02 Feb How to use technology to improve productivity
Productivity is essential for any business's success. Bosses and managers can only push their employees so far to produce quality work in as little time as possible. But, sometimes, that's not enough.
Hiring more staffers is one option, but in the end, adding more salary expenditures to the budget may not be worth increased efficiency. If expanding your workforce and continually hounding your workers aren't viable solutions to your problem, improving your business's technology may be the cost-effective answer you're looking for.
Dave Stevens, a managing director at a technical solutions firm called Brennan IT, provided several tips for businesses to increase productivity using IT in an article for SmartCompany.com.au, a news outlet for Australian entrepreneurs.
♦ Automate operations. As Stevens wrote, "…it doesn't cost much if a machine is doing [a task] for you." Computers are better at crunching numbers than humans, and database software is better at storing, organizing and recognizing patterns than spreadsheets. Automation doesn't necessarily have to mean replacing human labor with computers. Using modern, customized software rather than outdated programs can save a lot of time while improving data precision without adding or cutting employees.
♦ Get your team on the same page. Business owners and managers should be able to communicate with their employees and access figures easily and effectively. When operational information is available in real-time from one place, discrepancies that arise from miscommunication and merging data from multiple sources can be avoided.
♦ Put your business in a cloud. Stevens said that companies that are taking advantage of mobility have seen "sizeable productivity gains." With custom application development, businesses can use programs like FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go to make their databases of information such as inventory or sales details accessible on employee iPhones and iPads from one main server.