5 Critical [Must Follow] Cost-Reduction Methods

A Simple Guide for Boosting Your Bottom Line

From Chaotically Busy To Productive Bliss

“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.”

— John Chambers, Cisco System

Key Findings

73% of companies with aboveaverage customer experience are more profitable than competitors. - Experience Matters

The average office worker is productive for 2 hours 53 minutes out of a working day. - Voucher Cloud

Low code application platforms can help users build custom software solutions 10x faster than traditional software development. - Forrester

Cost for custom applications can vary between $15,000 (for simple freelance apps) $200,000+ (for enterprise applications). - Innovation

Organizations lose $13.3 Million each year on average due to bad data. - Gartner

Over 77% of organizations believe they’ve lost revenue due to data issues. - CIO

Out of 20 companies surveyed, 55% had returns of $100,000 - $500,000 from business process management improvements made. - Gartner

54% of employees believe they can save 2 hours of work each day through automation. -WorkMarket

Companies that use automation can expect to see revenue increases of around 32% by 2022. -Accenture

62% of small business owners work more than 50 hours a week -Gallup

63.3% of business owners state that it’s harder to keep employees than hire them with 68.3% experiencing turnover in the last 12 months. -Zenefits

1 in 3 business leaders expect employees to stay for less than one year. -Zenefits

Introduction

No one likes uncertainty. And yet we’ve all come to accept that uncertainty is part of running or working in a successful business. We tell ourselves, “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.” But that’s not always true. In fact, most businesses put themselves at unnecessary risk with inefficient systems and manual processes.

Meanwhile, leaders and employees alike are working harder than ever. The belief is that more is better and if you keep pushing employees harder, everything will eventually even out.

Except, it won’t. It can’t.

Building your business on exhausted employees and inefficient systems is like stacking up a house of cards. It doesn’t take much for it to come crashing down. And thanks to recent sudden shifts in the market, we’ve seen just how possible that is

The truth is this:

It is possible to work less and get better results. It is possible to crawl out from under your business and have more time for the things that matter most in life. And it is also possible to ease up on the gas and still cross the finish line ahead of your competition.

This guide will show you how to steal back time from your business and make that happen.

Businesses Are EXTREMELY Inefficient

Most businesses are wildly inefficient. That’s the cost of living in an increasingly digital environment. Whatever system you put together today may be outdated by tomorrow

How do we fix this?

More and more, we rely on custom applications to fill in the gaps and help us bring results. But it seems that with each new piece of technology we add to the stack, we create yet another task to manage.

More systems. More problems.

You’re not alone

Customers expect more:

  • 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today than they did one year ago. - Customer Thermometer
  • 55% of customers are less likely to engage with a company after a bad mobile experience. - Super Office
  • 76% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. And 66% are ready to leave if they feel that they’re treated like a number instead of an individual. -Salesforce

Organizations rely on software more and more to meet expectations:

  • The number of software apps deployed across large firms has increased over 68% between 2015 - 2019 with a company using an average of 129 apps. - Okta Inc
  • Global IT spending on enterprise software continues to increase with a prediction of 8.8% growth between 2020 and 2021. - Statista
  • 80% of businesses in North America and Europe expect year-over-year tech spending to stay the same or increase. -SWZD

Businesses that exceed expectations are more profitable:

  • 73% of companies with above-average customer experience are more profitable than competitors. - Experience Matters
  • Businesses that prioritize the customer experience are 60% more profitable than those that don’t. - SuperOffice
  • Customers in America will pay 17% more to purchase from a company known for providing better customer service. -American Express

The truth is this: If you want to be profitable, you need to exceed customer expectations. But doing that in our digital landscape requires the right software and strategy.

Anything less puts your business in the position of treading water, waiting for that final big wave...

Warning: What This Guide Is (and Isn’t)

If you’re looking for quick and easy cost reduction techniques or general information on how to structure your workday, this guide is not for you.

You can only squeeze so many pennies out of a system before that lemon is dry. And guides on productivity are only effective when your business allows you to implement them.

If you’re going to make a lasting change in your organization that will radically improve how you work, giving you more time and resources, you need to invest in your success.

After all, you can’t expect success if you don’t invest in it. The key to putting any anxiety to rest about that investment is to understand the ROI.

How much of a return can you expect?

Read on.

Strategy 1: Understand the Difference Between Busy and Productive

If you’re looking for quick and easy cost reduction techniques or general information on how to structure your workday, this guide is not for you.

You can only squeeze so many pennies out of a system before that lemon is dry. And guides on productivity are only effective when your business allows you to implement them.

If you’re going to make a lasting change in your organization that will radically improve how you work, giving you more time and resources, you need to invest in your success.

After all, you can’t expect success if you don’t invest in it. The key to putting any anxiety to rest about that investment is to understand the ROI.

How much of a return can you expect?

