Many companies are cutting costs right now, but adding more tech to your operations can help your bottom line.
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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has forecasted that global growth will contract by 6 percent to 7.6 percent in 2020, and it could take years to return to pre-crisis growth levels. Many businesses have instituted blanket spending moratoriums, frozen hiring and deemed most new purchases non-essential. However, some business leaders understand that opportunities exist to optimize business efficiency, capture more market share, and cost-effectively invest in critical infrastructure. HBR suggests playing offense and defense by first stabilizing your business and ensuring liquidity, and then determining how to outmaneuver your competition.
The current business environment has caused many software providers to revise their forecasts down for 2020, but some software companies, like my team at Anvyl, have taken a different approach. We have been illustrating the competitive advantages customers can enjoy by spending more money on tools that enable their teams to scale, deliver better customer experiences, and enjoy a clear return on investment. Here are three reasons why investing in software now can make your business more resilient and profitable.
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1. Scale without hiring.
If you are considering hiring new employees to scale your business, it is important to understand what each new hire will cost your organization. In addition to salary, benefits and payroll taxes; recruiting, onboarding and training a new hire can also be costly. Before hiring, determine if your teams are actually performing at their maximum capacity. Evaluate whether greater efficiencies could be achieved through software, collaboration or better processes. Consider the roadblocks to optimal output and uncover issues that might delay, frustrate, or hinder organizational efficiencies. If you look closely, these opportunities exist in almost any business.
For example, one of Anvyl’s clients was able to realize a 300 percent increase in productivity with its existing team by adding collaborative supply chain visibility software. Before evaluating the ROI, the company expected to hire two or three additional employees. Once it uncovered the gaps in its process, the business determined that it could recoup close to 6,000 non-productive manhours by adding collaboration software. This eliminated the need for each employee to maintain a spreadsheet, manually call and email vendors on each order or chase down original files across old email threads.
2. Automate repetitive tasks.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools have become more accessible and affordable to businesses of all sizes and industries. Gartner’s 2019 CIO Survey found that the number of organizations implementing AI grew 270 percent in the previous four years, despite talent shortages.
AI/ML software allows you to automate boring or repetitive tasks, freeing your team up to focus on more creative or strategic work. What employee responsibilities could you turn over to technology to boost employee happiness, engagement or productivity? Automated chatbots, data analytics or lead generation and sales tools can go a long way to reduce operational inefficiencies, improve team morale, and maximize results.
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3. Improve visibility.
Having transparency in your business operations is crucial when preparing for unforeseen challenges as many manufacturing businesses learned during the peak of these difficult times. It is critical to identify potential disruptions in your business operations and have a plan to mitigate them ahead of time. Implementing real-time visibility software across functional operational areas like supply chain, logistics, sales and customer success will enable proactive, strategic decision making.
Your leadership team should have real-time visibility and access to cross-functional data across all departments. Adding software will democratize data across departmental silos mitigating the risks of lost data through unexpected employee departures and will also enable timely strategic decision making.
Economic downturns are unavoidable, but recognizing the opportunity and taking decisive action can dramatically improve your business trajectory. Focus on optimizing business efficiency, capturing more market share and investing in the future of your business.