There’s no time to rest on your laurels in the professional world today, whether you’re a top corporation or a small business. When trying to keep pace in the global economy, your software can be a game changer. Those with the most advanced programs will stay at the fore, while those with out-of-date software will find themselves behind the eight ball. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to competition, since major corporations are more likely to have cutting edge technology on their side.
How Software Can Up Speed in Business
Supply Side First
To understand how software can help your small business keep up in the global marketplace, it’s important to start at the beginning with your company’s supply chain.
Your supply chain needs to account for availability and demand at multiple levels, including basic materials for manufacturing, product lifecycles and sales trends. Those that embrace predictive analytics as part of their process, then, will have a significant advantage sourcing materials, adding additional supplier sources or changing shipping schedules to meet demand.
If you aren’t using predictive analytics at every level of your business to assess individual client activity, market trends and supply side issues, you put your company at a disadvantage. Strong predictions make for quicker scaling, better pricing and fulfillment your customers can rely on.
Products In Motion
While your business’s supply chain may be long, demanding substantial preparation for changes, shipping and distribution can also pose timing challenges for small businesses. Luckily, embracing the right software can help reduce associated delays.
First, in order to understand how software can improve distribution processes, it’s important to understand that distribution is more than just moving products. Rather, it includes aspects of inventory management and the ability to make quick changes in business strategy based on sales patterns, client needs and more.
Despite its complexity, distribution doesn’t have to be burdensome. Using ERP software to track distribution, manage vendors and monitor incoming data provides added carryover information on individual purchases, billing and ordering.
To its advantage, distribution processes do leave a lot of room for personalization, and for some of the smallest companies, that means adopting drop shipping in place of traditional manufacturing and ordering. Drop shipping is perfect for small businesses with even smaller budgets and no warehousing facilities.
Drop shipping is ideal when viewed through the lens of speed because it provides business mobility. If you have internet access, you can fill orders and track customer shipments because the software goes with you wherever you are, typically via an online exclusive platform.
Both ERPs and drop shipping systems allow businesses to cut out inventory tracking software, though each for different reasons. Since inventory tracking software is used in warehouses, the absence of a warehouse in drop shipping cuts out the middleman, while ERP software includes inventory tracking as part of a larger program. The fewer moving parts your business is working with, the more efficient operations will be.
Go Mobile, Paperless
Finally, there are a number of different factors that can slow down small business operations, but some of the most common include cumbersome papers and delayed billing and payment. Luckily, some simple software can cut these pain points out of the equation.
Though paperwork itself will never disappear from the business world — contracts, orders, receipts and other forms will never go away — there are ways to minimize the work associated with all those papers. Digitizing them, or focusing on paperwork that is “born digital,” is one way. And with the advent of eSignature tools, it’s easier for companies and their clients to formally approve documents digitally.
Cutting the paperwork out of billing, while also adding a mobile element, can speed up that process as well. Using payment as a service (PaaS) software, companies can bill clients and receive payment from anywhere, just like drop shipping allows for mobile fulfillment. In fact, the two taken together can keep a business moving as fast as your average jet — say, with a professional carried on it. Your business goes where you go. And that’s what the modern business world demands.
Speed may not be everything in business, but when you consider business leaders like Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping — or even same day shipping, in some areas, on-demand television from Hulu, Netflix and HBO, delivery dining via app and same day pick-up in stores when you order online, it is certainly a determining factor.
Unfortunately, most of the time, high-speed delivery is left to the big names. With smarter software, small businesses can play that game too.
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