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On The Path Towards Operational Efficiency

Good practices for improved processes mean quality services and boosted efficiency.

The aim of every IT-project should always be one or more of the following: gain  a competitive edge, improve quality, save time, cut costs, streamline the process or deliver a better customer experience. Every IT-project should be evaluated comparing the outcome and the desired profit of the project.

In this blog about organizational efficiency, I will introduce practices meant to improve a company’s processes so it can run efficiently and provide quality services. I will point out three important technological fruits for you to pick. They won’t necessarily hang low, but they are definitely worth the effort.

Web shopping = Empowered lead generation

The undeniable truth is that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the game permanently. Online shopping is continuously growing and nobody seems to know how significant the change will be.

The ongoing situation has changed the way we work and do business. Organizations are searching for more and more advanced digital tools to reach their customers and consumers are expecting these solutions accordingly.

In this digital era of ours, buyers conduct online research before purchasing a product. But it doesn’t stop there. Customers desire more options, more visual proof and even actual trials and test drives. When they are ready and satisfied with what they see, only then do they contact the sales department.

The task for salespeople is to enable this kind of shopping behavior in order to get warmer leads and a better closing rate. Let your customers tell, and more importantly, show what they want.

Co-creation = Accurate quotation process

In a sales meeting, the salesperson might have assumed the correct product configuration and setup, utilized some specs or a part of the project, but very rarely has enough information to quote a product correctly. After the usual sales process has lead to closing the deal, the sold solution still contains lot of open questions and aspects.

Usually there are holes, concerning, for example, safety distances and other important details. This leads to extra work in the production phase and means additional and unwanted costs thereafter.

If all the important features are being dealt with as late as in the production phase, the price might change, all the modifications must be approved by the customer and so on. This takes time and the  delayed process is an inconvenience to the customer. Nobody wins.

In other terms: Closing time is slow, time to production is slow and the cost of sales is high.

If digital planning tools are introduced early in the sales process, it is much easier for all the participants to plan the product together and see possible problems and issues that affect the price before going to production. It is more comfortable for the customer to buy something that is readily visible.

This leads to a faster closing time, faster time to production and lower cost of sales.

Automated sales process = Error-free in production

What if the product or solution was able to go to production error-free, without extra approval rounds and additional costs? Well, digital selling tools are designed to do just that; save everyone’s time and money by streamlining the whole process.

In one of our many customer cases we started by looking at the sales process and procedures. We found the process from sales to production included at least four people who were all using different systems.Prices were entered into one system, measuresments were saved somewhere else etc. We found a process jungle filled with CRM, ERP and Excel forms.  When a modification was needed, the changes had to be updated in each system manually. In other words, the chance for human error was incredibly high.

We like to talk about operationally efficient data. This means that we combine all the information in one system; the method makes it easy to change colors or add products and features along the way without causing extra work or errors.

Operational excellence and how to get there

In 2020, approximately 50 % of major enterprises are using digital twin technologies to optimize their business processes, cutting overhead costs and increasing efficiency. Operational excellence goes beyond efficiency, to emphasize continuous improvement. There are many paths and checkpoints towards this goal and I have introduced just a few.

In a nutshell:

  1. Visualize your offering early and let your customer try it before buying.
  2. Co-create and collaborate. Use visualization as a base to understand the customer and to demonstrate all the angles and features of a product.
  3. Automate order flow between sales and production. You’ll save time and eliminate the probability of human error.

Do all this and you end up increasing operational efficiency. After that, achieving operational excellence is the next goal.

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