Does your small business have an agenda for aggressive growth? If so, it’s important to find creative and cost-effective ways of increasing productivity. Here are six simple steps to improving the efficiency of your daily business logistics. It will allow you to focus on what’s most important – expanding your core business mandate.
# 1. Outsourced transportation
The best way to increase your business’ logistical efficiency is to outsource your transportation needs. Trucking companies use the latest in KPI and GPS technology to track your deliveries and provide real-time visibility to their clients.
It’s especially beneficial for a small to medium business because it removes the cost of warehousing and shipping your product in-house. They even brand their trailers and drivers in your company’s colors and logos to properly represent you on the road. Here are a few nationally recognized trucking companies to get the job done:
# 2. Cloud computing
Cloud computing allows you to back up your data, store it on a remote network then also instantly sync it across multiple devices. The ability to share files via clouds helps you save on infrastructure costs like paper and hanging folders.
Cloud software is especially beneficial for small businesses because you can’t afford to hire an IT professional to oversee any network or server issues. Here are the top cloud storage services that work across multiple platforms:
- Dropbox: Most popular service at the moment. Free for 2GB/month – $9.99 for 10GB/month
- Google Drive: Can log in from any Android app or Gmail account in a browser. Free for 5GB/month – $4.99 for 100 GB/month
- Amazon Cloud Drive: Compatible with your Kindle Fire, iPhone or Android tablet or smartphone. Free for 5GB/month – $500 for 1000GB/year
- iCloud: Syncs seamlessly for those who swear by Apple products. Free for 5GB – $4.95 to $49.50/year 150GB
- Microsoft Skydrive: Boasts the largest free storage space at 7GB. Up to $50 for 107GB/year
# 3. Internet calling
Internet calling and video-conferencing is all the rage for small to medium businesses with clients in other parts of the world. The corporate world is finally catching on to the fact that online telecom companies offer drastically cheaper rates than traditional service providers.
Internet telecommunications can trim excess off your phone bills and help to expand your company faster. Here are the top Internet service providers at the moment:
- Vonage: The service routes your landline phone calls over your existing Internet connection. Business plans starting at $55/month
- Skype: Free Skype to Skype video and phone calls, instant messaging and corporate solutions. Rates are customized but they have unlimited long distance starting at $3 USD/month
- Google Voice: Phone and video calling for anyone attached to a Gmail account. Free calling within the US and Canada, cheap rates everywhere else
# 4. Electronic note-takers
Note taking during meetings is one of the most painstaking yet necessary facets of the workplace. In recent years, a slew of electronic note taking assistants have flooded the B2B market.
Even devices that were initially meant for personal use – like smartphones and tablets – are becoming professional tools for the workplace, thanks to multi-purpose writing assistants. Here are a few hot commodities:
- Samsung Galaxy Note S Pen: A pen accessory for the Note tablet and allows you to write using the “S Memo” application. Price differs according to carrier
- LiveScribe Smart Pen: Device that ecords what you hear, say and write, while linking up to 800 hours of audio recordings to your notes. $149 for a 2GB pen
- SoundNote: A note-taking application for the iPad that tracks what you write and type while recording audio so you don’t miss anything. $4.99 to download
- Microsoft OneNote: Full-service software compatible with other programs in Microsoft Office. $10/month or $99/year
# 5. Time and attendance software
Do you find that your employees (or even you!) spend too much time on certain projects, and not enough on others? Time and attendance software is the most effective way of tracking your staff’s daily projects, personal time, vacation days, over time, sick leave and so on.
It will create added motivation for your employees to stick to a schedule and complete projects faster. There are several easy to use time-tracking applications that are both web-based and built for specific platforms, including:
- SlimTimer: A browser bookmarklet that functions as a sophisticated stopwatch. Free but registration required
- Dovico: Time sheet program that comes with several elaborate apps. Basic 1 employee service $0/month, PRO company service $10/month
- Time Well Scheduled: Tracks associated payroll, scheduling and employee attendance. $48/month
- uAttend: Time and attendance software that also comes with the clock hardware, for organizations of every size. Clocks starting at $149
# 6. Project management software
The holy grail of all efficiency systems is project management software. In recent years, these systems have begun to incorporate features from previously mentioned tools, like time management and cloud computing.
Project management software creates a sharing environment where every project team member feels like they can collaborate, mediate and keep the project organized. Here are some of the leading project management software programs on the market right now:
- Basecamp: $20-$150/month
- Genius Project: Custom price
- One Desk: $30/month for Pro version
- Plan Box: $20-$80/month
- Microsoft Project: $999.95 for a single license
Did you like this article?
- Please share it with your network, we’d really appreciate it!
- Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Or sign up for our RSS?
- An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.