Category Archives: Business Productivity

Money for Training

I believe that not only is there a correlation between how well people are trainingtrained to do their job and their productivity but also their ability to be innovative and creative is affected as well. After all how can you be innovative or creative if you are bogged down in just trying to get the job done? As a group Canadian companies are known for their lack of effort in training their employees. Something that I never did quite understand. I’ve heard the excuses in our often tight labour market – why would I train my employees for my competition? But that is just short-sighted. Here is something that might help. I went to a presentation recently on the Canada-Alberta Job Grant and it sounds like this program might be worth exploring. As I understand it the government will reimburse companies for 2/3 of their training costs. There are limitations and conditions of course but on the surface this looks like it might be something to check out. For more information check out the website Canada Alberta Job Grant.

The Need for Automation

gears-300x300I was just reading the latest Industry Week magazine (digital version of course) and the article on robots caught my attention. The quote from Jeff Burnstein, President of the Robotics Industries Association started me thinking. Jeff stated that “If you are not automating, you’re not producing the best-quality products out there, you’re not meeting customer demand fast enough, you’re going to go out of business.”  Now robots have really come along way and while they may or may not have an application in your business automation certainly does. With the labour skills shortage we are experiencing in this region automating as many processes as possible can be one solution and you don’t need robots to do this. Computers can automate many processes from the receipts at a restaurant (we still have handwritten receipts being given out at one restaurant in our city) to automatic time calculations for invoicing customers.  You can even outsource the automation, payroll is a good example.

So if you are not tech savvy then how do you incorporate this digital technology into your business? Maybe I should have started my blogs with this advice but sometimes people need to be convinced they need the stuff before they will buy in. This article I came across offers some good advice including; start with understanding the problem you are trying to solve as well as your end goals for your business and how to get your employees on board.  It also recommends you act now and that you can’t afford to put your head in the sand.

If you are interested in hearing more from me this week I did a guest post on the Moving Innovation Forward Blog. Check out ‘Innovating Innovation?

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Mobile Cash

mobile-paymentsBDC just put out a newsletter that referred to an article called ‘Technology to Help Entrepreneurs Boost their Cash Flow’. It’s a good article, originally posted back in February 2011 but still relevant.  While the article recommends technology to help businesses become more productive it also cautions owners not to buy technology for the sake of technology. It’s important to train staff on how to run the technology or the investment doesn’t work.

That same article refers to using mobile payments as a cash flow tool. The only thing that surprises me there is that mobile payments haven’t caught on quicker.  According to a study regarding technology in the Hospitality Industry, the University of Denver in conjunction with the University of Nevada suggest that by 2015 only 53% of restaurants and 39% of hotels plan to offer mobile payment. I travel a little bit and waiting in line at a hotel the next morning to pay my bill is not one of my favorite experiences. If you are looking to provide a better experience for your customers and to better manage your cash flow maybe it’s time you looked into mobile payment.

Looking at interactive digital signage? That same university study ranked interactive digital signage high in both business impact and customer engagement for restaurants and hotels.  If you are interested in exploring that option let me know as there is a company in our region that specializes in digital signage.

In closing today I just can’t resist sharing this post by Fred Kofman called ‘Cut Your Meeting Time by 90%’. Fred suggests that the only goal for a meeting is ‘to decide and commit’. While other things naturally have to occur during meetings if there is no decision or commitment to follow through the meeting was probably a waste of time. A great article.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Are Better Processes an Answer to the Labour Shortage?

It’s been a while since I did a post but yesterday I was asked to do an interview improvewith one of our local media organizations regarding our current labour shortage in this region. The interview conversation caused me to re look at where we are with regards to productivity in our area. I was asked to provide advice for employers about what they could do if they were experiencing the labour crunch. My response was to get better at their processes, to train their employees so they were really good at what they did and to make sure they were only doing the right things – things that their customers saw value in. The interviewers reaction gave me that AHA moment when she responded by saying ‘no really, what can you tell employers that will help them find more staff?’. I actually repeated myself only this time with a little more explanation to help her connect those dots.

That interview got me thinking maybe the media isn’t the only ones that feels the solution to our labour situation is to throw more people at it – even if you can’t find them. Maybe we need to look at helping people understand the connection between productivity and the labour shortage especially employers. Unfortunately I suspect we are too busy working in our business (and making money in spite of ourselves) to have a look at how we could do things differently. And perhaps we don’t understand that productivity is NOT about doing more with less; it’s about doing it better so you don’t need as much.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Productivity Through Apps

Apps are causing huge productivity gains in some companies as this apps1article in the Wall Street Journal points out. In some cases they are replacing employees as customers become their own bank tellers, checkout clerks, restaurant order takers and even insurance adjusters. Apps are even giving companies a way to give customers directions and answer questions without paying concierge staff. This all points to a change in customer expectations, customers are now quite happy to be part of the entire experience not just be ‘served’. Even Wal-Mart is looking at a self-checkout app that lets customers scan items with their phone as they place them in the shopping cart. What about you – are your customers part of the experience or are you just serving them and does that make them happy?

Speaking of Apps I found this Infographic that highlights important apps for running a business with a smart phone. The list includes; financial apps, cloud storage, customer service and even apps for money transactions among others.  One highlighted free app is the Square Card Reader. It comes with a free card reader for your phone that allows you to take credit cards from your customers and have those funds go into your bank account the next day. More and more being digitally savvy allows us to be productive in ways we never thought possible.

