Waste comes in many forms and is epidemic in business today. Reducing waste helps MSPs to both increase margins and grow their businesses at the same time. So how do you effectively reduce waste in your organization? How do you create a sustainable infrastructure that allows you to get ahead of the game and stay there?
This article is designed to help you get started on the path to reducing waste. Focus on these 5 ways as a starting point and you’ll be well on your way to reducing costs and minimizing time waste in your MSP.
Make Information Accessible
The first key to efficiency for any successful business is to ensure access to information. You need to be able to provide:
- Employees with secure and consistent access to information
- Clients with secure and consistent access to information
Studies have shown employees spend roughly 20% of their day searching for information.
It is essential that your staff can access information both about your organisation and also about the customers that you support. You need to consider how you as a business will allow information to be stored and shared amongst your team.
- Store client information within your PSA or RMM
- Microsoft Word or SharePoint can be used for your standard operating procedures.
- Tools like Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to share and version your documentation.
- Passwords can be stored in third party tools.
There is increasing demand from clients to demonstrate transparency of information. This is because it demonstrates;
- How you operate as an organisation. It shows you are dedicated and committed in your role as gatekeeper of business critical information.
- The benefits of using your service: it provides the customer with something tangible which is critical when providing a service that is hard to quantify.
Standardise Your Processes
No matter what sized MSP you are, you will find that creating business processes that are efficient is becoming increasingly important for success.
There is an ever increasing drive to automated processes where possible. The key to efficiency is to standardise procedures across departments and clients. For example, standardise the way you monitor your clients’ networks and manage their devices with your RMM tool. This can be done by creating a Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for your team to help them follow the same procedure every time they set up a new client.
Process needs to become part of your core requirements of your staff. Make it a rule for your employees to follow and document your processes. The last thing you want to see or communicate with your clients is that you don’t follow a process and chaos runs the business.
Reduce On-boarding Time
Onboarding staff can be a large source of cost waste for any organisation. Think about the amount of time it took you to get your last hire productive and making your money?
The key here is to document, both your internal procedures and your client environments. New staff no longer have to be mind readers!
If you want new staff to do things in the most efficient way, every time, and the way you prefer, write it down exactly how you want it done.
Then make that information easily accessible to anyone on the team. The key is that the process is written in a way that any employee can follow it. Determine how long is the optimal time to complete a task, then measure how close your team are coming to meeting this. That way you can begin to look at ways to eliminate time wastage.
Through documentation more routine tasks can be passed on to less expensive or skilled staff members for completion. It also means that new hires are able to become productive and billable at a faster pace, as they have the information to do the job.
Adopt Continuous Improvement
Finally, and most importantly your organisation must commit to a process of continuous improvement. This well known business philosophy was made famous by the Japanese who call this kaizen. Rooted in the fundamentals of lean manufacturing it aims to ensure qualitative improvement of business processes throughout all departments and layers, involving all team members equally. The best practice, according to this Japanese business strategy, is to repeat the cycle once you have standardised and defined your broken procedures, then acknowledge, document and visualise them to find a suitable solution and test it.
The key is to continually work to update and refresh the information you are documenting about your client and internal environments. Ideally if you are using the right tools in your business, it will alert you for example if there is a need to follow up changes such as expiring domains, SSL certificates, and warranties.
The goal then, is to make it part of your daily routine to ensure the quality of the information you are storing is continually improving.
Source: IT Glue