Read on.

Here are the facts

  • The average office worker is productive for 2 hours 53 minutes out of a working day. -Voucher Cloud

  • Executives spend 16 hours a week on administrative work. -Service Now

  • Employees spend 1.8 hours every day (9.3 hours a week) searching and gathering information. -McKinsey

  • Most employees spend 30 hours each month in meetings. -Atlassian

  • The average employee spends 4.1 hours a day checking their inbox. -Washington Post

  • 14% of telecommuters are more productive than office-bound employees. -Stanford University

  • American companies lose $65B due to employee sleep deprivation annually. -Harvard University

  • 41% of stressed workers say stress leads to a loss in productivity. -Colonial Life

Example

A health care and retail company needs to innovate, update, and maintain over 9,000 stores nationwide. Their staff is responsible for working with a network of vendors and service providers to replace and fix elements inside their stores.

However, the existing system of submitting and receiving service requests for the store by project managers is a manual process that involves filling out a physical form first.

Afterward, the form information is stored on the company’s internal portal page and submitted through email to the appropriate team. That team reviews each request and manually duplicates the request into their system.

The current process is time-consuming, inefficient, and often results in human errors

Additionally, the company is going to deactivate the internal portal for project and service managers to submit these requests. And that will cause a gap in how project and store managers can access and submit their requests.

Actionable Steps

Build an easy-to-use request portal using a low code platform. The portal should automatically transfer each request into the main program to manage. It should also meet internal compliance and corporate requirements for user access.

When a store or project manager identifies maintenance needs at their location, they can easily access the platform and submit the request. Once the manager enters the information, the internal team receives a notification. From there, they can go into the application to review and approve the request.

If the request needs additional information, the platform automatically sends a notification. After the team approves the request, the system transfers the ticket to the appropriate department.

Real Results:

Using Quickbase’s low code platform, we build such a system for one of our clients. As a result, the organization reduced one hour of manual labor per supervisor across all of their 9000 locations. Minutes add up. And so do the savings.

Strategy 2: Accept That Good Is Better Than Perfect

With an endless IT budget, you could craft perfect applications that would support your business in the way you envision it. Sadly. That’s not the reality. In fact, it’s far from it.

Building the perfect custom application from scratch is expensive and time-consuming.

It’s also unnecessary most of the time thanks to rapid application development. With rapid application development, you can sidestep the pitfalls of traditional app development and get custom solutions that fit your business needs.

Low code platforms allow users to develop custom applications without the cost of traditional application development. It’s rapid application development for businesses on a budget. In short, you can get the systems you need that get the job done without breaking the bank

Here are the facts

  • The average median price of custom application development is $171,450. - Clutch

  • Cost for custom applications can vary between $15,000 (for simple freelance apps) $200,000+ (for enterprise applications). - Innovation

  • Expected time to complete custom applications 3 - 4 months for simple applications and over 8 months for a full custom enterprise app. - Innovation

  • On average, businesses spend $3.61 per line of code to maintain systems and manage technical debt annually. -CastSoftware

  • Low code application platforms can help users build custom software solutions 10x faster than traditional software development. - Forrester

  • 24% of low code users had no background in code. -Mendix

  • 65% of app development will be on low code platforms by 2024. - Gartner

Example

The family-owned company has an inefficient system in place that consists of Microsoft Office and numerous paper files and documents. Their customers have to fill paper forms and staff members input data into the computer manually.

The company’s managing director believes that his company’s reliance on paper documents results in numerous errors from incorrect data entry. Additionally, he notes that manual data entry costs the company an estimated 15% in revenue annually

They need a system that can automate processes and preserve the “family business” ethos. This way, their customers feel as though their team is working with them directly.

The client researches off-the-shelf solutions and comes to the conclusion that these platforms didn’t fit their business processes. As a result, they decide a bespoke system integrated into various department processes would be better.

However, they quickly discover that creating the perfect system from scratch is going to be expensive.

Actionable Steps

Build a fully customizable solution using low code. This system should manage inventory, human resources, customer relationships, and more from a centralized system. Additionally, it should drastically reduce wasted time and costs.

The platform needs an intuitive user interface. As a bespoke system, it should have functions and features relevant to the client’s business. For example, the system should manage business functionality, track employee data, and nurture customer relationships in one accessible portal. It should also automate as many of these processes as possible.

Because this is a family-owned business, there needs to be a level of care appropriate for their customers. As a result, the system should support that personable element unique to their brand.

The platform should also support real-time reporting, giving the client clear insight into actionable data without the need to purchase additional software.

Real Results:

We built a custom business system using low code that checked all these boxes for our client. In short, the application streamlined business functionality while adapting to their specific needs.

