Four ways to innovate your business with technology

Once you’re up and running with automation in full swing, you can drill into critical data with built-in analytics, gaining real-time insights into your business.

To remain competitive, SMEs need to be agile and stay on top of innovation and embrace automation while maintaining a strong reputation for exceeding customer expectations.

So how can you use technology to grow your business? Here are four ways:

  1. Automate repetitive processes

Make the effort to integrate and automate systems and processes to save time. Automation allows you to focus on core competencies and on growing your business.

End-to-end automation tracks activities and an in-depth volume of data across the business. This data can give managers operational insights on important business performance and customer data. By eliminating duplicate data entry and manual consolidation of financials and non-financial information, you’ll be agile and ahead of the curve in no time.

And the best part – once you’re up and running with automation in full swing, you can drill into critical data with built-in analytics, gaining real-time insights into your business.

  1. Bust bottlenecks with business intelligence

Prioritize performance metrics like inventory turnaround and on-time delivery (delivery in full on time, or DIFOT) to ensure great customer experience. Look for bottlenecks in business processes that can slow down your operations or bring everything to a grinding halt.

Use business data insights to manage expectations by keeping customers up-to-date from the minute they place the order to the minute they receive it. Keeping the customer informed through tracking promotes positive brand association and customer loyalty. This will prove advantageous when deliveries are on time and when delays beyond your control strike.

  1. Win business with real-time information

Be able to easily and accurately answer questions regarding pricing, stock levels and delivery dates during a face-to-face meeting – remember, this can spell the difference between winning an account and losing an opportunity. By “taking the warehouse” to every prospect meeting, impress clients with your knowledge of your business’ timely and informed service. This level of service keeps existing customers loyal, creates word-of-mouth buzz and wins new business.

  1. Go electronic

Ditch paper and favor going electronic for your business documents. Automation offers major benefits such as reduced cost, increased processing speed, reduced errors and improved relationships with business partners.

For example, integrating your ERP software with an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) solution eliminates data duplication and significantly reduces errors automating the transmission and receipt of orders, invoices, shipping documents, acknowledgments and other trading documents.  Data is entered only once – saving you from hours of data entry.

For SMEs dealing with so many tricky variables – from managing product ranges, increasingly crowded markets, customer expectations demanding tighter delivery times, a challenged Australian exchange rate and squeezed margins – there is a clear need to run businesses the smart way. Tapping available technologies to streamline information and process inputs can yield better management decisions that can drive business growth.

Stephen Canning, CEO, JCurve

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