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Growth and evolution in business means that you are always having to be on the lookout for new products and systems that are going to improve and systemise your day to day operations. Whether it is integrating a new piece of software, or introducing a new widget to your key products, there are always going to be bumps in the road.

These bumps are a productive part of the process of growing and evolving, however they can be minimised by ensuring that you go through a checklist as part of the specification process. Each section of the checklist needs to have a number of criteria or KPIs that have to be fulfilled if the decision to take on that new product or system is made. The following are key areas that you need to consider. You can adapt this according to your individual organisation’s needs.

Does it save you time?

Pallat block

Speeding up a process is one of the most important aspects of integrating a new product or system into your operations. If a task that traditionally takes one man hour to complete, can reduce down to just a few minutes, then that will give you massive cost savings in terms of both resource, and freeing up that time and redirecting it into higher income generating tasks.

Equally, anything that saves you time will also save you money – but make sure you do your calculations and work it out over a period of time. Sometimes there are hidden implications that won’t be obvious, and could disrupt any cash flow if not identified early enough. If calculated into the overall return on investment within a relevant period of time that can be accounted for. Thorough research is essential.

Is it environmentally friendly?

Sustainability is a key criterion in any specification process. Whether you are looking at a complete new software system, or simply replacing the pallet blocks with a new type in the warehouse, it is important to check out the environmental impact and how it fits in with your overall company’s environmental and corporate responsibility values.

Different areas will have different metrics. For example, how you measure the energy efficiency of IT technology on your business and the wider community in general, is different to how you would find those same metrics with your delivery fleet, for example.

Measuring the sustainability of your company’s operations is a complex area and one which needs expert help and advice. Make sure that you reach out to professionals in this area who will be experienced in giving you a true picture.

Does it give you performance improvements

Your supplier will be able to calculate any improvements in production values that can be gained as a result of taking on their product. They will take your individual metrics into account, and using this information be able to give you a ball park figure that you can assess against return on investment.

While time and cost savings are an important element of those performance indicators, they can also incorporate improvements to finished quality, ability to multi task, reduction in errors, and better overall maintenance protocols (ie they don’t break down so often!)

Is it user friendly?

Another important metric is to assess of the product is user friendly – does it have the ability to reduce or eliminate human error, and is it easier to use? The more complex a process or system, the less people have the experience and knowledge to use it without intensive training. This is both time and cost consuming, and should you lose one or more of those people it can leave you vulnerable.