Waste Busters! Tech tools to kill inefficiency

JBDC Business Dialogue
Regardless of the size of the business, waste can ravage the bottom line.   And waste can take many forms, weather it is the unnecessary late fees because the bearer paid the utilities bills late, or the ballooning stationary costs because of repeated print jams or the astronomical power bill because older equipment is burning electricity, poor waste management can break a business.

Fortunately, technology offers many specific tools to address the most common inefficiencies in the work place.

[Problem: Inefficiency | Solution: Technology | Area: Communications | Tool: VoIP]

Business operates on the back of clear and timely communication.  The team in the office or factory has to talk to the suppliers; the sales agents in the field have to be in touch with clients.  All the back and forth can prove costly.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a robust yet cost effective option whether your business is a small shop or a regional operation.  The cloud based communication system is often offered on contract to remove capital costs.  Handsets can be rented or returned as needed thereby reducing waste.  Additionally, handsets can be upgraded to the latest models without purchase.

Once installed, the value of basic features like hold, transfer, forwarding, caller ID, conference calling and voicemail, pale in comparison to powerful features like: being able to use the same number and/or extension anywhere in the world once there is a reliable internet connection.  Dynamic features like integrated voice and video teleconferencing, flat rate international dialling, free on network calling and advanced voicemail further boost productivity.

[Problem: Inefficiency | Solution: Technology | Area: Printing | Tool: Pay Per Print]

Printers have the capacity to hog resources like few machines can; paper jams, power drain and excessive ink all contribute to increased expenses.  Not to mention the amount of lost time when a team member has to address printing problems.

All these problems can be virtually eliminated by Pay Per Print programmes.  Like VoIP, the capital cost to purchase a printer is removed in favour or rental.  Maintenance costs are reallocated from the business to the renter and with regular maintenance, paper jams, misprinted paper and lost ink become distant memory.

To further boost efficiency, the savvy business leader ditches the concept of one printer per desk in favour of networked printers accessible by everyone on the network and team members on the internet as well.   With internet and intranet networking, colleagues on the road like sales and service men, can send documents to print while away from the office.

[Problem: Inefficiency | Solution: Technology | Area: Energy Management | Tool: Digital Energy Timers]

Plugging out printers at nights and on weekends can reduce expenses even further.

If the thought of remembering to unplug printers and other office appliances and plugging them in again on a daily basis makes you shudder, instead install a Digital Energy Timer (DET).  The DET is easy to install, relatively simply to programme and highly effective in reducing energy costs with very little added intervention.  Even when off, a device may consumer electricity; cutting the power all together cuts energy costs.

Lights, kitchen appliances, office equipment and even factory equipment can all be controlled by a DET.

Set the timer to cut the power to devices multiple times a day, or week.  Set the time to randomise the power cycle based on a template, which is especially useful for lights.  It gives the impression of human intervention for persons watching from outside.

It is no secret that reduced costs can lead to increased profits.  Shrewd business leaders will employ technology to bust waste.

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