• March 26, 2017

Online solutions that increase your business productivity

Online solutions that increase your business productivity

Online solutions that increase your business productivity 1024 683 Toby

Well we all wish we could fly….

In small businesses we waste time with administrative tasks, in large businesses we waste it by not integrating processes and we fail to create the visibility across departments that help our employees to work better.

We enter data twice in different departments when information could be shared digitally and made accessible for staff in and out of the office.

To help our businesses to really fly, its time to embrace strategic use of online software to cut costs and free up time for sales. Take the time now to identify areas of the business where sharing data and improving process could save you and your employees time. Here are some examples of software that increase business productivity and the business issues they solve.

Please note the examples provided in this article are not an extensive list, the best choice of software for any business will vary. For expert advice on which one would help your business the most contact Toby for help.

Types of productivity software include:

Manufacturing Management Software

Sometimes called ERP (Enterprise resource planning) or MRP (Material requirements planning) these software systems are designed to integrate accounting, inventory, sales processes and other functions so that all staff members can access up to date data on the manufacturing process improving manufacturing accuracy and overall efficiency. This helps to make ordering patterns, customer issues and service delivery traceable so a manager can zero in on areas for improvements increasing sales and customer satisfaction in the process.

Solves the following issues:

  • Costing: Using a Bill of Materials (BOM)  to calculate finished product costs by adding together raw materials and time for manufacturing.
  • Converting sales orders into manufacture orders for assembly: Multiple production stages, standard and optional parts and third party assembly, broken apart when a sales order arrives and assigned to the appropriate departments.
  • Tracking of production and parts: Depending on the requirements of your business tracking can be set up with serial numbers, quality control items and barcode scanning for parts, finished products or production processes.
  • Production planning: scheduling production orders, assigning resources and tracking of work operations. This may include scheduling disassembly and maintenance.
  • Inventory management: Track parts inventory and automatically generate purchase orders for parts.
  • Print Invoices and Packing Lists: Automatically generate final invoices and packing lists through integration with your accounting software.

Examples of Manufacturing Management Software: Fishbowl, Unleashed, MRPEasy

Warehouse Management Software

Often refereed to as Inventory Control Software these applications allow businesses to easily monitor stock in multiple locations and purchase orders in real time. Save staff time with Pick and Pack by enabling staff to quickly find stock, print shipping labels and enter tracking codes.

Solves the following issues:

  • Real time inventory management: E-commerce and Accounting integration allowing inventory to be automatically updated so you will never oversell.
  • Multiple Warehouse Management: View each locations inventory and analyse locational trends. Integrations with 3PL and EDI are available.
  • Tracking Management: Barcode picking systems which eliminate overstocks and shortages and shortens picking times.
  • Shelf life control: Product that only have a certain shelf life can be tracked and easily managed.
  • Stock adjustments: Easily manage returns, backorders and dropshipping.
  • Inventory Forecasting: Use analytics from your system to accurately plan ordering.
  • Print Invoices and Packing Lists: Automatically generate final invoices and packing lists through intergration with your accounting software.

Examples of Manufacturing Management Software: TradeGecko, Cin7, Dear

Staff Scheduling & Time Tracking Software

Accurately billing time based jobs is a breeze with the time tracking software available today. These easy to use apps not only make recording time in the office and outside the office a breeze, but they also easily convert this to invoices and forecast for future scheduling and quotes.

Solves the following issues:

  • Tracking and billing time spent on projects: easily record time spent on projects even when you are on the go and bill them to the appropriate client.
  • Setting and monitoring project budgets: set project budgets and monitor time spent so that projects do not exceed their budgets.
  • Accurately billing customers: Set billable, nonbillable and expenses to eb added to invoices and include accurate time to be billed.
  • Monitoring and Forecasting: Monitor staff use of billable and nonbillable time and expenses. Use historical data to help accurately forecast  future scheduling and quotes.
  • Scheduling: Record and share schedules with staff.
  • Automated Invoicing: Easily generate invoicing and set automation.

Examples of Staff Scheduling & Time Tracking Software: Harvest, SortScape, MinuteDock, WorkflowMax

Project Management Software

Helpful in organising teams across multiple projects by assigning staff and prioritising tasks.

Solves the following issues:

  • Easy schedulingManage your workforce smartly with easy employee scheduling.
  • Prioritising Jobs – Move work up the list when needed.
  • Tracking project status – easily see what stage a project is at.
  • Make Project Information accessible – Field & office staff should be able to easily access information to aspects of the project to ensure accurate delivery of services.
  • Track Staff – Software can include GPS tracking for staff so you know where your workforce are.
  • Easy Quoting and invoicing – This may include signing quotes and job sheets digitally in the field.

Examples of Project Management Software: Tradifiy, Smartsheet

Collaboration Software

Useful when working in teams across multiple projects to keep track of the conversations and shared content. Collaboration can occur inhouse but can also include involving the client in the process of service delivery.

Solves the following issues:

  • Keeping track of conversations – Work collaboratively with multiple team members and customers with loosing track of conversation.
  • Sharing and updating project files – upload and share files with teams members and clients.
  • Sharing resources – Create resources for knowledge management and training.

Examples of Collaboration Software:  Slack, GoogleDocs, Bloomfire, Dropbox

Marketing & Sales Software

There is an extensive range of online Marketing and Sales software that will saqve you time and money including CRMs, Social Media Tools and Data Management Tools.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) – Manage and analyse customer interactions  throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers by building customer satisfaction and driving sales.
    Examples include: Zoho, Salesforce, Pipedrive
  • Social Media Management – Schedule, monitor and approve social media campaigns across multiple social media sites.
    Examples include: Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, GoCincy, Rivuu
  • Analytics Software – Designed to help visualise complex data from your business so that its easier to understand.  Gain insight on past business performance to drive business planning and identify business opportunities. Business Analytics can come in varying levels and access different areas of your business or all of them.
    Examples include: Soltius, SAP, Flintfox, Google Analytics

Cloud Accounting Software

Referred to as accounting in the cloud this area of online business has seen rapid growth with Xero leading the way. Designed to be easily accessed from anywhere these accounting packages do all the same things the old ones did, but with an ease of integration to other business processes like e-commerce and inventory management that reduce administrative time.

Solves the following issues:

  • Ease of integration – Allowing you to easily connect with your time tracking, scheduling, e-commerce and inventory systems.
  • Ease of access – Capture receipts and create invoices on the go.
  • Speed up reconciliation – Connecting with bank statements allows fast bank reconciliation.
  • Real time view – View your cash flow in real time, view Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and other reports in one click.
  • Automated Back Up and Security Features – Rest easy knowing your data will never get lost and you always have the most up to date version of the software for security and added features.

Examples include: Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks