Just like anything in life, successfully running a business is all about simplifying processes and eliminating complicated steps. Indeed, it’s true that working smart, not hard spells success to many companies across all industries. Working smart is better known in business jargon as streamlining.
Today, there are countless processes involved in running a business, and they all go way beyond just upgrading production sequences. On top of creating products or services for your target market, you need to be concerned about other crucial aspects like information technology, accounting, human resources, finance, project management, and marketing, to name a few.
Streamlining Operations Made Easy With ERP Programs And Tools
Thinking about which business process to streamline can be a daunting task. The good news is there are tools to improve your operations. For example, you can implement or use an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software to automate day-to-day processes and increase your business’ efficiency. This type of software brings together all the different management applications in your company into one system, thus streamlining your operations.
Some long-time business owners believe that they don’t need to add another tool to their existing suite of software applications. Yet a refusal or hesitation to adapt to a more efficient way of doing business can ruin a brand sooner or later. There’s an endless list of companies that have closed shop because they failed to revamp their business operations to keep up with the times.
Adapting ERP Software Programs To Provide Excellent Customer Service
One of the most significant benefits of improving business processes is achieving better customer service. Thus, in today’s business environment where consumers have increasingly become more demanding than ever, not only do you need to offer better products but you also need to know how to provide a better customer experience. Failing to reach out to your clients would be a big detrimental mistake.
Fortunately, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when providing your target market with what they want. As mentioned, improved customer service is an offshoot of having a well-organized and simplified way of conducting business. Here are some of the ways that streamlining your business operation can improve your customer service.
- Faster Response To Customers
If you want to provide better customer service, you can’t be distracted by each vital process in your organization. The more business activities you attend to and the more applications you use, the farther you will be from your customers’ reach. You can’t focus on your accounting processes or hiring activities and jump to interacting with your customers via three different applications at once.
Luckily, some tools can make things simpler. An ERP system is like a glue that ties up all the different software programs into one big, streamlined bundle. That means you and everyone else in your company will have just one interface and one data source to work on. Suppose a customer is concerned about shipping. In that case, you can easily access your logistics team’s data via an ERP software and reply to them right away. There will be no more need for you to be tossed around between departments to find a solution to your clients’ concerns.
- Better Documentation
Streamlining your operations will result in better documentation. Having one application that collects, collates, and sorts data across your company will regularly update pertinent documents or records. Invoices are automatically created and forwarded to the concerned departments. Processing and sending products to customers without any hitch or delay due to paperwork is possible. The ability to deliver products and services fast is one of the fundamental principles of good customer service.
- Improved Inventory
Some businesses may not feel bothered if they run out of items to sell. But customers will feel frustrated or disappointed if the product they want to buy is not available. Having an out-of-stock item can be a big letdown to your patrons. So, it makes perfect sense to avoid such a situation at all costs.
By improving your inventory management, you can ensure that you have sufficient stocks of products to sell for any given week or month. There are many factors at play when handling your inventory. You must consider your cash on hand or credit standing with suppliers, procurement processes, lead times, and even warehousing.
With an automated inventory and ordering system within an ERP program, you can avoid out-of-stock situations and delays in receiving orders from your suppliers. You’ll always have items on hand that you can sell to your customers to keep them happy and satisfied.
- Knowing Your Customers Better
There’s no better way to take care of your customers than to know what they want and give it to them. Suppose you are operating a shoe business and a growing number of your customers want neon green sneakers. In that case, you need to order or manufacture more of what your market wants and meet their demand. You’ll improve your bottom line and, more importantly, keep your shoppers coming back for more.
Having efficient business processes will put you in a better position to gather relevant information about what your customers want and need.
For example, deploying a robust organization-wide application or ERP system will allow you to incorporate customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities. Thus, it’ll not only enable you to streamline your organization’s systems, but you can also integrate a program that’ll allow you to know your customers better.
You can create customer surveys and collect feedback which you can link to your database. You can then process this information to come up with better products or services to keep your market share. When you give buyers the product they want, you improve the overall customer experience they get from your brand and they can even recommend your company to their family and friends.
- Simplified Customer Service
Ultimately, a streamlined business will have a simplified customer service workflow. With all the information about products, orders, and even brand marketing available in just a few clicks, your team can provide better support for your customers.
Functions like accounting, customer relations, billing, and pricing policies will all be managed under one easy-to-track system. Your team will avoid bottlenecks in separate processes and allow your customer support team to better connect and provide top-notch relations and support to your customers.
When you neglect to streamline your business, you make it harder for you and your team to work together. It’ll not only affect how you produce and sell your products and services, but it may also impact the way you provide customer service.
Streamlining your business operations is crucial if you want to succeed. You can use an ERP software to automate all of your processes under one application. By doing so, you’ll free up much of your resources and focus on providing better customer service and experience.
Grey Roberts is a business consultant for top global companies for the past two decades. He provides invaluable advice and recommendations to executives and managers about how to properly run and manage multiple aspects of business operations.