3 easy ways to increase business productivity

Scaling a retail business, from running it out of your garage, to managing multiple sales channels, and then evolving into an omnichannel model, can be overwhelming. As your retail business model becomes more complex, the cost of running the business goes up due to increased overhead, marketing, labor and inventory costs.

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Increasing efficiency and productivity with inventory, order and team management workflows is one way to save you time and costs related to your supply chain and labour. The following three tips will reduce the need for additional manpower, streamline your information to a single platform and prepare your retail business for long term growth.

1. Automation over delegation
As demand grows or as you expand sales into multiple channels, increasing order quantities and growing order frequencies becomes challenging to manage and track. A common solution that business owners try is hiring more staff to deal with the growing demand. The downside to this is that more staff means increased labor costs, which adds to your overheads and ultimately reduces your profit margins.

Another way to manage a growing business is to find a digital solution that helps you automate workflows. Think of SaaS solutions as part of the team running your company. Take toy retailer Miann & Co for example. Raking in an impressive average of 1200 orders each month, the business only has 3 full time staff members and utilizes solutions like TradeGecko, Shopify and StarShip IT to run a smooth operation.

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It’s all about the team behind you, not just the staff you work with but the integration partners, like Shopify, TradeGecko and StarShipIT – they’re also part of your team. When you get that right, then life gets a lot easier as it frees you up to focus on a lot of other things in the business.- Miann & Co

There are many aspects of a business that rely on the human touch and ability. To meet those requirements, you will inevitably need to increase the number of people you hire. However, for daily or repetitive tasks such as keeping up to date with stock levels, generating invoices, keeping client details up to date and updating the books, consider adding digital solutions to your team that can increase productivity at a fraction of the cost.  

2. A single source of truth
Let's spill the tea on Saas solutions out there that claim to make running a business "easier". There are thousands of them, all claiming to help manage different parts of your business. There are inventory solutions, eCommerce solutions, CRM solutions, forecasting tools, EDI providers, fulfilment tools, accounting software, the list goes on and on.

There are so many tools that making sure they are all updated with the most recent and relevant information can be time-consuming, and even counterproductive. As Australia’s top cloud consultant and TradeGecko Partner explains:

Integration is one of the top things that businesses look for, but not all integrations are alike. Also there is no governing body managing or rating integrations. Just because a company advertises an integration it doesn’t necessarily mean that the integration is robust or covers what you would expect.- SMB Consultants.

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To increase productivity, choose solutions that have a wide range of integrations that have been tried and tested. One way to determine if an integration works is to comb through customer reviews. It may cost you some time initially, but ensuring that integrations are as robust as they claim to be will save you time and money in the long run.

3. When you grow, they grow

There are few things more frustrating than outgrowing a platform that you have spent weeks or even months setting up and perfecting. Having to switch solutions because you've grown and are expanding your business to new horizons, whether that’s multi-channel retail or foraying into wholesale, takes time, adds more cost and is ultimately not productive.

For Dirty Knees Soap Co. the value of using a scalable inventory management solution became clear when they received their first large wholesale order and realized they would not be able to stay on top of large orders manually. For businesses who are thinking of scaling without investing in a robust solution owner Heidi Danos advises:

If you think your business is not worthy of an order management system like TradeGecko, or that you can’t afford it, you’re wrong. You can’t afford not to use TradeGecko. When you think big, you grow big. TradeGecko will save you time, prevent a lot of mistakes, and is totally worth it! - Dirty Knees Soap Co.

The digital solutions you use should align with the long term goals of your business. Does the solution facilitate for both online and offline sales (O2O)? When you hit exponential growth in the retail industry, will it allow you to move effortlessly into wholesale? Are you saving time with integrations that sync information between platforms automatically or are you wasting time with double entry of data?

Increasing productivity involves many parts of a business and requires the commitment of the entire team. However increasing the level of automation, relying on a single source of truth and investing in a solution that is scalable, are three easy ways to significantly increase productivity without a 360 overhaul of your business processes.

TradeGecko helps you streamline your business in these ways and more. Start a free 14-day TradeGecko trial today.

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See also;

What is demand forecasting and how can it help your business?

7 eCommerce Trends for Online Growth

Overcoming 5 top challenges of international expansion

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