Business integration is all about cutting costs and developing a clearer operational strategy. If you are a small business owner, there’s a good chance you are already integrating many different areas of your business. For example, SMEs often cross-train management and employees so they can fill more than one role.
However, it takes a lot of analysis and creative thought to integrate your business properly. We’ve gathered several interesting strategies that might work for your company. Try them out and see if you can find a good fit. You might find they reduce your overheads, bring better results, and streamline your operations.
If you are a manufacturer, how does your supply chain look? For many companies, the sales and distribution are run entirely separate from the production and assembly. If you want to have more control over the costs – and quality – of your products, you should consider vertical integration. But what is it? The term describes when companies own more of the supply chain, and can tie everything together in a more efficient way. There are certain issues – your business might be proficient at one thing and not the other. But, if you plan carefully, hire the right people and monitor your results, it is worth considering.
Horizontal integration is, effectively, merging with or acquiring a business that is at the same stage of production. It creates a stronger company, opens up a larger market, and gives businesses the chance to diversify. Again, there are a few problems – monopolies being the most obvious. But it can reduce costs, create less competition, and put you on the road to a dominating position.
Employees and management
Your employees are vital to the success of your business, of course. But working alone they will not be as strong as when they work in conjunction with the rest of the company. Managers and employees should be able to understand what all other departments do, and how everyone works together to get results. You can look into cross-training staff, for example, or invest in sales enablement strategies. The ideas here are to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and keeping production focused and ongoing.
When most people talk about business integration, technology is never far from their minds. More businesses than ever are collecting as much data as possible from their customers. The trouble is, if you are storing different data across several platforms it can be hard to access and use efficiently. To save time, think about data integration. It can be expensive, but it will allow your company to save a lot of time and improve efficiency. You can make improvements in customer service, communications and everything from billing to invoicing. Again, it’s all about creating a more efficient way of doing things and speeding up operations across every department.
As you can see, there are plenty of integration strategies that could work for your business. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.