For those enlightened organisations who get the whole ‘marginal gains’ thing they will undoubtedly be constantly on the lookout for even more productivity and efficiency gains. But seriously, once you have reviewed and tweaked your fundamental operations where else should you be looking to apply some leverage. A good place to start is looking at how you are applying technology (and it's accrued gains) within your organisation. We are not suggesting that you replace half your staff with robots (yet) but some of the more simpler applications of new and even old technology can be very effective.
1. For example something simple like adopting smart lighting for your business can provide you with a reasonable amount of productivity gains. The light to which your workforce is exposed has a major impact on their mental well-being. Fluorescent lighting in the past has left workers drowsy and agitated and there have not been a dearth of workable solutions. However these days there are plenty of solutions that provide employers with an answer that fits the bill. Smart lighting devices are allowing workers to have more control over their work environment. These devices can be controlled over Wi-Fi, using smartphones or other devices, which can be dimmed to the right level for your team’s requirements. A happy work force is a productive one?
2. How about providing stronger device screens for your employees. For small businesses, dealing with and paying for repairs constantly is inconvenient, costly and bad for productivity. And what about the down-time spent on not having a device to work from?
For example a replacement iPhone screen is about £100 and an iPad even more - so getting a couple of breakages a year per person soon adds up. Get everyone’s devices equipped with damage-resistant ‘gorilla glass’. This shatterproof glass is very tough and may save you a fortune. It will also prevent a lot of broken screen gazing and sighing.
3. People seldom look at wireless charging for marginal productivity gains but I for one am constantly being caught on the hop by expiring batteries and the reliance on untangling the ball of knitting (wires and chargers) to get some juice. Rather than having to dig out the right adapter and then plugging in phones, laptops and office essentials it is possible to charge them seamlessly using wireless solutions.
Ok – they are not in profusion at the moment but like electric cars there is significant momentum. The ability to simply connect to the always-on and always-ready charging pad to power via a USB and then sit your phone on top to charge wirelessly and at speed is highly compelling. No more "I-couldn't-make-the-call-because-I-had-no-battery"excuses either!
4. What about your adoption of 3D printing. Maybe getting ideas into the hands of those around you is better then just asking them to visualise a concept or a theory. 3D printing technology is now well developed and prices are competitive. It’s now easier to prototype ideas rapidly or transform ideas into tangible products than it ever has been.
There are a growing bunch of tools and devices to scan everyday objects to the computer and make something so your designers can focus on how their product is going and look and feel rather than just conjecturing. The puppy dog sale is still with us today and is alive and well.
5. Regular and ongoing training for practically everyone in your organisation around your enterprise toolset. For example the majority of organisations adopt MS Office as a standard but not everyone on your team might be using the tools effectively. For example only about 10% of Excel’s capabilities are ever utilised by many organisations’ staff. Whilst PowerPoint is still the staple tool for presentations I am always surprised at how basic many presentations are ie not enough of the sexy functionality is understand or used. Furthermore the adoption of technologies like augmented reality can make presenting your product or service standout if used correctly in the right places.
So there are just a few of the potential marginal gains that might be accrued by using different technology or even your existing technologies better. You might be surprised but the more you drill down into what you are spending on old technology and its continued application – the more gains you might see in the application of the new. Just think about it!