Every business has its peak busy periods throughout the year, which often translate to being the most stressful times of the year for employees. Orders are coming in from multiple different channels, pieces of paper start piling up on people’s desks, emails with spreadsheet attachments are sent in droves and important information that’s being relayed across the office starts playing a game of Chinese Whispers. If any of this sounds familiar, it could mean you have some process inefficiencies that have crept into your business. It also means you may have been over-working your workers due to these processes. Let’s look at some of the everyday pain points of your employees and some easy process improvements what you can do about them.
Manual Data Entry
Data entry is one of the most time-consuming administration tasks. It’s also one of the least interesting and most error prone. So how do you reduce manual data entry and allow your employees to focus on more important tasks?
Getting your eCommerce platform integrated with your back-end ERP system can solve this problem and improve your eCommerce process. When your online orders flow directly through to the same system that manages customer payments, invoices and order shipments, you’ll remove human error caused by manual re-entry of information at the various touch-points. The original data stays as it is and your customers receive exactly what they’ve ordered. With no re-entry of information required by your employees, it also frees up their time to quality check or to focus on customer service initiatives that further improve the customer experience.
Attack of the Speadsheet Attachments
How many emails with attached spreadsheets were your employees sending to each other over the busy period? If they’ve been sending spreadsheets with inventory data, you’ll want to have a read of our article Stop Using Spreadsheets and Start Using Inventory Management Software. Regardless of the reason, you’re sure to end up with splintered data from multiple versions of those spreadsheets floating around. This often results in re-checking of data, errors being created by manually updating data with what’s thought to be the most accurate information and more stress for everyone. Take a look at what live data can be accessed from your ERP and ensure everyone knows how to access, update and view reporting on it.
Communication Is Key
Do you often see post-it notes on your employees’ desks with customer details or notes about a call received? It may seem harmless, but it’s an inefficient way to do business. Think of how many times you’ve called someone from their post-it details, only to find out that your caller has already spoken with another contact from your office. If you were using a cloud ERP with in-built CRM, everyone could be logging their calls and other activity against a live customer record with the time, date and user recorded automatically. Existing contacts have their information already populated, so it’s a simple case of confirming the details. From a customer experience perspective, you’d feel more assured knowing your details are already on file and up-to-date rather than having to repeat them for every post-it note. CRM is a critical business tool that supports ongoing process improvement - so make sure everyone’s on board with logging information the right way. And if you don’t have a CRM system, think about putting it at the top of your priority list.
The Reporting Bottleneck
When you need to make quick financial decisions about your company, are you able to make them on-the-spot? Or are you emailing your finance team for various reports which they provide back to you in another day or two? What about sales results, business key performance indicators and other metrics that need to be tracked? When you think about the amount of reporting you rely on from departments and individuals in the business, the total human effort of that reporting starts adding up and causing delays.
How much time could you save for everyone in the business if you had all your critical information, KPIs and metrics available with live data at the click of a button? Many businesses have already leveraged the time-saving benefits from an all-in-one cloud ERP that brings together all your data and makes it visible and accessible. They’re also the businesses who are making informed, agile decisions which react to market and competition changes quickly and effectively.
What About the Warehouse?
The warehouse can be the most hectic part of your business during your peak periods. But what if there was one, simple tactic you could employ to reduce the physical distance that your warehouse staff are walking each day? Start by reporting on your high-demand items and re-work your physical stock locations to move those items closer to where your pick, pack, ship process takes place. It may not seem like a lot, but even reducing the distance by a few metres for each item can add up quickly if they’re being picked tens or hundreds of times per day. It’s a simple process improvement that will quickly make your warehouse more efficient. With that much of a reduction in steps taken per day, you may need to think about employee gym memberships to help keep their fitness levels maintained.
These are just a few of the most common pain points that can cause your employees additional work and more stress, particularly over the busy period. If they sound familiar, get in touch to have a chat about how an all-in-one cloud ERP can help improve your business processes, improve your profitability and provide an efficient system for your employees that works for them, rather than against them.