How Technology Is Upping its Game to Improve Operational Productivity
Since its invention, technology has always been used to make our lives easier.
It comes in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately the goal for technology has always been to improve our lives by making everyday tasks simple and more efficient.
That covers everything from keeping all your contacts in one portable device instead of a Rolodex (who remembers those!?), through to automating a data entry function that would take a human three times as long to complete.
Naturally then, we have been able to do more with our time and energy, both in our personal lives and our business ones. This level of operational efficiency and productivity is something businesses across the world strive to achieve.
It’s like a holy grail. Except everyone can achieve it — if they leverage technology properly.
Efficiency And Productivity
Before we look at how technology has allowed us to be more productive, we first need to look at how it’s helped us be more efficient.
This might seem like an odd thing to say, but they are different things that work together to achieve operational productivity. Just as a refresh:
Efficiency: The good use of time and energy in a way that does not waste any.
Productivity: The effectiveness of a productive effort, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.
So, what does one have to do with the other? Well, the truth is that while they are separate concepts, the two are so completely and utterly entwined that they are actually inseparable.
You almost don’t find one without the other in a business setting.
If a process is efficient, the productivity that comes from it increases. Think of it as a set of interconnected cogs – the faster the first one turns, the faster the second, linked cog moves as well. Without an efficient system you can’t be as productive.
How Can Technology Improve Productivity?
So, what areas can technology be used to improve productivity and efficiency in business? Honestly.
There is a technology-based solution out there for almost everything, so the question isn’t ‘can it help’, but ‘where do I need help?’. To give you an idea, we’ve pulled together a few examples of areas technology can improve productivity in any business.
If you hold or manage inventory in any way, then you need to know which items you have, the quantity you have in stock and how much they’re worth.
In the past, this has meant a human being manually counting and adding everything up. With an inventory management solution, you can efficiently run a warehouse of any size, without touching a piece of paper. This leaves your employees free to work on other, more valuable tasks.
Technology has the ability to bring businesses much closer to their clients and customers. Social media can make it easier to answer questions. However, did you know that you can also use easily-available technology to offer online chats?
Your customers don’t have to wait or wade through posts to find the answers they want. Yet, they still keep the ‘people’ element in their customer service. These can even be automated, so your employees can be doing other things while they aren’t needed, instead of waiting to answer phones.
If you run a project-based or professional services business, then you need to ensure you are managing projects efficiently.
Project management software can create breakdowns, workflows and organisational charts out of big projects, breaking them into a list of tasks that need to be completed, and even automating some of their completion.
If you’re not already familiar with it, IoT stands for ‘the Internet of Things’. It is a term that means ‘the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.’
In other words, it means technology that all works together through the internet.
The IoT can help businesses achieve operational productivity in many ways, including allowing you to utilise a range of hardware and increased interconnectivity (which removes the barriers to productivity). The IoT also allows smaller businesses to take advantage of solutions typically only used at much bigger businesses.
Dashboard And Metrics
To create efficiency in your operations — and therefore improve operational productivity — you need to know how you are doing. You also need to be able to measure your performance against an established benchmark (known as a key performance indicator, or KPI).
Within your business, each manager may also need a dashboard to measure the efficiency and productivity of their department. There are hundreds of solutions out there to create dashboards, gather data, compile reports and give you easy to understand metrics to improve your productivity at every level.
So What’s The Catch?
There is no ‘catch’ per se — technology really can do all do that for you! But (and it’s a pretty big but), success often boils down to how well you select and implement your solutions.
Not every technology solution will be appropriate for every business. In some cases, only limited carefully chosen technology can create huge increases in operational productivity. But add a few more bits of technology in there, and you might end up with a disaster.
In other words, yes technology is good, but it is very easy to go overboard. We see many businesses trying to implement multiple technology solutions within their business, and they frequently run into problems.
Not every technology works seamlessly (or at all) with everything else, and so integration problems are common. This can lead to a ‘mismatch’ of technologies that were designed to make things easier. Instead, these actually make it much harder, damaging productivity and your wallet.
The solution? Hire a professional. Honestly, an IT professional will be able to identify your needs. They can create a tailored technology solution that matches you, integrates well with your existing systems and avoids extra work.
At Indigo IT, that’s what we do. We help business owners untangle their existing, bulky systems and remove technologies they don’t need. We streamline their systems for ultimate efficiency and productivity.
If you would like to know more, please just get in touch with the team today.