Nearly every industry is feeling the impact of the present-day labor shortage, and many are having to increase compensation to attract and retain top talent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest findings, indicating that wages and salaries for U.S. workers increased 0.5% and benefit costs increased nearly 1% in the last quarter alone, ending in June 2018.
Instead of hiring more workers, some companies are looking for ways to increase productivity among existing employees while still maintaining job satisfaction and an engaging culture. Keeping pace with most business trends, technology is leading the way in solving labor challenges. Let’s take a look at how various technologies and optimizing business processes can help.
Which Technology Solution Can Optimize Operations?
When a company looks to streamline its processes and bring down labor costs, it will often be presented with a multitude of solutions from various providers, each claiming to have the answer. Admittedly, on our own blog feed, we outline many of those solutions — from Managed IT and Managed Print, to financing, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and more.
Each of these technologies can, no doubt, streamline your overall operations, improve efficiencies and bring down costs. But, because technology solutions remain an ever-moving target, there is rarely a single answer.
Business process optimization (BPO) is a holistic and big-picture approach that first identifies the roadblocks to success, then designs a customized solution to maximize efficiencies. Let’s take a look at how BPO can specifically help in the area of labor costs.
Ways BPO Can Reduce Labor Costs
The ultimate goal of BPO is to eliminate waste, the greatest of which is time. Implementing BPO is a multistage process that involves gaining an understanding of the inner workings of each department, identifying inefficiencies and designing solutions to streamline processes. From there, improvements can be proposed, which often involves implementing various technology solutions that can automate or minimize labor-intensive tasks. Here are just three examples of how that can happen.
1. Your IT Department
If it’s determined that your organization’s IT department is spending an excessive amount of time dealing with printer issues and paper jams, that’s time that could be spent addressing more critical functions such as securing networks or implementing software updates. In this situation, the services offered through a Managed Print solution would be extremely beneficial. Remote monitoring and trained technicians can handle meter readings, troubleshooting, routine maintenance, repairs, offer phone support and more. With freed-up capacity, existing IT staff can address strategic initiatives rather than having to hire additional staff.
Additionally, some companies benefit from implementing a Managed IT service to augment their existing IT team or to take over certain functions. With this solution, you can receive world-class IT support and guidance from a virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) who will strategically address your IT needs (without having to put another IT expert on the payroll).
2. The Front Office
Administrative departments often manage multiple document filing systems, such as CRMs, email, accounting software, Cloud-based management systems, on-site servers, etc. Let’s not mention that pile on top of someone’s desk. Having documents scattered in various systems opens the door for redundancies, errors and lots of wasted time searching for information. It can also open the door to cybercriminals due to lackluster security protocols.
In this situation, an ECM can serve as an ideal solution by ensuring all documentation is quickly accessible in one repository. Users can easily search based on keywords to find the information they need at their fingertips, and related data can be linked to provide even greater functionality. Some providers even feature artificial intelligence in the form of virtual assistants to enhance the user experience and manage the volumes of data that are added each day.
What might potential labor savings look like in real life? One company that uses Laserfiche ECM tools cut its order processing time from 8–10 weeks down to only 72 hours after digitizing orders and setting up protocols to automatically route them to various departments. Over the course of a year, the company saved more than 200 hours of staff time.
3. Your HR Team
One of the best possible ways to reduce labor costs is to improve the hiring process from the very start. By now, every company is aware that attracting the right employees and then keeping them happy is the key to keeping labor costs in check.
Keeping employee documentation in order builds employee confidence and can give you a competitive advantage when trying to land that ideal candidate. Applications, resumes, reviews, meeting notes and more can be securely stored in an ECM and routed to appropriate department managers in a more timely manner, and notifications can be set to trigger next steps, helping employees and candidates alike feel cared for. This not only ensures proper follow up, but also helps HR departments manage multiple compliance requirements.
We know that changing various business processes that may have been in place since your doors first opened can be met with some resistance. But as markets and technology changes, companies and their processes need to change with them. Working with a strategic technology partner that will guide you each step of the way and help create buy-in from various stakeholders within your company is a critical component to successful implementation.
Contact the Gordon Flesch Company today to talk through your business challenges, and to learn how a holistic BPO approach can help overcome them and improve your company’s overall performance. Meanwhile, check out the ECM guide below.