First, let’s start with a refresher on what exactly is operational efficiency and why it is more important now than ever. It’s a strategic mindset that businesses can adopt to reduce waste, increase productivity, and improve the quality of their products and services. With business and markets in a constant state of change and technology rapidly evolving, companies are having to continually find ways to adapt, improve margins, reduce costs, and improve quality. Evolution is a necessity in business.
By instituting a culture of operational efficiency, companies can gain much needed efficiencies by continually reviewing and improving processes, tools, equipment, and resources which enable them to respond effectively to any challenge or opportunity. Let’s take a peek at some of the key drivers of operational efficiency and the ways they can be improved, while eliminating redundant processes and waste.
Key Drivers of Operational Efficiency
Even now as the remnants of disruption from the pandemic fade, the repercussions of its effect on industries are still being felt. The aftershocks of supply chain breakdowns, labor shortages and higher labor costs from the “Great Resignation” are causing companies to take a moment to rethink their internal and external processes and implement new technologies that can improve their efficiency and competitiveness. Today, one of the biggest drivers of operational efficiency is the need to combat skyrocketing labor costs. What’s driving labor costs so high, you ask?
- Inflation is a key factor in increased labor costs
- Reduction of workers equals a labor shortage, which drives up labor costs
- High employee turnover is resulting in increased training/on-boarding costs
- Employees are demanding higher standards for employee safety, health, and wellness
Four Ways to Improve Operational Efficiency
Instilling operational efficiency as a core component of your company culture is a crucial step in its adoption and implementation. But improving operational efficiency is about more than cutting costs and optimizing workflows. Old hat, or new beginner, there are a number of different strategies that you can employ to accomplish the goals of operational efficiency. Here are four key areas where you can focus your efforts with immediate impact:
- Leverage automation & technology: Leveraging technology and automation is one of the simpler ways to improve operational efficiency. Automation can be beneficial for high-risk and labor-intensive processes, providing a safer environment, eliminating human errors, and ultimately increasing productivity. Technology can also prevent issues and bottlenecks before they happen, resulting in an increase in production efficiency, as well as higher quality products.
- Proper facility maintenance: Maintaining a well-organized, clean work environment is another easy step to achieving operational efficiency. Eliminating clutter in the workplace leads to a safer work environment and a resulting decrease in lost time due to injury. Believe it or not, a clean, organized workspace goes a long way to increasing employee morale, and as a result, productivity.
- Improve order fulfillment: In today’s world of two-day turnarounds, customers are expecting short shipping times. Add global supply chain breakdowns and labor supply shortages and you’ve got a department with overhaul potential. The key to fulfillment efficiency is to create a warehouse layout that enhances efficiency and speed. This includes utilizing your space, using the right tools and equipment to fulfill orders, and organizing your storage area with maximum efficiency.
- Increase employee morale: The old adage, “a happy employee is a productive employee” is a saying for a reason. Employee morale is key to their overall productivity of a company. As expected, low morale business can mean unsatisfied workers, higher turnover, and poor production. Finding the right tools, equipment, safety precautions and even breakroom furniture and amenities can help put employees at ease and increase productivity and product quality. Building a relationship of trust and support with employees is critical to achieving the overall cultural shift needed to improve operational efficiency, financial margins, and turnover rates.
Enablers of Operational Efficiency
The future of operational efficiency requires the right balance of autonomy, automation, organization, optimization, preservation, and prevention strategies. These enablers, along with cultural adoption and adaptation, all play a major role in perfecting your operations—one that should move your enterprise in the right direction and with the right perspective on ROIs and future growth.
The value proposition of “doing more with less” can be a daunting task to undertake, especially under the current market conditions. The energy and effort required to constantly iterate and improve operational efficiency doesn't have to be an all-consuming task, nor one you have to shoulder on your own. From material handling to packaging and shipping to storage and shelving to furniture and decor and safety and security, Global Industrial is a trusted partner with the tools, equipment and value-add solutions you need to get the job done right and on time.
Learn more about how we can help your business achieve operational efficiency by connecting with one of our Global Industrial sales representatives at 888.978.7759 or contacting us here.
The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional. Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.
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