Wednesday, 1st September 2021

The most common commercial bottlenecks and how to fix them

When you are growing quickly, the last thing you want is anything slowing you down. So what do you do if your own infrastructure is dragging you down? Here are the top 3 most common commercial bottlenecks and how to fix them.

Unable to correctly monitor performance

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Have you heard of this phrase before? It’s true, particularly in business.

In the smallest of companies, performance indicators are much more obvious. Maybe it’s an employee not performing as well as they should be, maybe there are unreliable supply streams. As a company begins to scale up in size, it can become difficult for decision makers to keep track of each process and ensure that the company is running at maximum efficiency.

One common way of tackling this problem is to have frequent meetings with line managers of the company regarding updates and changes. There are many weaknesses with this, however; scheduled meetings may mean there are delayed reactions to problems and a loss of critical detail.

By far the most efficient way of monitoring performance is with a digital solution that centralises data streams.

Fast growing businesses require a custom software solution to facilitate their growth. Spreadsheets and bits of paper can only help up to a certain point before automation becomes essential. Custom software can allow for real-time data reports and can allow you to monitor every aspect of your business in one single place.

Poor planning

In companies where there are a lot of simultaneous processes, such as those in the logistics industry, time management is essential. If time management is poor, wasted minutes quickly translates into hours over a given time period. That’s not good for your bottom line.

To coordinate processes that take place in different parts of the globe all at the once, planning must be thorough and worst-case scenarios should always be considered. Humans are prone to mistakes, however… and mistakes are costly. With the manufacturing and production industry, one process that takes over five times longer than if running at maximum efficiency might lead to indirect costs in the tens of thousands, or potentially in the millions a year for the largest companies. Time is money.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems can help streamline this process. ERP systems are designed to centralise essential processes and are the window into large-scale projects. ERP software can integrate various types of processes needed to run a company – for example, on a production line, a bespoke ERP system would be able to give decision makers a centralised hub of surveillance for all their complex processes – so problems can be identified quickly. A problem identified quickly is a problem solved quickly and money saved.

Poor communication

One of the main causes for a breakdown in any type of relationship is a lack of communication. A business of 100 employees spends, on average, 17 hours a week clarifying bad communication (yes, you read that correctly).

The working from home trend is only going to exacerbate existing communication problems between teams. So what is the answer?

The answer is to implement a top tier VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) app into your day-to-day business. Microsoft Teams is only a few years old, but is outstanding at bringing teams together despite being physically miles apart. Commercial VoIP apps such as Microsoft Teams allow file sharing and video conferencing, and links with your Outlook calendar.

Poor customer retention

High bounce rates? Short customer life spans? Customer retention is essential for the long term success of your business.

For ecommerce companies, the quality of a checkout system is so influential it can make the difference between a profit and loss in a financial year. The fastest checkout systems in the world are often the most successful. Amazon’s ‘1-Click’ checkout system has contributed significantly to the success of the company, setting the bar when it comes to hassle-free shopping since it was introduced in 1999.

Some of the most sophisticated online checkout systems can be incredibly simple, while others, depending on the product, rely on unique digital processes to decrease bounce rates and increase customer satisfaction. Earlier this year, we worked with a large customisable sock company and implemented a machine learning tool into their checkout system that automatically cropped faces out of images. Because of this, the customer could then better visualise the product they were purchasing and adding an element of fun to the checkout process, thus decreasing bounce rate and increasing sales. You can read more about this project here.

For other B2C companies, customer retention comes in the form of quality customer service and brand loyalty. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are almost essential for growing companies as it allows them to keep on top of their leads and manage customer relationships even after the sale is made. A happy customer is likely to return to you in the future, and even recommend you to their friends and family. CRM systems also allow you to store contact details, opening up the opportunity for remarketing and other forms of contact that help build brand loyalty.

Have a think about your business and where things could be improved. The chances are, this can be done with a digital solution and allow you to scale faster and easier. Have an idea? Contact us today so we can help!