Productivity is a problem for the UK. Policymakers are constantly left scratching their heads at the fact that we fail to keep up with rivals on this measure. Indeed, as the FT points out, German workers could clock off on Thursday afternoon and still produce as much as British workers do in a full week.
Yet while politicians plot ways to improve productivity on a national level, each individual business should consider it their own mission to combat this. Wring a few more drops of productivity from the people you employ and the processes you use to unlock greater efficiency.
The trick to doing this is to deploy the right technology. You need to pinpoint the software and hardware that can make things easier and quicker to free up your time to go out and do the things that actually make you money – not technology for technology’s sake but solutions to streamline and improve the way you work.
Each business is unique – but there are common issues that can be addressed with a few smart tech choices.
Consider the following:
Accounts: Keeping on top of your books is essential – but it can be a pain. By using accounting software you can quickly and easily log all of your payments and automate much of the reporting you need to be able to make informed decisions and meet key deadlines for things such as tax payments.
Project management: How do you keep track of the progress of a big and complicated project, especially when there are multiple people working on different aspects of it? The trick is to use project management software. This allows you to split a big task down into smaller parts, allocate each of these to the ideal person and produce Gantt charts and time trackers to assess whether you are on track or behind.
Meetings: How much time do you spend travelling to meetings? While many face-to-face conversations are important for businesses, these can really eat into your schedule and your budget. Video conferencing technology has vastly improved in recent years and it’s now easier than ever to hold meetings without leaving the office, cutting that travel time and cost right down and freeing up your calendar for more work.
Risk management: Businesses face a lot of risk – from cyber crimes to health and safety hazards – and failure to identify these and have a plan to tackle them means that you could face a serious problem down the line. Use software to prepare and maintain a RAID log to keep on top of this.
Stock management: How much stock do you need? Where do you hold this stock? Which suppliers do you need to pay and when do their orders come in? From point of sale systems that deliver real-time inventory management for retailers through to warehouse management systems, using software can help you to answer all of these questions without needing to spend hours poring over the paperwork.
CRM: It’s important to keep your customers happy. Having a record of their purchasing behaviour and any customer service interactions you’ve had with them helps you to keep on top of what they want and what you need to do to address any problems they might have. CRM systems are perfect for keeping a close eye on your customers and giving them the attention they need.
Use one or all of the above methods to improve your processes and productivity or, if you’re already using technology for this, make sure you review your current software to be sure that it’s delivering the results you need to be as efficient as possible.