Whether you are talking about your vehicle or your business, things that do not run smoothly and efficiently eat up resources, which translates out to higher operating costs. When your business is not running efficiently, it decreases profits and leaves you with less capital to expand your business. Employees also get frustrated with businesses that are not run smoothly and efficiently as it wastes their time, energy and resources. Conversely, many businesses try to cut costs by cutting out resources or processes that actually end up decreasing efficiency even further rather than increasing it. Knowing what to cut and what to make additional investments in is crucial to keeping a business running smoothly and efficiently. Here are 3 tips to keeping your business running smoothly and efficiently.
1. Make sure your purpose is clear
When you don't know where you are going, you have no way of knowing if you are making any progress or not. In addition, unless everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction, you are just spinning your wheels. When you clarify your purpose, including your mission and goals, you get everyone on the same page and working on moving you forward in the same direction. In addition, by clarifying your purpose, you give your employees a mission - a reason for doing their job. Clarifying your purpose allows you to set benchmark goals to determine how well you are achieving your overarching mission.
2. Make sure your business and your employees have the right tools
A carpenter wouldn't get very far trying to do his job with a blender, and a baker wouldn't last long trying to make confections with a hammer and a screwdriver. Similarly, while a commercial baker may love using their hand blender to whip up a batch of brownies at home, they won't stay in business long trying to use one to whip up several dozen batches of brownies. While this may seem ridiculously apparent in this context, many businesses continue to try to 'make do' with the tools or equipment they have rather than keeping pace with the latest trends and most up-to-date equipment for their field. For instance, continuing to use an old CUP database rather than a faster and far superior GPU database for businesses that rely on steady streams of data for performance.
3. Assign clear tasks and responsibilities
When too many people feel something is their responsibility, you will have numerous people repeating the same task. Meanwhile, when no one feels a certain task is their responsibility, no one will do it. This means you end up with multiple people redoing tasks that don't need to be done while sometimes critical tasks remain undone. While it may seem somewhat elementary, even tasks like cleaning out the communal refrigerator or changing the toner cartridge sometimes need to be assigned. In addition, tasks need to be assigned in a clear and direct fashion and follow-up needs to be done to ensure that everyone understands their task or role. If no one understands the project, task or their role, it will still remain undone. Don't just assume that because you communicated your expectations, everyone understands them. Getting feedback from employees regarding their understanding of roles and expectations is critical.
Productivity and efficiency is something of a science in and of itself, and is often a juggling act. New technology and equipment can increase productivity but may also come with a steep learning curve that may not make it worth the effort. Clarifying your purpose is important, but it's just as important to make sure the purpose or goals you are clarifying are something your entire team can get behind, or you may end up with a revolt on your hands. Remember, your business or company depends on people, so there always has to be a balance between comfort and efficiency for maximum performance.