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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Efficiency and the Credit Crunch

You probably think that these two items, efficiency and credit crunch have little in common, but you would be wrong. Any downturn in the economy will put some businesses over the edge into insolvency but a sound business can, with some help, often capitalise on the opportunities available.
Here are a few ways to increase efficiency as well as saving money:

  • Look at your expenditure on energy - you have been meaning to replace those tungsten light bulbs with the more efficient energy saving bulbs - do it now;
  • Look at windows and doors - is there a draught coming through? - buy some draught excluders and you will save on heating;
  • Get people to dress for winter - summer clothes are for summer;
  • Get people to boil only enough water for hot drinks to serve immediate needs;
  • Check the office thermostat - one degree down will save a considerable amount of money without freezing everyone;
  • Look at your energy supplier - can you get a better deal?
  • If you use a company car or your own car to visit customers, plan your route to minimise the distance and combine visits if possible;

There are other ways to increase efficiency:

These include working from home if possible, video conferencing instead of face to face meetings and better planning of schedules.

If cash-flow is a problem and your Bank won't help then ask your suppliers if you can extend your credit terms.

Order only what you need, buffer stocks are costly in terms of space used and cash tied up.
And finally get someone who is not involved in your business to review your systems. A consultant may cost you a few hundred pounds but may identify improvements that will help you through then tough times. Remember a good consultant will be able to advise you on best practice and will be up to date with the latest technology and methods.

ISO9001, the Quality Standard can guide you to accepted best practice

ISO14001, the Environmental Standard can help you reduce pollution and save energy.

There are many more efficiency savings but using just these few can have a significant effect on your business.

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