Because we created the application using low code, the client spent a fraction of the time they would have spent building a traditional custom application. Plus, the application deployed much faster

Most significantly, this new system drastically reduced the time employees wasted on menial tasks each day. As a result, with our custom business platform, we reduced the time our client’s employees spent on administrative tasks by 2 hours a day (one full workday a week)

Strategy 3: Use the Right Tools

Going from chaos to efficiency requires the right tools. For most growing businesses, that’s a problem. They often have limited tools and resources. As a result, they use a lot of platforms beyond their intended capabilities. Nowhere is that more evident than with Excel.

Say this with me: Excel is not a database. Excel is not a database. Excel is not a database.

You cannot accurately track data, get real-time reporting, or make sense of disparate data sets efficiently or in a meaningful way with Excel.

No matter how well-versed in its formulas you are.

And this goes with other platforms as well. The problem is, if the platform you’re using wasn’t made for the task or workflow you’re using it for, you’re opening yourself up to problems.

Here are the facts

  • 60% - 73% of data within an enterprise goes unused by analytics. - Forrester

  • Over 90% of all spreadsheets have errors in them. - Market Watch

  • Even tested and proven spreadsheets have errors in 1% of all formula cells. - Market Watch

  • Organizations lose $13.3 Million each year on average due to bad data. - Gartner

  • Over 77% of organizations believe they’ve lost revenue due to data issues. - CIO2

  • Employees waste up to 50% of their day managing menial data entry and management tasks. - MITSloan

  • Bad data eats up between 20% - 30% of operating expenses for organizations on average. -Pragmatic Works

  • On average 40% of leads are invalid, incomplete, or duplicates. - Integrate

Example

When unprecedented concerns bring unpredictable markets and new challenges for businesses, a company needs a new way to share critical data with multiple stakeholders in new mediums.

In short, they need a way to bring about comprehensive and accurate reports more efficiently. And they need a way to share and view these reports in multiple mediums during a time of crisis

The company uses Excel to capture and share data, however. It’s an inefficient process that prevents realtime reporting. Data entry errors are common. And the information is hard to interpret.

Actionable Steps

Implement Power BI into their arsenal of informational logistics. By integrating their data from spreadsheets into Power BI, the business gains to see their information.

Power BI’s new publishing features display information securely and accurately to their customers during online meetings. Additionally, the platform streamlines meetings by providing one source for all their data, highlighting multiple charts and diagrams (instead of the usual spreadsheets and raw numbers).

Because this is a family-owned business, there needs to be a level of care appropriate for their customers. As a result, the system should support that personable element unique to their brand.

Finally, additional integrations should be made to allow sales reps to quickly and easily access the data directly from the business website.

Real Results:

We built such a system for our clients. As a result, they were able to pull data from disparate systems directly into one easily accessible portal. This cut down on the time needed to populate and review data. Additionally, it gave them a secure way to showcase that data for multiple parties. Overall, the client saw a reduction in labor costs needed to build these presentations.

Strategy 4: Focus on What Moves the Needle

A lot of people spend a lot of time working on projects that don’t make their companies faster or more profitable. If you want to see returns on your investment, you need to focus on what moves the needle.

And if you’re going to develop new systems, workflows, and automations for your growing business, you need to be CERTAIN that the return is there

Knowing which areas of your business to target first and with what improvements are key to getting the most out of your investment.

Here are the facts

  • Businesses waste between 32% - 41% of their software budget on features or platforms they don’t need or use. Roughly $259 per desktop worldwide. - 1E

  • Out of 20 companies surveyed, 55% had returns of $100,000 - $500,000 from business process management improvements made. - Gartner3

  • In 60% of jobs, one-third of the tasks required by employees could be automated. - McKinsey

  • 54% of employees believe they can save 2 hours of work each day through automation.

  • 78% of business leaders said they can save 3 hours of work a day. - WorkMarket

  • ERP software can reduce operational costs by as much as 23% and administration costs by as much as 22%. - G2

  • CRM software can earn a business around $8.71 for every dollar spent. - Nucleus Report

  • Automating the onboarding process can save HR departments 50% or roughly $5,000 for every 30 employees hired. - Greenhouse

  • Companies that use automation can expect to see revenue increases of around 32% by 2022. - Accenture

Example

A company that focuses on aviation support does not have an efficient system or process in place to invoice and collect payments. Instead, they calculate, create, and email invoices manually. As a result, they end up processing payments late with late fees.

Employees also frequently process invoices incorrectly, leading to complaints from customers and even more unpaid invoices. Additionally, they are unable to provide accurate and timely information to their flight crews and hotels. Even worse, many of their customers are upset and canceled bookings, costing them a major loss of revenue.

With over $800,000 in unpaid invoices, this company needs a complete payment processing overhaul. They are unable to provide accurate information to their customers, flight crews, and hotels. Due to this lack of inaccurate reporting, they are in danger of losing clients

Actionable Steps

Build a custom invoicing and payment system using low code in less than two months. The new system processes all historical unpaid invoice bookings, sending them to hotels.