Last week we held our first ever Digital Forum and from the feedback we received it was a definite success! The event was videotaped and the intent is to turn it into a series of webcasts so those that were unable to attend can still benefit. Those webcasts will be hosted on our website in the next few weeks. I will keep you posted.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Are You Embracing Digital Technology?

This week I am going to open with the same question that I asked last week; Are you embracing Note Anytimedigital technology? Did you know there are businesses out there that are seeing significant benefits from taking advantage of the opportunities found through digital technology. This Forbes article ‘The DNA of Digital leaders’ states that “technology is reaching into every corner of the business world – every industry, company, process, decision, job – and bringing deep changes that create a new playing field with new rules and new winners and losers”. The article cites a two-year study on over 400 companies world-wide done by Capgemini Consulting released in November 2012 suggesting companies that adopt digital technology can be up to 26% more profitable! It’s interesting to note that this requires more than just investment in technology it also requires leadership. While today adopting digital technology is a competitive advantage I believe tomorrow it will determine survival.

Now here is a tool that will help you get digital. There are a few apps out there for sketching or to help take hand written notes and then convert them to digital. The article ‘The Best Digital Handwriting Tools for Businesses’ gives a few suggestions for the different apps depending on operating systems and what exactly you are going to do with them. I downloaded the free app Note Anytime and I am amazed by the quality and readability. I am looking forward to using it at my next meeting.

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Digital Technology, even in your Car!

carDigital Technology is everywhere including in your car! I recently came across an Infographic that highlighted how much digital technology has infiltrated into our lives. You only have to look at our vehicles; from rear view cameras, auto parking systems to GPS and automatic synchronization to smart phones and the latest – apps that locate the nearest gas station. As US author Mark Prensky in a recent interview for CNN suggests “any slowdown in the digital age is a “myth,” as innovation will only press forward “faster… and faster and faster.” He told CNN: “We are not going through a transition to another phase of stability, and that is the key point. People will always be behind now and that will be a stress they have to cope with.”

Are you trying to keep up? Would tools to help evaluating your next software purchase help? The Technology Evaluation website  is recommended by the BDC as a quick way to validate system functionality. The site looks pretty comprehensive and offers buyer’s guides, newsletters and various reports.  What about your company website? With over half of us Canadians now shopping on-line it’s scary to think only 7 out of 10 Canadian SME’s have a website especially if you consider many of those websites are little more than a static online brochure. What about you? Are your customers finding you online? And are they impressed if they do?

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Digital Technology for Marketing & Accounting

Yellow-PagesDoes Digital Technology play a role in your Marketing Strategy? I can’t remember the last time I used the phone book to find a local business. Between my smart phone and my PC at home I Google what I am looking for,  so if your business isn’t on the internet chances are excellent I will NOT find it. I also look to Google for information about businesses that are recommended to me. While word of mouth starts this process it is the internet that sells it.  IBM did a study this year (2012) that indicates that within five years social media will be the number two way to engage with customers (after face-to-face personal interaction). All this points to the fact that you need to use digital technology in your marketing strategy. To that end I recently came across some advice from the BDC.  This article give 8 tips on how to market your business locally on the internet including Google Places and Facebook (remember the IBM study).

What if you could view your accounting data online from your phone? Suddenly you can know whether a client has paid you or instantly bill them all while you are at their place of business. Well Quick Books now has an app for that as explained in this recent article on itbusiness.ca. Now that would be using digital technology to make you more productive. What I found scary though was that according to a survey conducted on behalf of Intuit Canada (makers of QuickBooks) less than half of the Canadian small & medium businesses that responded actually used financial management software. No wonder the Canadian government is encouraging the adoption of digital technology to increase productivity.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Productivity Apps and Other Tools

In an effort to keep track of the latest in digital technology for businesses I regularly receive newsletters and download free e-books. HubSpot is a type of marketing software and while I don’t use the software I really appreciate the resources they send. Past e-books have included ‘How to use Twitter for Business’ and the most recent is an e-book on 20 Marketing Trend and Predictions for 2013.

apple-iphone-apps-32Another great site for resources is Melinda Emerson’s Small Biz Lady site. I came across her blog on the 10 Best Productivity Apps for Small Business Owners. It is a good article and while at the moment I only use DropBox and Evernote I have every intention of checking out a few more of these.

After reading that blog post I explored Melinda Emerson’s Small Biz Lady site and I found several tidbits worth sharing. From posts on Google+ (another one of those social media connectors) to the New Rules of Small Business Marketing, and even a post discussing a Mobile App for your business.

The small business landscape is changing at such an exponential rate it is hard to keep up and you really have to be purposeful in order to be productive. Perhaps some of these articles will help.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Cloud Computing

Have you ever wondered about ‘The Cloud’? How safe is it? What does it cost? Should you cloud computingbe using it or is it better to wait until it has matured a bit? Well I certainly don’t have the answers for you but I have been doing a little research lately. I came across this eBook called ‘Cloud-Powered Small Business’.  A free download and it includes best practices, a cost analysis, and a discussion about the best applications – some of which are free. What’s more it is a Canadian book so the content is relevant!

Another article that I came across discusses Cloud Security. I use DropBox and I love it. Mind you I don’t put anything in the folders that I would consider secret. Mostly research for the projects I do and I use it as a way of keeping track of what I am doing for reporting. I like operating transparently and I share my DropBox folders with my project stakeholders. Using the Cloud is probably just as secure as email so instead of emailing files back and forth and facing the dilemma of ‘is this the most current version?’ I share the file on DropBox. As a bonus I never have to worry about backing up either and it’s free!

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/