Increase efficiency to maximise your profit
Using technology to improve efficiency
Technology can help you improve the way your staff carry out tasks. It can either speed up existing processes or allow new, more flexible ways of carrying out the job.
Assess your use of technology
In order to work out the best technology for your needs, you should assess your current systems against your requirements. Think about what inefficiencies may exist in your operations and how you can:
- capture relevant information, such as customer details, in the most simple, time-efficient way
- manage your documents to ensure that information is dealt with in a logical workflow
- avoid duplication - eg using handwritten timesheets that then need to be manually inputted onto a PC
- address technological obstacles - eg simplifying a complex helpdesk process to make it easier to resolve IT problems
There are nine fundamental technologies that drive the digital transformation of modern-day businesses. These are known under the umbrella of Industry 4.0.
Find the best technology solution
The best solution for your business will depend greatly on your industry. Research what your competitors or other companies in your industry are using and consider consumer technologies that are widely available as these may be cheaper if you only have a small number of staff.
For example, you could consider:
- outsourcing IT systems or using off-the-shelf packages instead of customised business versions
- using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or internet calls to replace mobile calls - see advantages and disadvantages of VoIP
- creating a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on your website to reduce unnecessary customer enquiries
- automating processes to save your staff time, including utilising computer telephony integration
- introducing cloud computing, mobile technology and computer networking to improve IT efficiency
When you find the right technology solution for your business, it is important to consider its security and take steps to manage cyber security risks.
How can technology improve productivity?
Different technological solutions can significantly boost the productivity of your workforce. They can:
- improve communication across the business
- increase connectivity of staff, including those working remotely
- enable collaboration between different teams or parts of the business
- enhance employee engagement and motivate staff
- help you track and analyse performance and progress towards goal completion
New and emerging technologies have a huge potential to transform your business. Support may be available through the Help to Grow: Digital Scheme for those Northern Ireland small and medium-sized businesses that wish to adopt digital technologies to increase productivity.