invest in Industry-Leading Tools
Does your company use many tools as part of the products and services it offers to customers? If the answer’s yes, it makes perfect sense to invest in industry-leading tools. They are, of course, more expensive than budget-branded alternatives.
However, they are less likely to break down and result in lost efficiency and productivity. What’s more, they are more cost-effective because they last a long time due to their superior build quality and materials used in their construction.
10. Hire the Right People
It can always be a gamble when trying to hire people to fill specific roles at your company. You could end up with employees that become invaluable assets to your brand, or you could have people that are anything but suited to their jobs!
You should review your hiring processes and take steps to ensure that you only shortlist truly suitable candidates for each new job opening. That way, you’ll only end up with valuable team members that keep the efficiency momentum going throughout your business.
11. Move Your Meetings to the Internet
COVID-19 has undoubtedly forced most companies to move their meetings to remote, online-based ones. Many businesses have found that online meetings have actually improved efficiency with such a move.
That’s because employees don’t need to stop their work for long periods, resulting in delays – especially if they don’t work from a company’s head office. Plus, online meetings can get scheduled at times that are more suited to most of the participants.
12. Improve Communication
One problem that affects everyone, irrespective of whether they’re at work or not, is poor communication. The simple act of talking to each other is a concept many find hard to grasp in today’s digital world. Poor communication leads to confusion and misunderstandings.
If you improve your company’s communication, you will also boost your efficiency. There are many ways you can improve communication, such as having telephone systems that direct customers to the right departments and unified messaging systems for all employees.
13. Measure Performance Regularly
It’s easy to recommend lots of ways to improve a company’s efficiency. However, how do you know whether a particular element of your business needs improvement for efficiency purposes? The only way to know for sure is by measuring performance regularly.
You should check how well each department, function, or process in your business gets performed. That way, you can determine areas for improvement and take actionable steps to improve your company’s efficiency.
14. Plan Things in Advance
The problem with being reactive to certain aspects of your business is that you’ll find it challenging to maintain efficiency. That’s because you have to carry out tasks or processes “on the fly.”
It’s a much better idea to plan things in advance where possible. For example, if you have new projects to work on soon, plan the details for them, such as who you will assign to work on them, and provide any necessary resources to get started on those projects immediately.
15. Limit Distractions as Much as Possible
You want to make sure that everyone in your company performs to the best of their abilities without getting constant interruptions. That’s why you must make limit all distractions in the workplace as much as possible.
For example, foster a workplace culture where all mobile phones are silent, and electronic communication gets promoted above voice calls or face-to-face interaction. You may also wish to filter Internet activity and block certain services like social media websites.
16. Encourage Positivity in the Workplace
Did you know that a more positive working environment leads to greater efficiency? That’s because all employees will look forward to their work and know that any challenges they meet will get overcome with support from co-workers and management.
Sure, it can be hard to remain positive when working under pressure. However, having a good support network in each team will make even the most demanding challenges easier to handle in the workplace.
17. Assign Tasks to the Best People for Each Job
Some people will be better at completing specific tasks more than others. When you assign project tasks to team members, for example, keep in mind which workers will be better suited to particular jobs than others.
You will undoubtedly have a good indication of each employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Use that information when you plan your projects as per tip #14.
The above list is a comprehensive set of suggestions, ideas, and concepts that anyone can apply to their companies. They will all improve efficiency while simultaneously boosting a brand’s image.