Got Stress?

Feature Article | October 29, 2003 by admin

It goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway. If you own a small or midsize business, you have stress.You don’t have time to figure out where you were, are, or should be. You’re too busy moving ahead, trying to wring every ounce of effort from your employees. Your customer service reps are swamped; your sales reps are on the road so much they’ve forgotten what the home office looks like, and your administrative and management employees are stretched so thin you could read a financial report through them – if you could generate one. Bills are going out late, if at all. Customer orders are going unfilled, or filled with mistakes. And you haven’t a clue how much money you’re making or spending. Sounds like you could use a guru – and a night out with other business executives who share your pain.

If productivity is your goal, then David Allen is your guide

On October 14, over thirty business executives attended an SAP Business One Executive Seminar at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, CA, and heard from David Allen, an internationally known and recognized productivity guru, author of two books, and the owner of a small business (www.davidco.com). His first book, Getting Things Done, discusses the principles and best practices of productivity. The second book, Ready for Anything, applies those principles of productivity to personal and corporate life.
In today’s business environment, you want to maximize the output of your assets, whether those assets are employees, technology, or products. You want all of your assets to be as productive and as cost-efficient as they can be. Allen labels what he coaches as “advanced common sense.” But as so many SMB owners realize, putting common sense – advanced or otherwise – into practice and achieving productivity takes advanced solutions.

What kills productivity?

Allen states that change drops productivity and brings about stress. There’s nothing as constant – or as swift – as change. One minute you’re sitting in your ergonomically correct office chair in front of your flat panel monitor – the next, you’re sharing job-hunting tips with all the other SMB owners who couldn’t avoid productivity killers.
Defining productivity as the amount of output per unit of input (employee, software solution, telephone, etc.), Gadi Shamia, Vice President of SAP Business One, states that non-integrated front-end and back-end systems are big killers of productivity. Employees can’t access all the information they need to do their jobs because data resides in several systems. No one can get a consolidated overview of the entire business – its sales, service, purchasing, customers, financials, or payroll.
Productivity can be killed by employees who spend their work day churning – whether it’s a fork lift driver who’s aimlessly wandering up and down the aisles looking for products that haven’t made it from the production line or unloading dock to the warehouse, or an accounts payable clerk who is tracking down invoices or getting discount approvals, or a sales manager who tries to run reports.

What enhances productivity?

Although you can’t stop change, you can do something about the factors that cause change. Using his “advanced common sense” approach, Allen told the audience to prepare for change by following these best practices:

  • Clear up and clean up your space (emails, desk, office)
  • Focus on what you need to accomplish by looking at both an overview and the critical details
  • Structure your commitments, look for better ways to deal with crises, and make a plan
  • Put your plan into action

And SAP Business One is your software

How well does SAP Business One meet Allen’s prescription for productivity? Judge for yourself.

And SAP Business One is your software

Clear up and clean up

Eliminate the clutter of non-integrated, disparate systems. Using open standards, SAP Business One integrates easily with other systems. Its Drag&Relate feature allows users to drag information from disparate data stores and link them on a single desktop. This shortens the learning curve, since users don’t have to study new tools to handle analysis and marketing tasks.
Because SAP Business One is easy to use – featuring intuitive navigation and a familiar Microsoft Windows environment – there’s no downtime or productivity loss. It’s also easy to deploy and maintain, with fast implementation, high performance and scalability, and the ability to evolve into more sophisticated solutions.
Most important, SAP Business One is powerful. Its sophisticated analysis tools give management full control of company information and activities.
Easy to use, open standards, integration, intuitive, powerful. Change is beginning to sound good – and you can already feel the stress receding.

Focus on overview and details

Allen stated that you need both an overview and a focus on critical details, and SAP Business One excels at delivering just what Allen ordered. As a sales manager, you get an overview of the sales for the previous day. But that’s just the beginning. You want to go beyond the static report and see how each product is doing – or each region and sales rep. From the overview, you drill down to the details, slicing the data by product and region. If you aren’t shipping snow shovels to Syracuse, you have problems.
The ability to focus all activities on the company’s mission is also critical. Do you still hear employees saying, “Well, if they want to pay me the big bucks, that’s their business.” A statement like this usually means that your employees are doing low-return, low-value tasks that should have been automated years ago. Less time spent on busy work means that your employees can focus on the work they were hired to do, whether that’s selling your products, servicing customers, or managing inventory.

Structure, plan, and handle crises

Access to information is certainly one way to improve productivity. But let’s look at others: workflow and alerts.
Workflow enables employees to internalize business rules and best practices. It helps them collect data, process and review information, and decide on a course of action. Once an activity has been decided, then other functions come into play, like tracking results, issuing reminders, and responding to alerts.
With SAP Business One, employees don’t have to keep manual reminders and to-do lists. The system takes over. It scans databases on a regular basis, using predefined rules and limits. It evaluates accounts, reports on events, notifies agents, and sends out service reminders.

Look for a better way

When questioned about his own organization and productivity tools, Allen replied he needs lists – lots of them – and fast access to them. He prefers using “stripped down” tools that are easy to use and give him the information he needs.
Many people think that they have to trade off rich functionality for ease of use, that you can’t have both in one package. The demo of SAP Business One killed off that myth. You can have business management software that’s easy to use, yet is robust enough to manage all the “stuff” in your business. You can become more productive and have access to the information you need.
SAP Business One is simple, powerful, and surprisingly affordable software for growing businesses. It’s your complete management control center with full financials, sales and contract management, purchasing, HR, and production. And SAP Business One is so easy to use that even a CEO will be generating reports in just minutes. Now that’s productivity.
With SAP Business One, you can:

Look for a better way

When questioned about his own organization and productivity tools, Allen replied he needs lists – lots of them – and fast access to them. He prefers using “stripped down” tools that are easy to use and give him the information he needs.
Many people think that they have to trade off rich functionality for ease of use, that you can’t have both in one package. The demo of SAP Business One killed off that myth. You can have business management software that’s easy to use, yet is robust enough to manage all the “stuff” in your business. You can become more productive and have access to the information you need.
SAP Business One is simple, powerful, and surprisingly affordable software for growing businesses. It’s your complete management control center with full financials, sales and contract management, purchasing, HR, and production. And SAP Business One is so easy to use that even a CEO will be generating reports in just minutes. Now that’s productivity.

  • Maximize employee output
  • Leverage team work and collaboration (within the company, and with customers and suppliers)
  • Know what’s critical and how to get those things done
  • Ensure company growth and a better bottom line

Put your plan into action

You may not have had the opportunity to hear David Allen, but you can follow Allen’s advice: make a plan and take action.
Go to our Web site: www.sap.com/smb. Find out how SAP Business One can relieve stress and help your company increase its productivity. Attend an SAP Business One event or participate in a Webinar. Call one of our certified partners in your area to see the product for yourself.
Relief is on the way.

Brenda Mackay

Brenda Mackay

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