Time is money: the importance of time efficiency
“Time is money”, the famous words from Benjamin Franklin prove that time efficiency was even in 1748 a trending topic. Today, the pressure is higher than ever to not waste any time, which has in turn influenced customer behavior. Customers today are demanding a better and faster buying experience. How can you handle this growing difficulty as a company?
Where does the growing need for time efficiency come from?
The internet has opened access to information for everyone, including B2B customers. It has given them the opportunity to inform themselves instead of having to wait on documentation from others. Customers have become impatient. Companies cannot let them wait for days or even weeks on a quote or on the delivery of their products. That is why a lot of companies are looking into digitalization. How can they design their business processes so that customers no longer lose time?
It is equally important to make sure that the internal employees can optimize their time. By automating certain processes through digitalization, they can already save a lot of time, giving them the opportunity to focus on helping individual customers instead of keeping the manual processes errorfree. Saving time can therefore be manifested in different ways.
Saving time in practice
Let’s take a look at some examples. (End)Customers want to be served quickly and smoothly: how can you meet these demands as a company? There are three factors that play a role here: the speed of the sales process, the delivery speed, and the quality of the customer service.
1. The speed of the sales process
The speed of the sales process is crucial to meet the changing needs of customers. There are a lot of digital solutions that help companies to accelerate the sales process, such as quoting platform or product configurators. These give employees the confidence and the opportunity to assist customers immediately. Forget calling and e-mailing back and forth for days in a row. Give your sales reps and distributors the possibility to make configurations or quotes themselves. What kind of time do you win doing by speeding up the sales process?
- Your customer’s time: The faster he receives a quote, the faster he’s able to make a decision.
- Your distributor’s time: Distributors can generate quotes whenever they want, even without having to interact with the manufacturer.
- Your internal sales team’s time: By automating the order intake, your internal sales team can focus once again on difficult projects, on finding new customers and on maintaining the relationships of the current distribution network.
- All stakeholders’ time: Sales tools reduce the number of errors by working with clear product rules and by integrating with other existing software systems. All orders coming into production, have been validated. This means no more wasted time on incorrect orders.
2. Delivery speed
Once a customer has placed his order, he wants to receive his products as fast as possible. Customers are used to the one day-deliveries of the B2C industry. This puts pressure on B2B companies to optimize their delivery times. Delivery speed can be improved through digitalization in multiple ways:
- Connect the sales process to the ERP and CRM systems, so sales reps do not have to waste time manually re-entering data.
- Automate the production process as much as possible. By using robots, for example, companies can save a lot of time creating room for growth.
- Save time by planning the orders in an efficient manner, making optimal use of the various workstations.
- Offer the work instructions in a digital and user-friendly manner to further optimize the shopfloor. Save time by making sure everyone finds the information they’re looking for immediately.
- Align production with the logistics department to avoid having to shut down production because of raw materials or half fabricates shortages.
- Improve the picking- and shipping process further using techniques such as pick to light, sort to light, scanners, smart glasses, and more.
3. The quality of the customer service
The quality of the customer service plays a big role in meeting the customer’s changed demands. Even if your sales process is smooth and fast, you will lose customers if your customer service lacks quality. Maintain your relationships by communicating fast and openly, by keeping close contact and by working proactively in case of delays in delivery. How can companies easily assist customers?
- Communicate the status of a customer’s order: Is their order still in production or has it already been shipped? Most sales tools will automatically keep customers posted on the latest updates.
- Be available: Make it clear for your customers how they can get in touch with you and go for a digital-first strategy.
- The customer service for spare parts is often very cumbersome. By digitalising this process, spare parts can be identified much faster in 3D models. This avoids a lot of time loss trying to find the correct spare part or sending the wrong part on accident.
Saving time is more important than ever. Luckily there are a lot of digital tools available that speed up the sales-, delivery- and service processes, saving time for the manufacturer, the distributor, and the end customer. And that’s important because time is money.
Interested to know how Hive can save your company time? Get in touch!
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