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3 Ways To Identify Productivity Improvements In Your Business

6th July 2022

Are you looking for productivity improvements for your business? If so, you are not alone. Rising costs, challenges in recruiting for your vacancies and commitment to continuous improvement are all good reasons why driving productivity could be important for you now.

As productivity experts dedicated to helping businesses improve their processes, we want to share some ideas to help you spot opportunities in your business.

1. Consider what drives your value

What elements of your business do your customers value? 

If you are a customer-facing business, this could mean reviewing whether colleagues are available to serve customers precisely when they are needed. 

When thinking about driving business value, don’t assume all customer facing time is equal. For example, when a customer needs help and advice, the colleague’s time is appreciated by the customer and drives business value by closing the sale. Yet for the same customer, time spent by the colleague processing the sale through the till is more functional and they’d be just as happy at a self-checkout till.

What you need to focus on is how this can add value – by implementing self-checkouts, customers are carrying out the functional tasks themselves, enabling you to free up skilled team members to proactively focus on the other areas of the business that drive sales and value. This would help increase your sales capacity at peak times. 

One tip from us is to focus on your busiest times as this is when your business affects the most customers, ultimately providing you with the biggest opportunity to increase your sales.

Taking the time to consider what is most valued by your customers will drive a return and increase your effectiveness.

2. Stop rework

Rework is repeating work that has already been done. It sucks time from your team and happens in many processes. In most businesses, it becomes endemic so that it shapes how people work, often when people are trying to to do the right thing:

  • It can be intentional such as with a promotion changeover – many retail teams try to get ahead and be ready to go live with a new promotion in time for day one. Current promotions are removed and new displays are built early. Not only does this mean that customers miss out towards the end of the promotion, it also requires teams to spend time creating price tickets that will just be replaced with new ones in a few days’ time
  • It can also be a by-product of processes – whilst the Just-In-Time inventory system helps minimise stock and can be an extremely efficient delivery solution for stores, disruptions can cause gaps on shelves. To avoid this, contingency stock is built in and store stock holding rises. But in these cases where there is not enough shelf space for stock, it is moved back to the stockroom, where it remains until it is counted or taken to the shopfloor to see if it will finally fit on the shelf – creating rework
  • When it comes to stock, our biggest tip is “touch it once” – counting is a great example of rework that simply doesn’t need to be done. Touching it just the once is a potential source of time saving

Even if you think rework doesn’t happen in your business, you’d be surprised if you stopped to watch what people default to when they have a quiet period. There is often a lot of tidying and restocking done that keeps the team busy rather than making a difference that customers appreciate. To know for sure, the best way is to conduct an efficiency review which helps discover how colleagues spend their time, spot efficiency opportunities and streamline processes.

3 tips for a productive business

3. Be flexible

Predicting customer interaction, engagement and footfall has always been tricky. But now, it is harder than ever, so being able to plan effectively is nearly impossible.

This forces us to be flexible – and this can be a good thing as it helps you to prepare for the unexpected. The Covid-19 pandemic affected so many industries; for those that are consumer-focused, no longer can businesses rely on previous forecasts as customer flow is now much more variable and a different pattern to how it was before 2020. 

Instead, it is better to be vigilant and in tune with what your customers expect from you right now. Adopting a flexible approach allows you to use current demand to make your best estimates of what this could mean for next week, next month, and beyond…

How we can help

There are always ways to improve your business’ productivity – but sometimes, it takes that “outsider’s perspective” to get a good grip on which areas require focus. Using our years of experience and know-how, we have carefully designed all of our services to obtain a thorough overview of a business’ performance and this is what sets us apart – combining various studies, we analyse your current processes and systems, providing you with a detailed roadmap of exactly where improvements could be made. 

Want to discover how your business could be more productive? Get in touch with our team to find out more.