Finding & Fixing Business Time Wasters
Time sponges are real killers. They force productivity into a nosedive, push efficiency out the window, and squash what your company is truly capable of doing. They’re not too difficult to diagnose, but finding a permanent cure can be challenging.
So what’s the best way to improve time-wasting processes?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to trimming the fat from your biggest time-heavy operations, there are still a few sure-fire actions you can take to reclaim lost time. No matter the source of your time-wasting grief, using the following five tools will have you well on your way to getting rid of the time sponges that are killing your productivity.
Automate wherever possible
This is going to be your number-one timesaver.
Finding a way to automate highly repeatable processes will save time left, right, and center. Imagine the growth opportunities that become available when something that used to take hours or even days now takes only seconds. Procedures like invoice generation, emailing order confirmations, and forwarding documents throw workflow are all prime examples of operations that can be automated.
Automating these daily tasks frees up employees to take on new responsibilities, and reduces the risk of input mistakes. When employees have the time to focus on other areas of the business that need attention instead of spending all their valuable time on mindless tasks, you’ll find yourself with more opportunities to capitalize on new growth potential.
Mistakes happen. It’s human nature, and it’s unavoidable. How these mistakes are handled, however, is what makes all the difference.
Contingency planning for fixing any missteps will be your best friend when it comes to saving time. Think through what has gone wrong in the past and what could potentially go wrong in the future, then come up with a plan of action to counteract these issues when they appear.
There’s no need to have a detailed master plan for every tiny hiccup that could ever possibly occur (after all, that’s going to waste even more time), but being prepared for when mistakes actually do happen will help you right the ship in a timely manner. When everyone already knows what to do when the wrong goods are accidentally shipped out for an order, the problem will be resolved much faster.
Work from anywhere
Ever leave work only to realize you forgot to do something, then have to head back in? Not a great feeling, but we’ve all been there. Your schedule is busy enough as it is, so the last thing you want to do is head back to work to check in on something you should be able to take care of at home.
The advent of cloud technology has brought the winds of change to when and how people do business. With this type of tech, people are able to log in to a work system from anywhere, on almost any device.
If you have a fifteen-minute drive into work, being able to take care of that forgotten task from home saves you half an hour of wasted time. If you live and work in an area where inclement weather can throw a wrench into your daily commute, logging in from home sure beats squandering an hour and a half navigating through an ice storm where everyone magically forgot how to drive overnight (looking at you, the Midwest).
Perfect your workflow
Complicated processes quickly lead to misinterpretation, skipped steps, and ultimately, delays in productivity. A good workflow combats those time-eating, click-heavy operations by making many common tasks much simpler, cleaner, and faster.
The most effective way to correct delays caused by bad workflows is by simplifying the essential processes. Receiving, picking, and shipping should all run like well-oiled machines. Order processing should be second nature. Conducting training refreshers to keep everything running smoothly increases employee understanding and compliance with your processes, and unifies your company in a way that reduces errors and saves time.
Getting the precise steps of each business function ingrained into your company sounds like a good idea, but it’s going to be difficult unless you know how to make the perfect workflow. The best workflows will streamline the actions that used to soak up time and turn them into one-click wonders.
Manage your warehouse
Your inventory is the lifeblood of your business. Too much inventory on hand ties up your capital, but too little increases the risk of losing customers if you can’t fulfill orders.
Distribution and manufacturing businesses have a lot of moving pieces, so there are plenty of places for potential log jams. Managing an effective warehouse, keeping up with staffing demands, and producing goods at reasonable prices come with their fair share of difficulty.
Managing inventory well allows you to see your inventory cost stack and cost layers, and provides in-depth information like true cost, individual sales transactions, and sales trends, all of which are necessary for forecasting future growth. By doing this, you’ll get valuable insights on your best-selling items and see trackable inventory costs, giving you access to the data you need to make forward-thinking decisions.
That’s a wrap
The one thing these solutions all have in common is that they effectively get rid of what causes the time wasting. And while you obviously can’t get rid of entire business responsibilities (you really do have to send out invoices to your customers, after all), you can get rid of the inhibitors that cause them to stall. Following the measures above will establish your operations in a way that defends company time, making wasted and lost potential a thing of the past.
To really iron out the kinks that contribute to time wasting, consider looking into a Business Process Review, SalesPad’s deep dive into your business, its products, operations, and processes. We want to see you shine — and a BPR is the first step in helping your systems get you there. Reach out to us today!