Efficiency Enigma: Six Strategies to Streamline Your Business Processes
In today's busy society, it can feel like there's never enough time in the day to do everything that you want or need to get done. It seems an enigma where all our time went.
While improving efficiency and streamlining your business processes won't necessarily make this problem magically disappear, it can go a long way toward helping you go through your days as stress-free as possible, and reclaim lost time.
Here are six “secrets” for streamlining your business processes, boosting efficiency in the workplace, and freeing up more time for yourself and to perform other important tasks.
1. Shape up and ship out.
If you run an ecommerce business that ships products, one of the most time-consuming elements of the business is dealing with freight. You have to pick the items, package them securely, book in the transport service, and then manage your courier from start to finish.
Considering implementing a freight management system that will take care of the hard work for you. You'll never be entirely free of this process, but having the right team and doing things the right way can open up time to get other things done. It can also take some of the stress out of sending the products you've poured your heart and soul into out into the world.
2. Know where your time goes.
Another way to streamline your systems and reclaim time is to make use of a time clock. These tools are handy for tracking your staff’s time and productivity so you know where time goes.
Nowadays, you can find time clocks that upload attendance information into a cloud so that you can easily export the data to payroll systems. This can help to not only eliminate human error by precisely recording start and end times, but also improve your payroll processes.
When you know how and where most of your time and your team’s time is spent, you can better monitor and manage productivity, and also plan on how to improve efficiency.
You’ll also be able to see opportunities where you can create time in the business for other things, as well. This will enable you to boost efficiency and get more things done better.
3. Unify your communications.
Are your days filled with haunting emails, wondering whether you made that follow-up phone call? Or, are you the one always trying to chase up that one team member who never seems to be at their desk when you need them?
Get things under control using a unified communications (UC) platform, which is essentially a phone system that integrates (or “unifies”) multiple communication methods within a business.
So, if your business communicates in a number of ways: email, phone calls, video conferencing, SMS, fax, and instant messaging, UC can integrate these communication methods together.
Having everything in one system can make catching up and keeping track far simpler, leaving you with more time to get on with the rest of your job.
While unified communications can't magically make Jill from Accounting appear, they can streamline your communications and reduce wasted time.
4. Have fewer meetings.
This one may seem counterintuitive, but there’s data to show that, in most cases, fewer meetings yield higher productivity.
Now that your communications systems have been rolled into one, you'll also find that you don't need as many meetings, because you can be sure that you're getting your point across without having to call everyone into the one room.
But when you do hold meetings, make sure you optimized your meetings for efficiency and productivity. For example, instead of relying on flat verbal presentations in meetings, employ new technology to facilitate transmission of a wide range of ideas and concepts.
5. Get real IT support.
While having a full, in-house IT team isn't always viable, staff members who aren't properly qualified can only do so much. That means you may find you need a dedicated IT support team.
If your needs are super basic, you may be able to get away with having each department handle their own IT issues. But, if your requirements run any deeper than needing to install antivirus or learn how to use new programs, you may want to consider outsourcing.
This option is often cheaper and because the company you choose to work with will be specialized, you'll know you're getting the best support and bang for your buck.
6. Reevaluate your processes.
What worked two years ago, won't necessarily work or be beneficial to your business now. If there's anything that seems complicated or time-consuming, then focus on reevaluating it.
It's always good practice to regularly review your methods and update legacy software as needed. You'll find that by doing this, operations will run more smoothly and more efficiently.
Running your business operations doesn't have to be stressful or take up a ton of your time. Follow the business optimization tips above and watch your systems run seamlessly.