Cutting com­pli­ance costs

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - FRONT PAGE -

The old tried and true ‘stan­dard’ meth­ods of us­ing Mi­crosoft of­fice prod­ucts like Outlook, Word, Ex­cel and Ac­cess to han­dle re­minders, cor­re­spon­dence, cal­cu­la­tions and cus­tomer data do not keep pace with what is needed today to run a busi­ness.

Large com­pa­nies have for many years used tech­nol­ogy to man­age their busi­nesses. Pow­er­ful sys­tems us­ing the in­ter­net and broad­band have now be­come cost ef­fec­tive for smaller busi­nesses. These sys­tems are ‘soft­ware as a ser­vice’ or SaaS which run on re­mote servers in­stead of the of­fice com­put­ers.

THE AN­SWER LIES IN SAAS

The ad­van­tage of SaaS is it pro­vides ac­cess to your data any­where in the world. New soft­ware fea­tures ap­pear au­to­mat­i­cally and stor­age and se­cu­rity of data is taken care of.

One ex­am­ple of such a ser­vice is Xero which is de­scribed as beau­ti­ful ac­count­ing soft­ware. Busi­ness own­ers world­wide can check their cash po­si­tion, find out who has paid and who has not, and rec­on­cile trans­ac­tions us­ing their smart­phone while they travel into work on the bus or train, or per­haps when they have a few quiet mo­ments while the chil­dren are do­ing their home­work. With the bank feeds di­rectly into Xero it means that you are kept up to date on a daily ba­sis. No longer do you need the bank state­ments or use in­ter­net bank­ing to check your cash po­si­tion. Xero ac­tu­ally un­der­stands what run­ning a busi­ness is like and has trans­formed small busi­ness ac­count­ing.

As many own­ers dis­cov­ered dur­ing the Christchurch earth­quakes, their busi­nesses suf­fered when they found them­selves un­able to en­ter their of­fices to re­trieve their com­put­ers. This re­sulted in go­ing back to us­ing the old tele­phone and pa­per meth­ods while re­build­ing their data on re­place­ment ma­chines with long hours and de­lays be­fore they were op­er­at­ing as ef­fec­tively as they were pre­vi­ously. In stark con­trast those busi­nesses that had cho­sen SaaS for their crit­i­cal sys­tems were op­er­at­ing again im­me­di­ately af­ter they used their browser to lo­gin us­ing re­place­ment lap­tops.

Busi­nesses are vul­ner­a­ble to events like the Christchurch earth­quake which can of­ten have dis­as­trous and even ter­mi­nal con­se­quences. Busi­ness con­ti­nu­ity and dis­as­ter re­cov­ery form an im­por­tant part of the risk man­age­ment strat­egy for any com­pany. Com­pany direc­tors are re­spon­si­ble for manag­ing risk, and are in­creas­ingly mov­ing crit­i­cal sys­tems to SaaS providers as part of an over­all plan to re­duce busi­ness risk.

For ex­am­ple busi­nesses in­volv­ing dan­ger­ous oc­cu­pa­tions may de­cide it pru­dent to have their health and safety man­age­ment sys­tems man­aged by a SaaS so that they can with con­fi­dence be sure that they meet the health and safety man­age­ment re­quire­ments stan­dards.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A COM­PLI­ANCE SAAS

Ide­ally when look­ing for a SaaS ap­pli­ca­tion to man­age com­pli­ance (e.g. health and safety, qual­ity) within a busi­ness, the owner needs the fol­low­ing;

• One in­te­grated sys­tem for han­dling com­pli­ance re­quire­ments.

• Sys­tem com­pli­ant with recog­nised na­tional and in­ter­na­tional stan­dards (e.g. ISO 9001, 14001, 45001). • Abil­ity to de­fine ac­ci­dent, in­ci­dent

and im­prove­ment work­flows.

• In­te­grated method for manag­ing haz­ards and busi­ness risks.

• Doc­u­ment and records man­age­ment.

• Hu­man re­source man­age­ment.

• Plant and equip­ment pre­ven­tive main­te­nance

• Event man­age­ment to pro­vide timely re­minders

• Min­i­mal ef­fort to ad­min­is­ter the sys­tem

• Cost ef­fec­tive com­pared to the ‘stan­dard’ meth­ods

• Quick re­sponse to sup­port re­quests

There are a num­ber of SaaS ap­pli­ca­tions avail­able. Many of these ap­pli­ca­tions are de­signed for doc­u­ment and records man­age­ment, or safety man­age­ment, or risk man­age­ment, or han­dle ac­ci­dents and in­ci­dents, or pre­ven­tive main­te­nance. Very few of these ap­pli­ca­tions in­te­grate all of the com­pli­ance re­quire­ments into a sin­gle SaaS while be­ing cost ef­fec­tive for busi­nesses with as few as 50 staff.

MANGO

Mango is one ser­vice which does ful­fil these re­quire­ments. Mango in­te­grates ac­ci­dents and in­ci­dents, au­dits and in­spec­tions, events, doc­u­ments, hu­man re­sources, im­prove­ments, plant and equip­ment and sup­pli­ers all into one SaaS. Un­like many of­fer­ings, Mango charges a reg­u­lar monthly fee and this pro­vides ac­cess to its en­tire in­te­grated sys­tem.

Typ­i­cally a part time ad­min­is­tra­tor can man­age the sys­tem and main­tain man­age­ment sys­tem cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to recog­nised in­ter­na­tional stan­dards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001. The sys­tem sends timely re­minders to staff to take ac­tion and files records ap­pro­pri­ately. This means that as busi­ness owner you no longer need to think about when the truck is due for its next reg­is­tra­tion, or where to find the health and safety meet­ing min­utes, or whether the staff train­ing records are up to date, or whether the fork lif t driv­ers are cur­rently li­censed, or when the next fire drill is due, or what com­plaints were re­ceived from cus­tomers last month.

It is not un­com­mon to find that a small busi­ness owner can free up 50 per­cent of staff time when mov­ing to Mango from the old ‘stan­dard’ meth­ods. For a small busi­ness this means that the work is shared among sev­eral ex­ist­ing staff thereby avoid­ing hav­ing to em­ploy more peo­ple. In do­ing so the busi­ness be­comes less vul­ner­a­ble to key staff go­ing on an­nual leave or mov­ing else­where.

One of the most com­mon com­ments we hear busi­ness own­ers that switch to Mango say is that they ‘sleep eas­ier know­ing that their busi­ness is un­der con­trol’.

SUM­MARY

SaaS of­fers re­duc­tions in over­all costs and in­creases in ef­fi­ciency. This frees up peo­ple and/or in­creases ca­pac­ity with the po­ten­tial to have sig­nif­i­cant im­pact for busi­nesses. There are a num­ber of SaaS ap­pli­ca­tions avail­able that take ad­van­tage of one or more of these fac­tors.

Ap­pli­ca­tions like Xero and Mango have the po­ten­tial to trans­form your busi­ness by tak­ing care of com­pli­ance and slash your costs in do­ing so. More im­por­tantly this can free you up from deal­ing with com­pli­ance is­sues so that you can take care of ac­tiv­i­ties that will grow your busi­ness such as lead­ing your peo­ple, plan­ning and build­ing cus­tomer re­la­tion­ships.

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