How are you filling the labor gap in your business?
If you’re having a tough time finding and retaining good people these days, you’re not alone. Earlier this month the Labor Dept. reported that the U.S. had over 9.2 million job openings in May, the highest monthly number on record. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to think things are going to get better on the hiring front any time soon.
Finding and keeping good people in the office furniture industry has never been easy and the pandemic has only served to take what was already a difficult challenge and make it even harder, particularly for back office functions like accounts payable and receivables, procurement and order processing.
So if you’re an office furniture dealer, what can you do about it?
When it comes right down to it, you’ve really only got three ways to fill the labor gap in your business: Go looking for new hires from outside the industry, figure out how to automate more of the processes your dealership is currently handling manually or outsource more of your back office operations to outside service providers.
The first option, hiring from outside the industry, is not only the most expensive approach but it also comes with the highest risk.
Bringing in new employees and getting them to a point where they are actually contributing to your company is expensive, particularly when they come with very little industry knowledge or experience.
And like it or not, every new hire you make represents a bet, to a greater or lesser extent, that not only will they get up to speed quickly but also, that they will stay long enough to make all the time and money spent bringing them onboard worthwhile.
Automating processes that are currently being handled manually represents less of a gamble. The initial investment is lower and there are plenty of areas where you don’t have to wait too long for the benefits to start showing up.
For example, process automation makes it far easier to capture and analyze business information and gain improved visibility into just what’s happening in your dealership.
Ultimately, it allows you to track processes more efficiently and identify the underlying issues behind a specific problem. The result: you can actually do something about those issues once and for all, instead of constantly having to firefight the impact of the problem every time it occurs.
Take pricing discrepancies with an A/P invoice, for example. That’s the kind of program that can easily generate literally hundreds of emails, texts and other communication before it gets resolved. The result: a whole lot of lost productivity up and down the supply chain.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Automating the capture and centralization of the data relative to your procurement process will reveal exactly what’s causing the problem and give you the information you need to do something about it.
Automation, however, has its limits. There will always be exceptions associated with any process that will need to be addressed manually and no machine, app or piece of software can change that. Automation can reduce the need for labor but it can never totally eliminate it.
That’s where outsourcing comes in.
Outsourcing not only reduces your internal labor requirement, it also shifts labor from a fixed cost item to a variable cost.
In addition, it gives you the ability to ramp up and ramp down your business as industry conditions change. Even without a pandemic, that offers major benefits in an intensely cyclical industry like office furniture, where business can swing wildly between peaks and valleys.
Finally, outsourcing allows you to combine the traditional strengths of most successful dealerships—sales and service expertise and the ability to build strong, long-lasting customer relationships—with access to superior technology and operational best practices.
At Avanto, we offer a range of automation and outsourcing resources that cover the full range of procedures and processes involved in the procurement of office furniture, Those services will not only help you fill your labor gap but also enable you to bring even greater focus to the customer-facing sales and service activities that represent the true foundation of your dealership.
Want to find out more about how Avanto can help fill the labor gap in your dealership?
Contact Avanto’s Matt Danyliw (PH: 860-400-6030; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s get started!
We work with many different industries, helping them navigate the digital transformation process. Reach out to us and see how Avanto can save your company time and money.