As the fourth industrial revolution accelerates, SMEs and scaleups will be increasingly demanding and expectant of access to resources that facilitate growth. Decision makers in any business looking to expand should be looking towards tech-enabled solutions that enhance customer offerings and boost productivity.
After all, this is an area Britain still falls behind in when compared to its European neighbours. Productivity, measuring output per hour, output per job and output per worker, grew in the UK by 0.9% and 0.7% in the final two quarters of 2017. But recent reports claim it takes five days for British workers to get as much done as French or Germans achieve in just four.
Central to remaining competitive both in UK and European markets, is the willingness to invest in new technology to streamline operations and enable more to be done in less time. This is crucial to keeping business moving.
Digitise to minimise
No matter what the industry, digitisation improves the efficiency and accuracy of tasks and leads to lower operating costs. Technology enables systems to be unified, creating frictionless processes regardless of distance.
You may operate across multiple sites but having digitised invoices and documentation takes away the headache of admin by centralising information.
Not only will you achieve results quicker and discover information such as cash flow more easily, it also helps to safeguard and secure operations while minimising paper waste.
Central to this process is automation. In the early days of fleet management, managers would need to pore over a bucketload of paperwork to ensure vehicles were fit for the road. Now technology has all but eliminated the need for this kind of data entry to be carried out manually.
Although all of our customers benefit from the expertise of dedicated personnel in the form of account managers and customer service teams, our vehicle rental booking software (IRIS) confirms 90% of bookings with no human interaction at all.
We invested in this technology, employing the expertise to build it in-house, to streamline admin for us and our customers. For example, our technology saved a client around £50,000 per year as our platform enabled them to reallocate hours of management resource.
Data is the new currency
Data is key to business efficiency – only if it’s used efficiently and accurately. Data savvy organisations have the potential to disrupt traditional ways of working – take Uber’s business model for example.
Like the world’s largest taxi company, Nexus provides businesses access to the UK’s largest vehicle supply chain without owning any vehicles, keeping costs lean. Central to this economic transformation from ownership to usership is the ability to remain mobile and harness data to streamline processes, reducing waste and expense.
Data reveals inefficiencies in supply chains. In our industry, a business with a large fleet of vehicles may not be using all of them often, or even at all. Rather than investing in depreciating assets for your mobility needs, it may be more effective to look at rental solutions.
Data-driven insight such as this may sound simple, but it can highlight waste and, ultimately, improve the bottom line.
A means to an end?
A growing business needs sales, but a sustainable one needs profit. It’s clear that technology can help maintain a healthy balance sheet and investment in it should not be overlooked, regardless of business size or industry.
Technology has the power to improve and speed up communication and connectivity of staff and customers, centralise data processes making key business information accessible and comprehensible, while also improving workflow through automation.
In the digital era, technology is constantly evolving and rapidly changing how we do business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and different technology must be explored, depending on your business needs.
It might mean a management information and reporting suite for one company or VoIP headsets for another. Regardless of this, technology is not just for the big boys like Apple or Amazon – it should be included as part of your future business strategy.
To improve productivity, efficiency and accelerate growth, flexibility and adaptability is needed, all of which can be aided by embracing innovation.
David Brennan is CEO at Nexus Vehicle Rental