12 Smart Ways to Improve Business Efficiency for Your Company
One of the most important ways in which businesses increase value for both shareholders and key stakeholders alike has to do with improving both their market share and their revenue-generating capabilities. To get to this point, they need to capitalize on every opportunity available to improve the efficiency of their organization in all aspects - particularly from an operational perspective.
Of course, there are a variety of smart ways to improve business efficiency for your company - they simply require you to keep a few key things in mind.
Business Efficiency Definition
In an overarching sense, business efficiency solutions empower an organization to operate at peak potential in terms of the amount of time required to manufacture products, how much money this process requires, and the necessary resources that are a part of it.
To put it another way, a company's overall efficiency directly relates to how efficiently it can take things like raw materials or even labor and transform those assets into products and services that produce as much revenue as possible.
The Types of Business Efficiency
All told, there are a few different types of business efficiency that organizational leaders should always focus on. These include ones like:
- Business process efficiency. This refers to the processes that are used to manage and execute those important, day-to-day operations within the company itself.
- Workplace efficiency. This has to do with the steps that leaders are taking to improve the efficiency of their human employees. Areas to focus on include the workspaces that people are given access to, the equipment and tools they need to do their jobs and even the building itself. Areas that may not initially seem "important" can also have a major impact - like the cafeteria your employees use or how you enable them to work remotely.
- Workforce efficiency. This speaks to those business decisions that themselves impact hiring direct employees versus something like contract labor, outsourced service firms and more. It also has to do with the costs associated with each.
- Financial efficiency. Here, you're talking about streamlining things like your billing process, your accounts payable process, tax planning, accounting processes, benefits management and more.
- Resource efficiency. Finally, this has to do with how a company leverages the supply chain - along with critical resources like raw materials - to operate a manufacturing or product development process. This can include, among other things, making the business more energy efficient and carbon neutral which also apply to service-oriented businesses.
12 Smart Ways to Improve Business Efficiency
Overall, improving business efficiency is often less the product of any one major move and is more about a series of smaller ones. They may not initially seem like much on their own, but when executed properly they add up to something far more powerful than any individual improvement could in a vacuum.
Just a few of the most intelligent, forward-thinking ways to improve operational efficiency include options like:
- Make an effort to understand the problem you're trying to solve before you go in search of a solution. This includes conducting thorough research and documenting any inefficiencies that you find, thus putting you in a better position to address them in a more effective way.
- Set realistic goals to systematically address those identified inefficiencies within the organization. But you also need to go one step further, too - you need to make sure every employee understands not only the company goals, but department goals and their personal goals as well. At Keene Systems, we once wrote a custom piece of software called “Goal Tracker” for a company that had 500 employees. It got all of their employees on the same page regarding company, department, and individual goals, allowing them to improve the way employees worked and guaranteed maximum employee adoption as well.
- Take the time to understand which of those operational tasks you can remove, which ones need to be improved and which new tasks will need to be added to your organization to bring it more in line with the demands of the modern market.
- Never be afraid to seek external advice. There are so many resources out there with knowledge offered by people in every industry that can offer terrific advice on how to make improvements. Too often, people working on the day-to-day operations of a business are just too close to the problem - therefore, they can't see the inefficiencies. It almost always pays to bring in outside expertise with a fresh new perspective to help identify areas of improvement.
- Automate as many time-consuming, menial tasks as you possibly can. Michael Gerber - author of The E-Myth Revisited - recommends that every organization should ultimately be built like a franchise. Franchises work so well because they document and automate everything they can, all so that ordinary people can enter the process and generate the same accurate, repeatable results every single time. Building a successful business means designing the type of organization that runs itself like a franchise, all so that you can free up as much of your valuable time as possible to focus on growing, scaling, and moving forward. At the very least, you'll spend less of your time putting out fires every day - which in itself is valuable.
- Build a legitimate measurement of effectiveness into all processes. Never forget that you can't improve what you're not measuring - a mistake that far too many businesses make. You always need to measure your progress against your goals to verify that you're on the right track and to make corrections as needed.
- Focus your product and service offerings on only what you do best and what is the most profitable given current market conditions. When in doubt, refer to the 80/20 rule. If 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your services, you can then cut the underperforming services and just focus on what you do best. Everything else is just clutter and doesn't deserve to be there in the first place.
- Capitalize on opportunities to improve morale and build trust among your teams. By putting your effort into this area, you will not just realize almost immediate improvements in their productivity - you'll also go a long way towards enabling them to come up with better ideas to improve products and processes, too.
- Use remote meeting technology and don't be afraid to allow certain employees to work from home. This was an especially valuable lesson that a lot of businesses learned during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent many employees home for extended periods of time. Executives everywhere feared that productivity would drop but much to their surprise, it actually improved in a lot of situations.
- Build constant improvement into all processes. Always schedule regular meetings to review the performance measurements that have been recorded to this point. Ask the question "how can we be doing even better than we are right now?" Likewise, invest in constant employee training to improve the capabilities of your workforce, too.
- Outsource whenever possible. Doing so allows a business to gain high-value results without also dealing with the often massive, up-front overhead costs of an actual in-house team. This is also again another great way to bring fresh, new ideas from outside the organization.
- Leverage modern technology to build the right tools for the right task at the right time.
Trends in Improving Business Efficiency
All told, many organizations are using business efficiency solutions to make meaningful improvements on a daily basis. They can implement a new business process and guarantee that it is done A) quickly and B) efficiently, all while enforcing business rules of the process that is automated.
One major issue that organizations face is that the business processes that have made them successful are so complicated that they just cannot be automated with off-the-shelf software. Instead, many opt for custom software solutions that are written to precisely match the process in question.
These business efficiency solutions can improve virtually any area of the organization. These days, a popular web development platform for developing custom software solutions is Microsoft's ASP.NET and SQL Server. This platform has been around since 2002 and is robust, mature, flexible and secure. It also contains all the tools a development team would need to build modern, enterprise-scale web applications that leverage the full power of the cloud.
In the end, businesses should always be looking for new ways to improve efficiency. One must never assume that you've "done enough" or that you're operating at your full potential - you can always be better, stronger, faster, and more efficient. Not only is this how you generate as much economic value for your company as possible, but it's also how you create better and more exceptional experiences for your customers - which in and of itself is the most important goal of all.
To find out more information about our ASP.NET software development outsourcing capabilities, or if you’d like to discuss how to solve business process automation challenges with Keene Systems CEO, Lance Keene click here to book a call with him.
To learn more about improving your business efficiency, please download the eBook titled "How to Automate Business Process in 7 Smart Steps."