For many small and midsized busineses (SMBs), freeing up resources from time-consuming tasks can provide a big boost to their productivity and bottomline.
According to Singapore-based real estate agency, ECG Property, figuring out how to improve the way it handles paperwork has helped the SMB cut down manpower requirements by at least 50 percent. Its managing director, Shawn Tan, offered five tips to increase productivity:
1. Digitized workflow
ECG designed a terminal, which it has dubbed the Consultant Tracking Machine, to handle the processing of documents from property agents.
"Previously, they would have to physically come down to the office to hand these forms over to the counter, which would also take up the time of the admin person," said Tan.
2. Mobile access to data
Giving employees mobile access to data is another area from which ECG has benefited. Its agents are able to retrieve both the latest information as well as archived data through a company portal, and it has plans to add a cloud storage service for employees.
3. Social networks for internal communications
Internal communications is another area where the company has leveraged IT. The real estate agency makes use of social networking tools such as Facebook to post industry and company news, and also as a medium to encourage conversations.
4. Automated processes
ECG has installed a backend IT system which has automated some work processes. For example, its system automatically sends out invoice reminders to clients, and alerts for credit controls.
By partnering electronic payments kiosk provider AXS, ECG's clients and agents can settle any accounts from its network of machines across the country. This has allowed the SMB to cut down on the resources needed to manually process physical cash payments and cheques, freeing up staff from administrative duties.