Your company is in the crunch and we need to make it through to the other side.
From a systems implementation and process point of view this is an opportunity to fix issues that nobody cared about in good times.
In my daily work I see numerous cases where both systems and processes can be improved if the business has the motivation to do so. Maybe now is the time?
We have the normal three dimensions to work with:
Each dimension can be approached separately but any change may impact other dimensions.
Unleash your systems and make them work for you!
Just ask yourself how much functionality you know and use in Excel? This is often the same with other systems including financial systems. I have seen people extracting data into spreadsheets and creating custom reports where this could have been done using standard functionality. However nobody really understood the standard functionality so they used the tools they knew well.
Sometimes new functionality has been introduced with upgrades without changing user procedures or sometimes requirements has changed over time so users are working around this instead of changing the system settings.
Reporting can be changed or improved to focus on cost cutting and resource usage?
Often business processes are created at times where time and money is plenty however in these cash strapped times you may need to reconsider this.
Most systems has a built-in best practices however sometimes these are ignored in good times and businesses implement a exiting business process rather than to adapt to the built-in best practice. By redesigning the process and adapting to best practice the business can often benefit significantly.
You could also consider introducing new business processes especially focused on cost savings. Implement procurement software? Well no – this is a long term investment – some simple short term process changes can ensure you save money and time. A good procurement process can work almost as well on paper as in a system and when the times get better you will be ready to implement the process in a system.
Organisational changes are often the output of changes to systems and processes however organisational changes can also drive changes to systems and processes.
In a crisis most companies immediately think – redundancies. This could be the outcome of the above approaches – however consider if receivables management or payables control could be improved by reallocating people to focus to cash flow improvement and risk reduction functions.
Improved debt management can increase cash flow and improve collections supported by systems functionality. Often collections functionality is not even implemented in good times but as a department get more staff it may need to get more organised with the help of systems.
Payables management could improve controls on suppliers – reducing the number of suppliers and also renegotiating payment terms and delivery lead times on the remaining suppliers. Often the supplier is in the same situation and by increasing the communication or co-manage the supply chain with key suppliers may put both parties at an advantage.