Your business runs on systems and processes. Are they efficient and effective? Are they aligned with growth and expansion plans? One way to answer those questions is to examine how you manage your data distribution.
You’re not alone if you conduct core business activities manually. For example, you collect data on mobile phones and use a calculator to work the numbers. Another sign your business is mired in manual mode is an overreliance on paper-based activity, whether individual notes, printouts, or other documents.
That won’t cut it. You likely know that at some level. It’s natural to lack knowledge and awareness about how technology can help and how much it will cost.
The needs are there, maybe even glaring ones, just waiting for the right technology-driven solution. For example, shifting from performing multiple tasks manually to using technology so data capture and reporting are more accessible and automated. Technology can also streamline operations, so human and technology assets align for optimal performance.
The Principles of Process: A Four-Step Starter Guide
The first step in optimizing business processes is knowing what problems exist. At Barnes Business Solutions, our role is your trusted technology partner and consultant. Our proven process will get you the solution you need when you need it and within your budget.
Clients trust us because of our time-tested 4-step process:
Step #1: Q&A Session
The first and vital step of solving a problem is knowing what questions to ask.
Step #2: Show and Tell Session
With this step, show us inside your business: how it runs and what processes you perform daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.
Step #3: Identify Pain Points
Where do things break down? Which processes consume the most time or cause the most errors? And in the final analysis, what is all this costing you in time, money, and competitive advantage?
Step #4: Brainstorm solutions
What is the opportunity for automation? Can a business function be 100% automated or partially automated? What can be streamlined and deployed system-wide?
This proven process demonstrates the value of the consultative-driven approach you can expect from Barnes Business Solutions.
The next step is integrating what gets done via paper and what is executed via technology automation.
Paper vs. Digital: Who Wins?
The intended outcome here is not to eliminate paper. Paper still plays an essential role, but other data distribution methods are often preferred. Without question, it’s better to enter data directly than write it on paper and have someone else enter it later.
Under the old-fashioned abacus/quill pen scenario, which is prone to errors and miscalculations, this is where a paper report is passed around and updated manually with notes.
Where digital comes in is how it helps remove uncertainty and improve efficiency. For example:
Use Case: Plastic Molding Company
This company emailed various department personnel when it was time for their step in the workflow. Some of the time, this worked, but often there were delays. These delays made it difficult to see where the sample was in the workflow and which step caused the delay.
Even worse, sometimes projects got lost altogether. Understanding these challenges led Barnes Business Solutions to implement a central data store for the projects. Each project could be instantly identified with various stages and In and Out date/times for each stage.
Management appreciated a dashboard-type display displaying all open projects. Color coding quickly flagged delayed projects. The system allowed users to only control projects belonging to their department. In so doing, they could advance the sample to the following department (the system sent an automated email notification) or send it back to a previous department if a quality issue was revealed.
Can you see how automating critical business tasks, functions, and processes helped this business in everyday activity? Fortunately, the advantages of automation don’t stop there.
Technology Benefits: Let’s Count the Ways (Six in All)
No one advocates technology for technology’s sake. That’s counter-productive. There must be tangible outcomes that a business can point to across the enterprise for using and deploying technology-driven automated solutions.
Technology makes all of these business functions and tasks a reality:
- Make it repeatable.
- Make it saveable.
- Make it reportable
- Make it accessible.
- Make it system-dependent, not personality-dependent.
- Establish business rules to enhance decision making
With #6, this is where applying rules via technology can save the business owner time and stress from manually-driven decisions.
The A to Z on Going from Manual to Automated
Reading this far, you’ve learned the limitations of conducting manual operations with your business in managing and distributing data. On the plus side, you also discovered the opportunities and efficiencies of automated, technology-driven solutions.
And yet, we hope your most important takeaway is realizing that making the shift from manual to automated isn’t as difficult as you first imagined—especially when working with someone like Barnes Business Solutions, which will cover everything from A to Z.
It does make a difference working with a proper process and partner. It’s a difference you will see every day.
Barnes Business Solutions is your source for proven technology solutions customized for the most pressing challenges your business faces today. Are you ready for a cost-effective solution that boosts the ROI of your business?
To discover how Barnes Business Solutions can optimize your technology and business operations, Download our Action Guide here.
Want to find out more and have questions? Reach out to Maria Barnes and send her a message here.