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Automating Systems in 2019

It may no longer be the season of new year resolutions, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to make a change! If anything, this is the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning, especially right before busy season hits and you’ll be wishing you’d done a few updates. Automating your systems doesn’t necessarily have to entail committing to a complete overhaul, but making a few strides toward a cleaner, more accessible structure will have both your employees and clients thanking you.

Internal shifts

One of the main things you’ll hear if you were to survey any given company – catering or otherwise – would be that employees are often looking for an easier, more productive ways of doing things. If things are feeling a bit slow-moving, this is your sign that it’s time to take a look at automating your internal systems.

Start with taking a look at your workflow. Think about where there are any disconnects in consistency, and what solutions are viable to fix this – whether that’s an app or a quick team meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page. For example, there are plenty of apps for managing schedules (rather than hand-writing them every week or month), tracking employee time, and even software options like Basecamp or Smartsheet to streamline project management. Assigning everyone individual tasks will be that much easier, and there’s a lot more accountability involved.

Changes in client interaction

When it comes to enhancing the client experience, there are always ways to improve! Fortunately, every business has a unique opportunity where they can enlist the client themselves to help with automating these processes by way of asking for feedback. Make it easy for people to chime in on what was consumer-friendly about your services and what left something to be desired.

Consider changing the way you communicate with your clients, instead of repetitively emailing back and forth. There are some great third-party texting apps that make collaboration much easier during the planning process. Evaluate your payment methods and contract signing as well – most clients prefer doing things strictly online, whether it’s e-signing or paying an electronic invoice.

Making the transition

Incorporating these automation tweaks is one thing, but it’s important that you have everyone on board to make the adjustment. It should also be noted that not every single transition will be painless, and in fact, some of these efforts to automate your systems in place may require some trial and error. Be especially receptive to what isn’t working.

If necessary, introduce training modules to implement new company software, and encourage feedback before, during, and after you roll out new policies. Starting now (before you’re in the thick of event season) is a great way to iron out any issues, and your team will be well-versed before long!

Vow to make 2019 your year of change! Automating systems will improve your business and your relationships with clients, and you’ll be grateful for a change of pace.

Clint Elkins is the VP of Sales at SB Value, a group purchasing program designed to reduce catering, kitchen and food-service costs by leveraging the collective buying power of thousands of companies.

 

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