Cutting compliance costs
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 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’.
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.