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Seismic shift of attitude amongst businesses wanting to shape up for the new economy

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Some 60 per cent of companies questioned revealed plans to automate more business processes this year, and invest more in technology.

There was also a strong desire to outsource more processes in order to reduce manpower costs, with half of all businesses wanting to bring in outside suppliers to take on functions normally carried out in-house.

The trend has been dubbed as the journey towards becoming a “size zero enterprise”, by Philip Letts, CEO of blur Group.

Read more research from blur Group:

“We are witnessing a seismic shift of attitude amongst businesses wanting to shape up for the new economy by improving efficiency, reducing waste and properly harnessing the power of technology,” he said. “We call it the journey towards size zero and away from old school business practises.” 

The research also showed a strong desire to save time by attending less meetings and travelling less. Just over half of those interviews vowed to spend less time in meetings and 31 per cent wanted to travel less.

Nearly a half (48 per cent) wanted to reduce waste within their business and 24 per cent believed they should cut their CO2 emissions.

A total of 22 per cent of respondents felt their business was over-staffed and wanted to actively reduce headcount.

The survey went on to show that 12 per cent of businesses are considering relocating to save on property costs.

“There are a whole host of measures a firm can take to shape up, but the most important thing is to refocus the business on creating value and stop doing things that aren’t,” said Letts.

To help businesses become “size zero”, blur has devised a ten point plan.

1. Zero inefficiency

In business, success is not about how many people you employ – it’s about how much money you make. Make revenue per employee one of your most critical KPI’s.

2. Zero passangers

Work out who in your company creates value, who supports them and who is just part of the machinery. Aim for zero overhead staffing. In other words, everyone should create value not simply be a passenger.

3. Zero baggage

Redraw your organisation chart, but this time look at the way your suppliers and other non-payroll resources fit in. Outsource everything except your soul, the management guru Tom Peters once exhorted. As well as the savings on statutory payments associated with employment like. Aim for zero additions to payroll over next 12 months.

4. Zero property costs

Seriously consider moving. Look at comparative costs in less popular neighbourhoods. Office costs in London’s West End are the most expensive in the world. Look at properties half the size. Who could work remotely? Who could desk share?

Read more about property costs:

5. Zero unprofitable customers

Don’t be distracted by customers who take up your time and resources but contribute little in revenue. The customer is king but so is cash.

6. Zero technophobia

Make those technology changes you’ve always been meaning to. Move your business into the cloud, get fully mobile and automate some of the functions currently handled by people. Get yourself a more radical technology strategy, accelerate innovation cycles and add a zero to your R&D budget.

7. Zero budgets

Consider zero-based budgeting where budgets are not based on previous years, but start afresh from zero. Start from scratch every year and you will soon find savings.

8. Zero stock

Borrow from Toyota’s just-in-time manufacturing process so that you only buy stock when you need it. Translate stock to people and make sure you’re not carrying passengers. Imagine how this could work for your business. Aim for zero stock.

9. Zero waste

Learning about lean business – the reduction of waste. Put sustainability at the heart of everything you do and hire a chief sustainability officer. And don’t forget that this is not about working harder – just smarter.

10. Zero dead time

Ban all but the most important meetings. They are the biggest drain on productivity and create a culture of delegation. Make sure the meeting you are about to have will earn the company more money than it spends in time lost by all the participants, including travel. 

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