On account of ever-increasing challenges and competition, the vast majority of businesses in operation today must provide customers with quick-yet-seamless buying experiences. In order for this to happen, businesses should be looking to minimise errors and improve efficiency wherever possible.
Technology can play a crucial role in this regard, not only when it comes to eliminating redundancies and errors, but also creating more productive, leaner processes.
By 2022, employers expect next-generation technologies such as AI to further minimise human error and boost business efficiency. In fact, about one-third of employers say these kind of tools will let their company speed up outcomes and lower costs too.
But what areas of the business can benefit from technology right now?
On paper, inventory management seems simple – knowing which items you have, the quantity you have in stock and how much they’re worth. But in reality, inventory management is a lot more complicated, especially if you’re not using technology.
Modern-day inventory management systems are fully automated, letting you know what merchandise you have on hand and on order, and how many of each item you have received and sold. Your inventory database will also update when products sell or move from one location to another and provide a variety of instantaneous data analysis tools.
Seeing as an inventory management system can take things like sales volume and velocity into consideration, you’ll be able to optimise your stock levels accordingly. This makes things like just-in-time fulfilment much easier because you can efficiently manage inventory.
“A good inventory management system can also update your customers’ systems in real-time, generating and emailing shipment confirmation as soon as it goes out,” says business consultant and technology specialist Rayhan Abdulmughnee. “It may also be able to handle a wide variety of inventory types.”
Project-based businesses might not require inventory management systems, but that doesn’t mean to say they can overlook the advantages of similar technologies to create efficiencies. For example, project management software can breakdown large projects into a small list of tasks for easier comprehension.
“As the project progresses, the software can track which tasks have been completed and any variance between the plan and the actual time and materials used for each phase,” says Abdulmughnee. “The software will calculate the actual time and material costs against the estimated budget and timelines for that project.”
How can you minimise errors and improve efficiency if you’re not measuring performance against an established benchmark in the first place? Call upon technology for dashboards and metrics that can establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business and each individual function.
As Abdulmughnee explains: “Dashboards that are available to managers and staff have the potential to significantly improve awareness of how well the company is doing. They can also help staff realize the important role they play in the success of the company—allowing them to be more involved in the operational efficiency improvements.”