These days it would be difficult, if not impossible, for your LA distribution business to operate without the assistance of technology. Your orders are no doubt placed online, while your invoices and inventories are stored within your computer system’s servers and orders tracked via GPS-enabled technology.
To a distributor such as yourself, technology is an integral part of everyday life, so how do you ensure you’re leveraging it to its fullest and it’s working for you rather than against you?
From warehouse floor shipping computers and office-based servers, to cloud technology and everything in between, now is the time to make those necessary improvements to technology. But where to start?
Here are 5 ways you can make an immediate dent in how you’re using technology to your advantage in your business:
1. Perform a technology audit
There’s a good chance you perform regular audits in your line of work, ensuring that the tasks you complete each working day are compliant with a host of legalities. Technology audits are no different; they are designed to inspect the systems you already have in place, analyze their efficiency and detect the weaknesses that are holding you back from your full potential. After all, how can you improve your technology without first understanding how it both supports as well as hinders you
2. Shopping around for the latest technological developments
Whether you have an in-house IT Manager or outsource your technology guidance, now is the time to let them loose. There are so many great new ways to leverage technology out there that it will take an incredibly technologically minded individual to set the wheat aside from the chaff.
Were there built-in upgrades included with the last programs you installed? Do you know when the latest version of your software will be on general release? Do you know what new add-ons or integrations that are out there that if implemented could reduce a worthwhile amount of manual labor being performed? If you don’t have an IT expert within the distribution center, do a little digging; it’s worth being ahead of the technology curve.
3. Future-proofing your distribution business
Making improvements to your technology isn’t just about ensuring things are better for the here and now, but about looking ahead to the future. How will your software and hardware support you through the next five years of business? How can you leverage the cloud as an add-on to what you’re currently doing? IT expertise is a needed asset to companies in times like these, as they’re able to predict the types of products and services that can best help to support your business processes in the years to come. Can you afford not to keep up?
4. Conduct a system backup, and purge old data
Before you set about improving your current technology, it’s vital that you protect important files, secure documents and maintain your current means of operation. Make sure you’re backing up all your information – both locally as well as offsite - and perform security checks to ensure that any sensitive information is safe from a disaster. Having an effective backup strategy is an integral part of your company’s disaster recovery plan.
Next, take a look at the files you no longer need; is there anything you can afford to get rid of or at least move to an external storage source? People often make the mistake of holding onto everything, but this will only slow your technology down. You must be ruthless in order to remain efficient.
5. Break those bad habits
Technology only works as well as those who are in control, so make sure you’re not abusing its functions. Do you spend a lot of the day checking emails unnecessarily, use your phone to make personal calls, or dwell on social media? Now is the time to curb such bad habits and ensure that your company’s technology is only used for the good of the business.
There are, of course, numerous other daily tasks you could complete in order to improve your technology; listed here are just some of the most conclusive ways to improve its efficiency and productivity. Technology is a wonderful tool to have when it’s working in your favor, but it’s up to you to maintain such standards. Improve the service you offer to customers, attract the attention of suppliers and partners, and, most importantly, be the very best that you can at what you do. Technology is merely there to assist the genius.
What are your thoughts about these points? Do you have a favorite point you feel is more important than what we’ve raised here? Please share your thoughts in the Comment field below.
If you own or manage a distribution or manufacturing company in Los Angeles, and you’re looking to stay up to date on the latest technology, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.