Thriving in a recession

When the economy hits a downturn and particularly when recession looms, companies have a tendency to retreat back into their shell and try to weather it out. However, according to many experts, this is exactly the time when companies should be taking steps to look at systems and processes which will enable them not only survive the difficult times but to emerge stronger at the end of them.

This type of approach can be beneficial in many different areas. However, one of the fundamental ones relates to the management and effective use of the information that flows in and out of the company. Here, there is an enormous amount of benefit to be had by scanning and storing digitally the key information which normally flows in paper form, thereby allowing it, and its benefits, to be shared throughout the organisation.

Here, we look at some of the benefits that this can bring to organisations of all sizes.

Secure your current customer base: retaining your customer base is a priority for all organisations and offering excellent customer service goes a long way to achieving this goal. In turn, a key element of good customer service is ensuring that your staff have the necessary information at their fingertips - so providing access to this and other relevant documentation in electronic format is a fundamental requirement which will help ensure that you gain the edge over your competitors as well as retaining your customer base.

Be flexible: you need to be able to adapt to changes in business levels, whether they are increases or downturns. Unfortunately a large fixed cost base makes this difficult if not impossible. However, by using a managed services partner, significant cost savings on many ‘back office’ processes can be made particularly when linked to a document management system where instant online access is available. In addition, you will be able to react to these changes much more quickly and smoothly because the solutions are totally scalable at short notice.

Help your staff help your business: holding your key information and documents electronically, you ensure that all of the information your staff require is readily available to them, allowing them to carry out their jobs more effectively. Equally, in the unfortunate situation where there is a need to reduce personnel, you also ensure that the customer service levels you provide can still be maintained through these more effective systems.

Streamline your internal systems: this is a key action that companies have on their corporate "to do list" at the best of times. So, with revenues coming under pressure, the more streamlined your processes, the lower your costs are likely to be and therefore the better your cash flow position. With document management in place, the access to documentation, information and records in general will be quicker and easier allowing you to clear any blocks in your information channels.

Use what you have as widely as possible: making sure that documents are scanned and entered into your systems, means that the information will never be difficult to find or held by one or two individuals. Instead, there is visibility and access for those who require it making sure that there are no information blocks to cause delays or increase costs.

Reduce your incremental costs of growth: by using the electronic options available to you by digitising your documents, you can give yourself the best opportunities to grow without incurring higher costs. Avoiding the often forgotten frictional costs associated with growth is equally important.