top of page

When the challenges are big, is it time to think small?

time to think small

Have you ever trained for a marathon? If so, you’ll know that you don’t just wake up one day and run 26 miles. You do it step by step, run by run, building up in tiny increments until you’re able to go the distance. From learning a language to climbing a mountain to developing healthy eating habits, big things are usually only achieved in little, consistent steps.

Making business decisions can be similar. Big changes and major overhauls of systems and longstanding processes can feel too time-consuming or overwhelming to be possible right now, but there is huge power in small changes. If it feels like the pressure is really piling up on all sides, sometimes it can really help to think small.

Here are just a few examples where thinking small might be exactly the way to win big.

Local vs national

shoping local

While it may be tempting to take on the world when it comes to new customers, focusing on your local market is often the best place to focus.

Firstly, a local market is likely to be more loyal, more frequent in its purchasing and more likely to make other local recommendations. Secondly, your cost to serve will be lower, with more efficiencies for logistics and even marketing being available to you, and your environmental impact for longer-distance delivery will be reduced. Local business searches (e.g. builders merchant near me etc) have exploded in recent years, serving as a very measurable reminder that local really is big business.

Small supplier vs market leader

Fish in a pond

There will always be pros and cons, but depending on the size and scale of your business, choosing a smaller supplier may well be a better fit for your business.

If yours is a small or medium sized business, you may find you can get more focus and prioritisation from smaller suppliers, and even if your business is bigger, you may find the personal touch more rewarding to work with. That’s not to say that bigger suppliers don’t have their advantages of course, but don’t discount the little guys just because they’re small – sometimes the extra effort and responsive, personal service can be a big benefit.

Process efficiency over total business overhaul

While saving a few seconds here or there may not feel like a big win, if the time saved relates to something that happens often in your business, it will add up to significant efficiency.

If you could halve the time it takes to raise a PO or sales order, check stock levels, check a customer’s purchase history, spot a replenishment issue, plan a more efficient delivery route or track down stock in the yard – how much time would you save every week?

Small process chances can save huge amounts of time, just like small improvements to stock control, credit and quote management and customer service can drive significantly better profit and productivity. Having the information you need, integrated across the business and up to the minute accurate, will make every process quicker and easier, leaving your staff more productive and your customers happier.

If you’re not sure where you could save time or make efficiency improvements in your business, why not book a Business Process Review and get that external viewpoint to help focus your efforts?

Your software can help you

It should come as no surprise to know that your ERP software (or order and stock management software) can help you when it comes to driving efficiency improvements across your business.

Whether you want to make improvements to your quote management, stock control system, stocktaking processes, transport planning, logistics, invoicing or document automation, or any other area of your merchant operations, we are here to help. We’ve spent 40 years helping merchants by building effective software tools to drive operational efficiency – and we’d love to help you too.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page