By: Dennis Sommer

Operation efficiency is a key component for companies to be competitive in today’s business climate. Customers expect instant access to information, quick service, superior quality product and much more. If you have not mastered operation efficiency, you most likely are not meeting your customers’ expectations and risk losing market share to your competition and eventually going out of business.

Operation efficiency isn’t just about reducing costs. Companies who focus on cutting costs to improve operation efficiency usually end up under performing their competition. They are too concerned with cost reduction and lose sight of adding real business value to the customer, which in return improves customer satisfaction, recurring revenue, increased market share and dramatic business growth.

The following are 5 best practices to help your business increase operation efficiency and deliver more value to your customers and business.

  1. Collaborate more.
    Make it easier to collaborate between employees, partners, suppliers, and customers. Improved collaboration is a sure-fire way to boost your efficiency while also reducing costs. Integrated voice, video, and data and wireless provides the kind of interactive calendaring, videoconferencing, IP communications and other technologies your business needs to provide instant and easy communication with all parties.
  2. Provide customers and partners with secure, consistent access to information.
    Easy access to your information may be the difference between holding onto a long time client or losing them to a competitor. If your company network is frequently down, sluggish, or unsecured, that competitive advantage may be lost. An easy to use, reliable and secure infrastructure provides your business with maximum agility by providing reliable, secure access to business intelligence. What's more, a secure, reliable infrastructure provides the necessary foundation for a number of efficiency-enhancing technologies and solutions that will benefit your customers and company.
  3. Streamline customer communication.
    Communicating with customer’s knowledgably and efficiently helps keep them satisfied and turns them into raving fans.  Few things are more important to your bottom line as satisfied customers. Integrating your communications system to a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is one way to improve customer communications. When a customer calls, a pop-up window of the customer contact appears on an employee's computer screen. Before the second ring, the employee answering the call has access to information about the customer calling, such as current orders, recent returns and much more.
  4. Create efficient and effective processes with your partners.
    Partners are critical to all growing businesses. Successful partnerships are created when you are able to integrate your company with the partner. To do this, you will need to create efficient and effective processes that bring you and the partner into a seamless distribution channel.
  5. Outsource low priority functions. 
    Is it the best use of an employee's time to manage your network, security, communication systems or other non-core functions of your business? Often, a more efficient option is to outsource such tasks to a managed service provider. A service provider has the expertise that your business may lack, but need. They can provide you with instant expertise without the need to spend time or money developing that expertise in house. Outsourcing enables your employees to stay focused on productive activities related to your business's core functions and competencies.

Operation efficiency is the cornerstone to all successful growing companies and is not a onetime project.  Continuous review and improvement of your operation will help you and your company outperform competitors and dominate your industry.