Technology now plays a foundational role in nearly every industry and business category. From the executive offices of multinational companies to a new construction or forestry business just starting out, organizations of all types rely on the ability of digital tools to reduce burdensome work requirements and perform a wide variety of functions.
Judicious selection and use of technology can be a force multiplier for your operation, taking on some of the most time-consuming and repetitive work and handling it with more consistency than could ever be expected of human workers. At the same time, technology can reduce ongoing costs associated with increased staffing and allow you and your staff to put the collective talents of the company to the best possible use. Let's look at how you can start using technology right now and in the future to improve efficiency, reduce spending and make other positive changes.
Taking stock internally and implementing easy changes
The ease with which certain common forms of business technology can be implemented means there are changes you can make today for your business. Many include free or low-cost options that can save your company money over time, or make it easier to seize opportunities to grow your business.
Set aside a little time in your day to review how your company manages its foundational tasks, from work done in the field to core, universal business practices like accounting, payroll and managing contact information (for staff, customers and vendors). If you find a lot of situations where important information is physically written with pen and paper - or even entered into a locally stored computer document or spreadsheet that is inaccessible from other locations - there are some easy fixes to consider.
Transitioning from pen-and-paper systems or locally stored documents to free tools like Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Sheets is a powerful yet simple place to start with incorporating more tech into your business. If you still manage job details, employee information, equipment maintenance and scheduling with handwritten notes, you can produce significant gains in efficiency by using these tools. With access available wherever you have a computer or mobile device and the ease with which you can involve other stakeholders - employees, clients and vendors - when scheduling calls or sharing information, these offerings are especially powerful.
A schedule that can always be accessed and provides automated reminders about upcoming obligations through your desktop or mobile device, is far more useful than a piece of paper hanging in an office - especially for business owners who frequently work on the job site. Eliminating the need to carry or distribute paper copies, which can easily be misplaced or become out of date, is valuable to support staff and workers on job sites alike. Whether it's sharing contact information, the specifics of a team meeting or detailed directions for a specific part of a job, digital documents, spreadsheets and calendar reminders reduce the work needed to communicate effectively while keeping everyone on the same page.
Beyond these productivity tools, there are other changes involving technology that carry an initial price tag, but can have an ongoing positive impact on your financial bottom line. A smart thermostat, for example, can reduce HVAC costs year-round and even keep equipment stored inside a garage or similar facility safe from issues caused by extreme temperatures. Because you can access the thermostat no matter where you are, you can always quickly make an adjustment or receive a notification about a potential problem.
Looking at more advanced and powerful types of business technology
Although they require a more significant investment, there are many digital platforms that can offer significant benefits to your business. One of the most broadly recognizable technological tools to consider is digital analytics. Although once seen as a technological system only for large businesses due to its high implementation cost and the need for a variety of specialized staff to manage it, that's no longer the case. A variety of solutions have been developed to help smaller businesses tap into the power of data analysis.
Google Analytics and IBM Watson Analytics are just two of many solutions developed with such organizations in mind, as Small Business Trends pointed out. These analytics platforms offer different focuses and advantages. While a review of credit card spending by customers won't be of particular value to a company that relies on contracts for large projects, an in-depth investigation of website traffic and various internal operations can be. Whether it's an opportunity to find more efficient internal workflows or develop a better understanding of your target market, data analytics offers an almost completely automated approach to answering key business questions and addressing relevant concerns.
Beyond analytics, there are plenty of other tools to consider. Cloud storage solutions often carry modest, although ongoing, price tags, and allow for decentralized operations and steady access to documents and information wherever there's internet access or a data signal. A wide range of software platforms can boost organizational oversight, budgeting and finance and many other areas of operation.
The effectiveness of a technological category or specific piece of software is largely dependent on individual need. However, the time spent considering such solutions can easily pay off in terms of better performance and increased savings.
The important secondary benefits of beneficial new technology
More operational efficiency and insight, better workflows, stronger understanding of customers and many more benefits come your way with effective selection and use of new technology. One potentially overlooked benefit is lowered short- and long-term costs. When your business becomes more efficient, you save money that can then be used for all sorts of beneficial projects. That includes financing or leasing heavy equipment through Cat Financial, in turn increasing your company's capacity for taking on additional work or capably dealing with new types of jobs.
As you harness the savings that come with effective use of business technology, you can extend that advantage by investing in mission-critical assets like heavy equipment. To learn more, reach out to Cat Financial today.
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