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How Manufacturers Can Better Optimize Costs by Improving Processes

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 29, 2019

For any business, maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste should be an ongoing concern. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in business or what exactly it is that you do – you should never be thinking “that’s enough” when it comes to your optimization. Instead, you should always be on the lookout for ways of improving your existing processes and optimizing your costs.

By focusing on the right processes, manufacturers can transform their approach to even the most mundane day-to-day tasks in a way that dramatically cuts costs and enhances efficiency. There are 3 key areas that manufacturers should be focusing on, and these are where the biggest savings will be.

Audit Your Processes and Workflows

Before you can begin to think about optimizing your existing processes, it is important that you have a firm grasp of precisely what they are and how they work. You can’t do anything useful in terms of optimizing your processes without knowing what these processes consist of.

There are a number of ways that you can go about performing these audits, and they should be simple to do for the most part. It is a good idea to have all your business processes, especially those that are carried out by frontline staff, formally recorded and available to workers. If you already have these to hand, they will make auditing your processes much easier. If you don’t currently have this stuff written down, this is the perfect excuse to do so.

Streamline and Standardize Your Hiring Practices

Many businesses massively underrate the potential benefits that come with a tightly-controlled hiring process. By screening applicants to prioritize specific characteristics and abilities, you can cultivate a workforce of individuals who possess whatever skills you most require.

If you can introduce clear guidelines for hiring new workers and ensure that everyone involved in the hiring process is adhering to them so you can optimize the proficiency of your production line. For example, if you ensure new hires have a certain amount of experience in manufacturing already, they are less likely to run into problems that they cannot solve for themselves.

BOM & Cost Optimization

The bill of materials refers to the cost of the raw materials that you need to make each unit of your product. As a business grows, its financial and production capabilities expand. This added capacity enables you to work with economies at scale that were previously impossible. The cost of producing your products can change dramatically according to how and where they are manufactured.

If you want to keep these costs as low as you can from the very beginning, you need to design your products with the final BOM at the forefront of your mind. Companies like Upverter can help you to optimize your bom cost and identify other opportunities to optimize your production processes.

Businesses are more than just a collection of individual processes, but it can be very helpful to temporarily reduce your business to its processes when you are looking to optimize them. For larger and more complex businesses, you will need to take into account the ways that different processes overlap and impact one another. And, don’t make this a one-off occurrence – put process optimization at the heart of your strategy going forward.

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5 Preliminary Steps Start-ups Can Take to Simplify Process Management and Save Money

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Managing a growing start-up can be very challenging if you're not taking an organised and well-guided approach to business process management. While most of the battle will be fought after you actually open for business, some of the most pivotal steps you can take to enhance your chances of success can be performed in the weeks and months leading up to launch day. More specifically, here are 5 preliminary measures you can take to set yourself up for cost-effective process management from the start:

1. Compare Business Electricity Prices

This is a step that many companies overlook because they simply settle for the first utility company they find or the one that is most well-known in their area. However, there are usually numerous electricity providers that service major cities and well-populated regions, so this is certainly a comparison that's worth conducting. You can click here to compare prices and plans from the top business electricity providers in your area.

2. Consolidate Employee Roles

Overstaffing is one of the primary mistakes that new companies make which drains payroll and makes process management unnecessarily difficult. Try to look for ways to consolidate employee roles into fewer positions, as this will not only save you money, but also simplify the process of creating comprehensive business process maps and schedules.

3. Use Project Management Tools and Platforms

Equipping your company with a powerful set of project management tools is another way to make your job easier as a business owner and planner. With these platforms, you'll be able to manage all of your mission-critical tasks and business objectives within a centralised interface that gives you all of the resources and conveniences needed to facilitate optimal levels of success in all of your company's initial projects.

4. Take Advantage of Free Analytics

Conducting routine analysis is something that every business process manager should be doing in order to base their actions on statistics rather than speculation. Fortunately, there are plenty of free software and online tools that will give you an abundance of analytical capabilities. Check out a list of the top free analytics tools and give each of them a try until you find one that perfectly suits your process management needs.

5. Create a Process Map

Process mapping is a management technique that every skilled entrepreneur should become familiar with. It's also a highly beneficial step that should be performed leading up the launch of any company that anticipates a fair amount of complexity or volume in its daily operations. You can find plenty of free guides and resources that will make you a process mapping expert in no time.

Business Process Management Saves Money by Itself

In closing, it's important to note that the very act of business process management is a money-saving method in and of itself, because it increases overall efficiency and optimises budget usage. As such, this is a topic that all company owners and managers should study to gain fundamental advantages over their competition. 

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Business Process Management Metrics to Measure Success

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Conducting a review of the processes that happen within your business that transform raw materials into products and then into sales is vital to ensuring processes are optimized, sustainable and continually improved. This article looks at three different business functions and discusses how and what to review and the metrics that can be used to measure their success.

Manufacture and Production

Within every business there will be an element of manufacture or production. This could be turning raw materials into products such as turning cotton into t-shirts, or it could be a more digital process creating websites or graphic design. Whatever it is, the aim is to add value to turn a profit.

It may be relatively easy to review the processes for simple product production that only involve one person or a small number of steps. However, for more complex product processes, it’s important to break down each part of the process into the different tasks that make it up. This will help you to identify one or two parts of the process that are causing problems rather than seeing the whole process as the problem. You can then model a new process to see if any changes have led to optimizations before implementing the new process.

Key Metrics for Manufacture and Production

Marketing and Sales

After production, the next step is getting your product in the market place. Most businesses will already have a number of different sales channels which might include sales reps on the road, selling online and selling in retail stores through branded stores or independent retailers.

