A lean business is one that doesn’t have unnecessary steps. It is one that doesn’t interrupt good workflow in order to insist on tedious tasks that can and should be handled by a computer program.
The human brain isn’t meant to work like a machine, and when we have very intelligent machine learning programs and affordable digital solutions, there is no longer any reason to treat the human mind like it is a machine that can continuously turn out admin-related work without mistakes.
Save your employees for creativity, and keep up good momentum and ideas with lean methodologies and processes. The right tools and the right approach can make all the difference, especially when managing remote teams.
Improve the Efficiency of Your Teams
Back and forth emails, hundreds of versions of the same project, lost files – all of this cuts into the time, budget, and worst of all, the workflow of your employees. It can be very hard to keep on track of everything when you don’t use a management system designed to streamline these processes.
There are so many things that your teams need. First, they need a system where they can update projects and automatically have previous versions saved out of sight. They need a system where requests and suggestions can be seen within the project itself.
In marketing, a good way to bring about this efficiency is with something known as Agile marketing. Agile marketing uses smart tools and a streamlined approach to marketing that boosts production time, productivity, and results. There are several characteristics of agile marketing that help it stand out, most notably its relentless commitment to customer satisfaction and experimentation.
Use Automation When Appropriate
Automation is a great way to make your business leaner, and it is something that all companies, big and small alike, can do for themselves. Automation today does not just refer to manufacturing. Even when products need to be made, things like 3D printing have completely changed the game, but for most businesses, you won’t use automation in production but in your business management.
Machine learning can better understand the large collections of data your business brings in. it can then make recommendations and even take actions you have set out beforehand on your behalf.
For example, you can link up your accounts department and your inventory, and your sales team. This way, you can keep a better track of your inventory and have your systems send out automated requests for more shipments. That request will then go to your accounts department, who will approve and pay the invoice.
Fast, easy, and no downtime as you wait for someone to notice you are running low on an item and not waiting around while manually putting in the request. You, instead, can benefit from fewer downtimes and a better relationship with your customers and suppliers alike.
Automation can also help on the customer side of your business. At the heart of personalization is automation, allowing you to connect better with your customers for less effort. Once again, you can cut back on costs, improve the value you offer, and do better by your budget just by using readily available tools.
When implementing new tools, of course, you will need to train your teams to use them efficiently and correctly, so invest in proper training to get the most out of your investments.
Reduce Waste and Sell Waste Back
Don’t think of lean management just in terms of production. Think of it in every component. If your computer systems and servers use too much energy, this is a cost that will add up. If you use inefficient packaging, this is a cost that will add up.
There are so many opportunities to reduce waste in your business and save it. You could even sell it on. If you have plenty of cardboard waste, for example, you can bale it up and sell it to a recycling center. If you have green energy, like solar panels, you can sell unused energy back to the grid.
Thinking in this way is how we can take one more step towards the circular economy and benefit our businesses at the same time. Sometimes the solution will be obvious; other times, you will need to explore the new and innovative businesses that are emerging that are looking to take advantage of waste as a raw material. The opportunities are ever-expanding, allowing you to improve your business and your budget in 2021 and beyond.
The Importance of Collaboration
If you want new, innovative, or just insightful ideas into how to make your business or a certain department leaner, then you need to be listening to your team. They are the ones who are on the ground and who are working with the processes and tools that you have set out for them. They will, therefore, have been able to identify issues and even theorized solutions that you would never have considered otherwise.
Having a team meeting once a month to discuss how the entire department can operate more smoothly is a great way to do this. Try to get every member of the team to contribute something, just so you have the largest collection of ideas to work off from.
This is to help you and your teams. It should help you get more results, and it should help them by improving their experience working on projects and different tasks. Have them recommend tools, different methodologies, or even benefits to you that would help them do their jobs better.
Collaborative thinking is where truly wonderful things happen, but don’t assume that your employees will just come up to you with great ideas. Many will assume that it isn’t their place, or there may be a workplace attitude that you cannot make suggestions that will make work “easier” on your team. Destroy these notions by actively encouraging recommendations, and you can improve the efficiency of every team, get more great work out of them, and as a result, better manage your 2021 budget.