People, Process,,, When Technology?
April 14, 2008
I promise that there is a reason!
So – In the Small Business space, why and when should you consider investing money in more technology?
It is really no different than hiring a junior clerk or assistant when you find that too much senior (and more expensive) staff time is being wasted on certain less important tasks. You don’t hire that junior staff member until you identify what the problem is.
Look at this quote from the CIO Magazine print edition March 15 2008;
“…accounts payable department can process 20% more invoices per day..”
That is the key. You have the right people and processes in place to run your business and service your customer base. However then you get to the point where you are losing efficiency due to manually performing tasks. That is the time to look at the improvements in those processes that technology can bring.
What might these inefficiencies look like?
You find that your time from order to customer delivery has grown too long. You have the product, but you find that writing out manifests and confirming orders as they get loaded on the truck keeps the truck in the bay too long, meaning fewer deliveries per day. Can a technology investment automate these manifests and orders letting that truck clear the bay quicker?
You find that the number of accurate and on time sales orders is falling. The old way was a sales staffer writing down the order and customer and passing it on. With growth, the handwritten notes are either getting lost, or customer A was shipped part of customer B’s order. Can a technology investment automate the this order cycle?
This post, Don’t Automate Broken Processes has an excellent example as well.
So the reason for my contradictory appearing posts is;
1) Yes technology can accelerate and improve business process in the SMB space
2) BUT – you must have the people and processes in place and working first. Like the junior clerk example above, once you identify the problem, you can look at the technology to improve it.
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