As part of the business process management review process you should identify which sales channels are the strongest in terms of volume and which are delivering the highest profit. You will then be able to model different scenarios, such as selling into specific online retailers or employing more sales reps. A detailed analysis of the market will need to be undertaken along with process reviews to understand where cost savings and process improvements can be made to maximize sales and profit.

Key Metrics for Marketing and Sales

  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Customer churn
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Total sales volume
  • Sales volume per region or channel

Employee Engagement and Retention

Where the two points above focus on departments as a whole and the processes within them, narrowing in on employee engagement and retention will help to understand where improvements can be made to help the workforce stay motivated and sustain high levels of productivity. Inpulse.com suggests that managers are key to changing employee behavior and that facilitating open and honest communication channels is key to driving successful change management.

The outcomes of successful management of employee engagement for organizations include enhanced commitment, loyalty and performance, higher levels of discretionary effort and fresh and innovative ideas and suggestions. The CMI has more details on the benefits of engaged employees.

Key Metrics for Employee Engagement and Retention

  • Employee churn rate
  • Employee net promoter score
  • Employee absenteeism

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Becoming a Better Manager: A Guide to Helping Your Employees

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Managing people involves a wide variety of challenges, and even if you are continually aiming to support your team and keep them motivated to produce the best work possible, you will always have the opportunity to be better. As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees are coping with work and that there are no unpleasant situations that will affect them. As such, there are a wide variety of instances where you may have to step up and support your staff through some difficult problems – this is just one of the responsibilities that make managers better with time.

During a Workplace Dispute

If there is a serious feud between two members of your staff, there are likely underlying causes you will not be aware of. It is advisable to split the two staff members so that the tensions do not affect the workplace and spread to other employees. It may be tempting to act as a mediator and encourage them to reconcile, but this should only occur after separate meetings and an agreement that they would like to discuss matters civilly. It is worthwhile talking to other members of staff too when deciding which approach to take. 

Employees Returning to Work

Employees can feel challenged when they return to the routine of the workplace after a long period of time. Things may have changed in the work environment, new employees may have arrived, and procedures may have changed. It is important to be mindful that your employee may still be dealing with post-leave legal battles such as claiming medical negligence if they received improper treatment while they were being cared for by a medical professional. When an employee is returning to work from an extended period of leave, be sensitive to their time out and grant them a grace period to get back into the swing of things.

When Stress Becomes Overwhelming

A very common problem that employees face across any workforce is extreme stress. Stress can significantly alter one’s emotional wellbeing and can have negative effects on their mental health. If an employee discloses the fact they are feeling overwhelmed at work to you, it is imperative that you take their disclosure very seriously and you do not ignore it. If this situation becomes too complex for you to deal with (or just feels inappropriate), it is advisable to arrange a meeting with the HR team at your work to discuss how to best support your employee.

Fulfilling Ambition

As well as helping your employees when they’re in a bit of a stick, you should also be able to support them in the good times, like when they’re working hard for a promotion or to expand their skills. Ambition is a healthy quality that it’s worth inspiring in all of your employees, so support this whenever you encounter it in the workplace.

There is always something more you can do to become a better manager, don’t become complacent and make sure you embrace your responsibility to support and listen to all your employees.

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3 Business Management Skills Crucial for Self Employed Workers

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A self-employed worker refers to anyone running a business which creates an income based on the persons independent work. It’s no secret that the population of US self-employed professionals, freelancers, and contractors is constantly growing.

The nature of work is changing, leaning towards flexible schedules, remote working, and the freedom to pursue a career doing what you love.

Those who are self-employed can often be the only person running their business. This means they are always responsible for making those key business decisions, no matter how difficult or challenging they may be.

There are three key abilities that those who are self-employed need to adopt, which are crucial to running a business. These all sit within business management skills:  

1. Time Management

Although modern technology has given us access to everything we need at our fingertips, it has also led to an increased amount of distractions we are exposing ourselves too.  

Apps and devices may be great for monitoring our social media channels, responding to emails and creating meetings on-the-go, but it can also be a hindrance. A quick check on WhatsApp could end up losing you a precious thirty minutes, and clicking on Facebook can spiral into a complete loss of concentration.

You need to have rigorous time management skills because no one else is there to tell you off for it. Successful business management includes managing your time appropriately, like meeting deadlines, producing the best quality work, and being responsive to communication. If you struggle with time management, you may find yourself working late, which can affect your health.

2. Research and analysis

When you work for yourself, you can’t rely on anyone else to research into business ideas, rates or packages which your company needs.

You need to be the one who can dive deep into research and analyze all your options before making big decisions. All company policies must be chosen by yourself, whether that be insurance, company accounts, and even utility bills that your office space needs.

For insurance, allocate time to look at specialist insurance covering your exact business type. Then, search for the best rates. For example, if you specialize in pressure washing, then it’s pressure washing insurance you need to be looking into and researching the best deal for you.

Strategically put the time in for researching the best deals across every outgoing you need to spend. At the same time, you need to be accountable for doing this efficiently, and not wasting time by browsing repeatedly.

3. Interpersonal Skills

Even though you may work for yourself, it doesn’t mean you won’t be expected to communicate with others. In fact, most businesses rely on customers or clients to generate income.

The quality of your interactions are key to the long-term success of your business, so make sure you are fully competent with this. This doesn’t just cover being personable and approachable; it’s about having the power to negotiate, be firm and reasonable, and being able to put all communications effectively into writing.

Alongside the three listed above, the desire to always want to learn more and thrive within your business area is important. With any of these skills, your business management progress will slip, and cracks will begin to show.

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