Smaller companies may face productivity challenges that larger businesses may be mostly immune to. Since having adequate funds is usually a key challenge for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), it is essential that they make their business as efficient as possible in order to maximise productivity and minimise costs.
While large corporations have the luxury of tapping into ample resources to get things done, SMEs are better off concentrating on optimising their resources and reducing operational costs. Below, we outline some key ways in which SMEs can boost their efficiency and work towards better productivity, from outsourcing IT functions to downloading inventory software.
Outsourcing IT Tasks
For large companies, employing in-house IT staff will not usually be an issue. However, employing IT experts can be expensive, and therefore SMEs are better off outsourcing this type of work. SMEs should outsource certain business functions to Business Process Outsourcing providers, reducing operational costs.
Reduce Travel Costs
While larger companies may have no problem sending employees overseas for business sessions and conferences, SMEs will struggle to shoulder the associated costs. For this reason, when international travel is necessary SMEs should substitute in-person contact for technologies such as Skype or Google Hangouts.
These technologies provide an easy, efficient and cheap alternative to physical travel, and businesses will still be able to perform the same tasks without the added costs.
Especially as a business grows, it is a good idea for SMEs to use technologies and software that allow easy communication with relevant staff members and management. Programs such as Google Drive for Work, for example, will allow staff to easily and quickly communicate the needs of each department.
Using technologies such as this will allow for efficient conferencing procedures, and staff members will have easy access to important emails and documents across teams. Any major changes to the business can be communicated quickly and efficiently.
Downloading Inventory Software and CRM Tools
Downloading inventory software is an excellent way to streamline operational activities which, performed manually, would be very time-consuming. SMEs should download inventory software as this technology can provide users with easy access to information with minimal upfront spending.
Inventory software also reduces capital costs as there is no need to spend big money on hardware, software or licensing fees. Further, inventory software can keep managers up to date with client and service information, providing updates on their work in real-time.
Relatedly, SMEs will also benefit from investing in reliable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. This is especially important for SMEs as they begin to grow, since this also entails the growth of their clientele base. A reliable CRM tool will improve follow-ups, help managers to track sales, and increase the chances of repeat business.
While CRM technologies can be expensive, there are multiple free tools that SMEs can download to get started. These basic starting points will help SMEs to record and organise customer information, to track sales and invoices and to monitor and report on workflow.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.