Additionally, clients can log in and see real-time reporting of their travel and spend. Invoicing and payment reconciliations have also been automated. As a result, those low-dollar, outstanding invoices are automatically followed up on and reconciled.

Real Results:

Using the new invoicing and payment platform, our client drastically reduced the time needed to process invoices and the number of late payments. In the first year, they collected over $400,000 in unpaid invoices, over 70% of which required no manual intervention.

And this isn’t the only client of ours that has seen results. We’ve built custom systems that automate procurement for a range of clients. And the savings have been between $6000 a month and over $200,000 in a year.

These savings come from error and manual task reduction. Additionally, these platforms help businesses leverage opportunities for discounts while avoiding late fees.

Strategy 5: Learn to Unplug

Your goal should be to get to a point where you can walk away from your business. You need to steal back your nights and weekends. Remember, you work to live. Not the other way around.

Perhaps a note about the real reason we optimize businesses: to give you more time AWAY from work. One of the biggest failures people make is that they improve one area of their business so they can get exhausted by another. Freedom is the result you need.

But to do that, you need better systems.

Here are the facts

  • 62% of small business owners work more than 50 hours a week - Gallup

  • The median cost of turnover is around 21% of an employee’s annual salary - The Center for American Progress

  • It takes 8 months for a new employee to reach maximum productivity levels - HBR

  • 63.3% of business owners state that it’s harder to keep employees than hire them with 68.3% experiencing turnover in the last 12 months. - Zenefits

  • 78% of business leaders said they can save 3 hours of work a day. - WorkMarket

  • ERP software can reduce operational costs by as much as 23% and administration costs by as much as 22%. - G2

  • 1 in 3 business leaders expect employees to stay for less than one year. - Zenefits

  • 72% of small business owners feel overwhelmed by roles and responsibilities. -The Alternative Board

Example

A growing business needs a better system to keep track of their quotes, customers, jobs processes, shipping, and invoicing. Their previous system isn’t scalable. Instead, their rapid growth has made their legacy system unmanageable.

The client’s organization consists of several different departments, managed by several different people. All on separate systems. As a result, there is an increasing time rift between when they quote jobs and when they assign, build, and deliver them.

The client realizes that if they are going to continue on their path to success, they need a solution. Specifically, they need a custom solution that scales with their business goals and workflows.

Solutions:

Build a system that houses all of their detailed information and multi-step processes under one roof. And to do this quickly and within budget, using low code platforms.

The new system needs to facilitate a much smoother transition between all the people involved in each workflow once the client provides a quote for their customers.

To make this happen, it should integrate emails, blueprint designs, and quality control. This will allow for a smoother, more rapid process. From initial quote negotiation to final invoicing, the platform should allow the business to provide products and services to their customers. Faster than they thought possible with a single platform.

Real Results:

Working with the client, we built a platform designed to optimize their business processes and workflows. As a result, the client could:

  • Aggregate data into one secure location
  • Reduce overall workflow processing time by 30%
  • Provide employees with a single portal for data entry
  • Eliminate duplicate data entry

In short, the system gave our client freedom. They were able to increase productivity while reducing labor. As a result, they could walk away from their business at the end of the day without the pressure to stay late and secure more wins.

The Biggest Obstacle to Change

The fastest way to succeed is to focus on what you’re good at and delegate everything else. Most executives and many in leadership know this. And yet, they still struggle with letting go of the reigns.

The truth is that if you want to streamline your business and steal back your time, you need to focus on what you do best. Outsource the rest

While you can improve your systems and workflows, it requires an extra push that you may not have the bandwidth for right now.

Still, continuing down your current path means bleeding out money while slowly poisoning your workplace culture. After all, no one wants to work with a company that forces them to work continuously without an end in sight.

Remember: You can’t sprint a marathon.

The Value of IT Outsourcing

Rather than try to improve your existing systems in-house, further straining your depleted team, you should outsource your business process optimization to a team of qualified tech consultants.

At Quandary Consulting Group, we untangle growing businesses from their inefficient systems. Our integration and application experts build custom solutions rapidly that yield high returns.

As a result, our clients become long-term partners, trusting us to find ways that help them steal back more time from their businesses.

And with a 100% adoption rate, our solutions speak for themselves.

How to Steal Back Time From Your Business

Are you ready to stop working countless nights and weekends? Are you tired of not knowing where work ends and where your life begins? Do you want to start seeing more profit (instead of more expenses) with your increasing success?

Then reach out to Quandary Consulting Group.

Let’s start a conversation on how we can start stealing back time from your business, so you can focus on what matters most in life: Living.

Contact

Kevin Shuler

Quandary Consulting Group CEO

T: (720) 739-1406

E: info@quandarycg.com

Index

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