Flashy advertisements get a lot of attention, but back-office tasks like inventory management, supply chain management, and accounting are just as important as forward-facing marketing campaigns. These back-office functions must be well executed for a business to be successful. In fact, improving operational efficiency drives higher profits more effectively than many ad campaigns.
4 Easy Steps to Improve Back Office Operations
If you need to improve back-office efficiency, here are a few simple steps.
- Automate every process you can. Automation is essential to improving operational efficiency. According to Harvard Business Review, businesses that convert traditional back offices into automated systems can “generate an improvement of more than 50% in productivity and customer service.” Use computers to collect and integrate information, because computers aggregate and analyze data faster than humans and computers do not make data entry mistakes.
- Connect your entire commodity supply chain on one platform, aggregating all your data in one system to gain real-time visibility into inventory, position, logistics, etc. Without complete visibility, you make decisions with partial information. This creates disconnects that drive inefficiency. Imagine planning shipments without knowing inventory levels or creating invoices without knowing the status of shipments – you could end up with the wrong products in the wrong locations.
- Use real-time data to make decisions when possible. Waiting for end-of-day reports makes sense for scheduled meetings, but when you need to make a decision about running your business, you make better decisions with accurate, current information. Don’t rely on yesterday’s information about inventory to schedule shipments when you can query your system right now and know exactly where your inventory is. Using current information ensures you make decisions based on the current state of your business, a critical point in fast-moving markets.
- Use business intelligence (BI)to evaluate high volumes of information quickly, so you can make informed choices in real time. You cannot manually analyze large streams of real-time data, so you must use sophisticated BI tools to create real-time reports. This ensures better inventory management, production scheduling, shipping choices, and more.
Commodity trading companies can significantly increase profits by improving back-office efficiency. By adopting modern CTRM software, you can work faster, minimize errors, and improve collaboration between departments.