Featured in Drain Trader Magazine, issue 260. December 2019

Why Minimise Your Costs?

One of the most common reasons for business failures is cash flow problems. Cash flow problems are most often caused by a failure to control costs.

There are many factors that affect controlling costs in business. For example, quiet patches, unnecessary expenditures, poor waste management and cost inefficiencies. Sometimes identifying these inefficiencies can be obvious. But this is not always the case, and it will often need a more thorough investigation.

When making cost minimising decisions it's important to:

  • Prioritise continued sustainability and improving prospects for growth
  • Be prepared to make necessary sacrifices
  • Keep in mind how these decisions will impact staff and customer perceptions
  • Prepare yourself for old routines to change as you make way for new ones

Here are 5 key areas drainage companies need to address when minimising costs:

1. Suppliers

It's common for companies to be reluctant to change their suppliers because they've built up a sense of obligation and loyalty. Long-lasting relationships are worth protecting, but it may be an unnecessary expense for your business.

Re-evaluate your suppliers and assess whether you could be getting better value for your money elsewhere.

If you communicate to them your intentions to cut costs, they may offer you a better deal to keep your custom. If not, research alternatives without burning any bridges.

This includes also the external companies you outsource workers from. Are they reputable? Are they all properly certified? If not, they could be losing you valuable clients.

2. Seasonal Changes

The drainage industry is affected by external factors such as location, weather conditions and holidays. Keeping track of the number and type of service requests will enable you to make forecasts as you approach different times of the year.

Cold weather and demand on facilities can cause pipes to burst and periods of heavy rain can cause basement flooding. Keeping track of the busy periods can allow you to plan in advance. Likewise for quieter seasons; you can scale back your costs where possible.

3. Business Strategy

Make it part of your business strategy to create a cost cutting plan. Every month audit your expenses and assess what has been a worthwhile spend or not.

Many things impact upon costings including fluctuations in supply and demand, the state of the economy and new technologies. Implementing a consistent review of financials will allow month-over-month comparisons, and year-over-year comparisons. You'll be able to spot seasonal trends, predict future profits or losses over various timeframes, and set new goals.

You will then be in a better position to plan for big expenses in advance and balance out risks. Put in place cost reviews into your business strategy and you will be well on your way to managing and minimising your expenditure.

4. Communication

Maintaining good communication amongst company employees and external stakeholders may not sound like an obvious way to help minimise costs, but according to a Gallup survey, businesses in the top quartile of employee engagement averaged 12% higher profitably.

Good communication in companies contributes towards a high job satisfaction. Maintaining good communication and a culture of transparency will help build trust and confidence in the company. When employees feel listened to, they feel valued and more inclined to perform their tasks well.

When there are workers performing various jobs at multiple locations at any one time it can be difficult to keep track of what is going on. Network technologies like Okappy’s workforce management software improve communication for companies on-the-go. Their location-tracking, real-time messaging and job-adding features ensure that the job gets done as cost-effectively as possible.

5. Software and Technology

Are you utilising time-saving and money-saving softwares to manage jobs? With so many digital systems available, there is no need to be using paper job sheets and invoices.

Manual inventory counts and reporting are not only inefficient, but they also increase the risk of human error. A single error can have a large impact on a companies’ profitability. Traditional management systems take up lots of time and information often getting lost in the process.

Workforce management software like Okappy enables companies to log everything on a database. Instead of hunting for hours in various places for one job sheet, the data for past, present and future jobs is available to access at any point.

Investing in online bookkeeping and accounting software like Xero will allow you to analyse expenditure in no time at all. This will help you identify areas where you need to make cuts to allow your business to be more profitable.

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