5 Ways to Improve Your Operational Efficiency
Do you think your business is running efficiently? Are you generating the best possible return from your business?
Honestly, not even the best companies in the world can answer yes to both these questions because there’s always room for improvement.
As technology and business expectations evolve, your organization has to adapt to these dynamic conditions. And this means, you have to constantly work on your operational efficiency. In fact, improving your operational efficiency should be a continuous and iterative process.
Before we go into how you can improve your operational efficiency, let’s briefly talk what exactly is efficiency.
Contrary to popular opinion, efficiency is not just about reducing costs. Imagine you lay off a few critical employees to save costs, will that improve your operational efficiency? Definitely not because if they’re critical to your organization, then you’ll be losing out on their contribution.
A recent study by PwC also affirms to this fact. This research showed that out of the two-thirds of UK businesses that planned to cut costs over a period of 12 months, less than 30 percent of these cost cutting programs hit their targets and only a fifth could get sustained benefits over a period of three years.
This is why cutting costs is not the sole objective or means to achieve efficiency. Rather, it should be one of the aspects along with improving service quality, streamlining the use of resources and providing better customer service.
Put it differently, your business should take minimum input to get the maximum output. The process that converts these inputs into the desired output is operational efficiency, and this process is much bigger than just cost cutting.
Now that you have an idea of what it’s all about, let’s look at how some ways to improve your efficiency.
Enhance Collaboration and Communication
Collaboration and communication are two pillars in today’s business world. As a business, you’re sure to have employees located across different cities within the same country or even across different countries. For example, you can have your headquarters in Sacramento, California and branch offices in London, Shanghai and Sydney.
In such a distributed environment, communication between employees located across time zones becomes critical. Use tools like calendars, video conferencing, document sharing and more to make it easy for all your employees to communicate and collaborate, regardless of their geographic location.
Setup the Right Infrastructure
Having the right infrastructure is another critical way to improve your efficiency. Your networks and system should be just right to support the growing needs of your business. This means, it should be scalable and flexible enough to move up or down depending on the changing needs of your business.
A good option is to use cloud infrastructure. This way, you can customize your usage without having to spend on expensive hardware. All that such services entail is a certain fee based on your usage.
Improve Customer Service
Customers are and will always be the kings of your business, so make sure they are receiving the best service. Often, communication gaps between your employees and customers lead to complaints and conflicts, that in turn can affect your brand image and eventually the profitability of your business in the long-run.
To avoid these communication gaps, use CRM tools to manage customer concerns and issues. Also, provide the necessary training for your employees to create a proactive approach to customer service.
Avoid Labor Redundancies
As said before, laying off employees is not always the best way to cut costs. But this doesn’t mean you should keep paying employees for poor productivity.
Evaluate your employees, their performance and roles on a periodic basis and decide how best you can make them more efficient. Sometimes, combining two or more positions that do similar work would be a good choice while at other times, laying off employees with low productivity may be good for your company.
Always look at individual contributions with respect to the changing business needs to improve labor efficiency.
Any discussion about operational efficiency is never complete without automation. Technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and deep learning have made it easier than before to automate many of your routine tasks that in turn, will lead to improved operational efficiency.
In short, improving operational efficiency is not so difficult provided you use the right strategies and tools. To maximize the effectiveness of technological tools in increasing operational efficiency, it is best to consult experts like Alpen Technology Group.