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How software solutions can help rebuild profitability during the COVID-19 crisis

09 June 2020 | Blog

As COVID-19 lockdown restrictions begin to ease, many businesses will be wondering how to adapt to new and evolving circumstances while re-establishing and maintaining the profitability of their businesses.

There are many factors to consider, such as teams continuing to work from home, capacity limited by social distancing, individual behaviours and preferences changing, and the possible impact of a recession.

Getting teams working smoothly and efficiently is key to rebuilding profitability and makes your organisation more able to cope with further changes. Technology can be a significant contributing factor in these considerations, but it can also present the means to mitigate problems and facilitate new opportunities. It can be a major contributor to improving profitability in these challenging times. As providers of bespoke solutions, we wanted to outline a few areas worthy of attention.

Improve remote working efficiency

Managing to quickly adapt to having staff working remotely has been one of the positives of the lockdown. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s all been straightforward. Systems developed before lockdown are probably not set up for maximum efficiency when teams are working from home or split between home and office. Reviewing your systems and either replacing them or making enhancements  is key to improving business efficiency.

Don’t make users hop between systems

Any time users have to break away from one system to use another there is the potential for error and distraction, as well as time wasted. It is much more efficient if you can remove the need for users to switch between systems. This can be achieved by expanding functionality or integrating systems to cut out breakpoints. Common examples of this include:

  • Staff may currently be copying information from one system into an external spreadsheet, for example a quote log. A direct solution to this would be to integrate this functionality into your system so that the user doesn’t have to manually enter details into an external spreadsheet. A better solution would be to understand what the use cases are for the external quote log and see whether this can be exposed as a feature of the primary system, so that all the required capability is provided in one place. This also reduces management overhead of having an external spreadsheet to consider such as security issues and needing backups.
  • Staff may need to manually update mailing lists when a new customer places an order online. This can be automated by integrating your systems so that mailing lists are automatically updated.

When these types of enhancements are implemented, your staff can stay focused on a task and complete each transaction in less time, which will enhance efficiency and may reduce the number of people required to do certain tasks, freeing them to complete other duties.

Automate workflows

When teams are working together in one office it is easy to pass transactions and enquiries around via email, paper or verbally. With your teams working across multiple locations, processes may not be as efficient, and sales opportunities could be lost, or transactions not completed.

If you have this type of scenario, we recommend having an automated system that sends notifications via email or SMS whenever a key event is processed in the system (such as a new order). Users are then prompted to carry out a task or provide approval.  Additional features can also be added so that users responsible for executing follow on tasks can proactively check for new items requiring attention on a regular basis.

Fixing these issues increases the efficiency of all staff and enhances management awareness of the situation. If your system doesn’t already support this type of processing, it should be possible to add status searches and status notifications or achieve the same thing by building directly onto the applications database.

Enhance data capture

How is data received into your system? If it is by paper or email then re-entered into your internal systems, this is likely to limit your options to process this with remote working teams and is also error prone and resource intensive.

Instead, consider putting data capture mechanisms online so that customers, suppliers or other contacts can enter their own data and have this feed directly into whatever systems need it. If required, you can use a staging system where internal users can view new inbound data and then adding or rejecting it with a single button click. You can also build a simple, password-protected entry page or portal with login, so that the entry mechanism isn’t public. Eliminating data entry will reduce errors as well as time spend by staff.

As you can see, bespoke software solutions can be a key factor in improving the efficiency of your business, while also having a number of other benefits:

  • Tailored to meet your needs
    A new, bespoke solution can be designed to meet your precise needs, processes can be completed in one place saving time, reducing errors and working more effectively.
  • Improve scalability
    Bespoke solutions can also easily evolve to stay in line with ever-changing business processes.
  • Gain competitive advantage
    Whether it is by giving you a technological advance, or by offering customers something they cannot get anywhere else, bespoke solutions can help you stand out against your competition, increasing sales and driving retention.  The net result – more profit and ultimately greater value for your business!
  • Generate additional income
    You may not be aware that a bespoke software solution can generate additional income for your business. When you build your own solution, you are generating intellectual property (IP) which can be a valuable asset that can be licensed to other businesses. Alternatively, it can help position your business as a leader in your marketplace, differentiating you from your competition. This leads to new opportunities, a higher conversion rate and greater retention of customers. When you build your own solution,  you are also likely to be entitled to claim back a significant percentage of the total cost via the HMRC R&D Tax Credit Scheme.

For more information or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us for a no obligation conversation. KLOC is a software development company based in Berkshire, specialising in solving business challenges with software solutions. We have years of experience designing, building and delivering high-quality solutions backed by expert support for a wide range of companies. We want to use our expertise to help other businesses grow and develop during this time.