Tech that helps businesses reveal and address 5 key types of hidden waste

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global economy hard, leading the OECD to predict a decline of up to 2% in annual GDP growth for each month of shutdown, and many countries have already shut down twice. Consumer expenditures are dropping by around 33%, and several economies expect a 20-25% decline in their level of output.

In this challenging business environment, companies everywhere are trimming the fat, looking for areas of waste, and doing all they can to make the organization more efficient.

By now, all the obvious cost-saving measures have already been taken, but some areas of business waste are still going undetected.

Here are five suggestions of places to look for hidden waste in your business – and tech to use to address each type, so you can make your business more efficient and competitive.

1. Cutting waste in your supply chain

Inefficiencies in your supply chain can cause more than raised business costs. If fragile or perishable products arrive damaged or ruined, it can destroy your company’s professional reputation. If you’re in the food or pharma industries, for example, uncertainty about how cold a shipment remained throughout its journey could force you to recall products.

Today’s consumers and businesses demand fast shipping, so supply chain waste can cost you your competitive edge.

Time is wasted in hidden corners of the supply chain, like while products are being unloaded at your warehouse or waiting at border control. Extended global supply chains require multiple handovers, and your shipment could be delayed, lost, or mishandled every time.

Integrated, digital supply chain management tools like Logmore replace inefficient paper records or manual spreadsheets with end-to-end visibility that helps you optimize shipping routes, handling, and storage decisions. You can use Logmore’s data logger devices and integrated SaaS analytics platform to constantly track the location, temperature, progress, tilt and other conditions of items, so you can spot where problems arise and adjust operations to prevent them.

2. Saving expert HR teams from wasting their time

Your HR teams need to focus their expertise on improving employee experience, which is crucial to the happiness and engagement of your workforce.

They’re up to their eyeballs handling the delicate balance of terminations and new hires needed to put together the ideal workforce for a post-COVID-19 era, when you need a lean team that still includes all the necessary skill sets for your pandemic-accelerated digital transformation.

With all of this going on, you don’t realize how much HR time is still being absorbed by time-suck tasks like chasing down employee timesheets and expenses lists, or managing payroll for complex staff that is likely to include contractors and freelancers as well as job sharing and full-and part-time workers.

Adopting advanced time-tracking software means that timesheets are shared automatically, and even processed to calculate overtime pay, vacation accrued, benefits, and salary payments for all your diverse workforce. Some tools can even automate payments directly to employees from within the platform.

3. Spotting wasted real estate at the office

Even if you’re not paying for a vanity letterhead, it’s expensive to supply a cutting-edge work environment that stimulates innovation and creativity, with leather couches, non-threatening art and plenty of space for every employee.

It’s also increasingly unnecessary, because following the great COVID-19 WFH experiment, much of your workforce would rather work remotely. Half of all employees say they won’t return to a job that doesn’t support WFH, and 23% would take a 10% pay cut in exchange for working remotely at least some of the time. The pandemic also finally killed managerial fears that remote employees won’t be as productive; 75% of people were the same or more productive while working from home.

We’re not necessarily suggesting that you give up on your premises entirely, but smart office management software can cut down your real estate footprint significantly. Chances are good that you no longer need a permanent desk for each employee, vanity corner offices, or even large meeting rooms, so use platforms like OfficeSpace to rearrange your premises more effectively while abiding by minimum space requirements for infection control standards. Built-in tools for booking desks and meeting rooms transform offices into multi-purposes areas and help employees find the right working environment whenever they do come into the office.

4. Tapping into the value of wasted data

The average business today produces tons of data, not just from internal reports and analytics tools like Google Analytics, but also from social media and IoT sensors. It’s a shame that the average business also leaves most of this data to go to waste, lying unused in data silos.

Many departments don’t even know what data other departments possess, never mind being able to access and use it.

COVID-19 showed just how crucial it is to use all the data at your disposal. In a crisis, you need to make big decisions fast, based on information, not instinct. Enterprises need to unlock the value of their data treasure troves by using an integrated data analytics platform like Databox, which pulls all your data into a single location for deeper analysis.

Using smart analytics, you can set goals, track performance, discover insights in real time and find even more ways to cut waste in your organization.

5. Reclaiming your team’s wasted productivity

Although you can’t necessarily measure employee productivity, it’s still a crucial resource that you can’t afford to waste. You want your employees to enjoy the satisfaction of reaching “the zone,” when concentration is high and work is flowing smoothly.

But many businesses don’t realize that their policies undermine productivity and disrupt employee focus. One key issue is the lack of central file management. Whole projects can stall while someone waits for a colleague to send the file they need to complete their task.

Even if someone replies straight away, the disruption of switching platforms to send an email and then return for the reply costs productivity. Workers also lose momentum spending half an hour searching servers for the right folder.

It’s far more efficient to use tools like Microsoft SharePoint, or OnlyOffice for smaller businesses, which group resources together for easy access and make it quick to search for files by keyword or tag.
Hiding more business inefficiencies than you realize

Cutting the hidden waste in businesses brings more benefits than simply reducing costs and staying within budget.

Addressing wasted HR time, office space, productivity, and data, and resolving supply chain inefficiencies can help businesses to remain competitive, keep employees and customers satisfied, and improve their reputations for more profitability.

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