It seems as though every executive is tasked with reducing costs these days, and COOs are no exception. The challenge for COOs, however, is that they need to find successful ways to reduce operating costs that don’t sacrifice the quality of their company’s work, that don’t make employees’ lives more difficult, and that don’t contribute to employee turnover. COOs also need to be sure to make the best moves in cutting costs because short-term solutions often end up costing companies more in the long run.
That’s why we’ve rounded up 50 of the best cost-reduction strategies for COOs. We want you to have the information, insights, and tips you need to make sure your cost-cutting strategies put you in the winner’s seat. Our strategies come from industry leaders, accountants, top advisors, and other authorities on cost-cutting measures. To simplify your search, we have categorized our strategies and listed them alphabetically within each category; thus, we have not ranked or rated our 50 winning cost-reduction strategies for COOs in any way.
1. Analyze the impact of cutting costs on effectiveness
Serving global clients, Bain & Company addresses issues of strategy, operations, technology, organizations, and mergers and acquisitions. In this article, Bain & Company’s Molly Kerr and Véronique Pauwels encourage COOs to reduce costs through the lens of effectiveness in order to avoid making across-the-board cuts that are temporary and “detrimental to the health of the business once robust growth returns.”
Three key points we like from Cost-Cutting with No Regrets:
- Create cost programs to improve operating effectiveness for financial, customer, and employee metrics
- It is key “to regularly and aggressively hunt for ‘no regrets’ initiatives that will make a company both leaner and more effective”
- Companies that create no-regrets cost initiatives launch cost programs before they are needed, carefully analyze the impact on effectiveness (with clear wins, those cuts that are worth the trade-off, and those that are last resort), and take an enterprise view to make valid comparisons of initiatives
2. Change suppliers
Unleashed Software delivers powerful inventory management and makes it easy for users to integrate their solutions with accounting and eCommerce platforms. They also offer tips to COOs who need to take cost-reducing measures to increase the bottom line, including looking at alternative suppliers, in this article.
Three key points we like from Five Measures to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Cost in Your Business:
- Ensure new suppliers will provide consistent quality and provide adequate service
- Ensure there are safeguards against price increases in place
- Check a new supplier’s background and that its operations suit your business needs
3. Consider cost management for supporting strategy
Harvard Business Review is the leading destination for smart management thinking. Paul Leinwand and Vinay Couto’s article examines strategic cost-cutting measures including approaching cost management as a means for supporting strategy. They caution COOs against making across-the-board cuts that are disconnected from their strategy and that fail to make cuts sustainable.
Three key points we like from How to Cut Costs More Strategically:
- Consider cost a “precious investment that will fuel their growth”
- Put your money behind your strategy and cut bad costs to redirect resources toward good costs
- Focus on separating out costs that fuel your distinct advantage from ones that don’t
4. Cut production costs
American Express OPEN Forum provides a platform for discussion between business owners. Users rely on OPEN Forum for advice, insights, and answers. Royale Scuderi’s OPEN Forum article offers 10 ways for businesses to cut costs, including reducing production costs. As Scuderi points out, cutting material costs and optimizing resources is a good place to start.
Three key points we like from 10 Simple Ways to Cut Business Costs:
- Sell remaining cardboard, paper, and metal rather than recycling it
- Use your waste to create another product
- Set performance parameters to reflect your efficiency goals and offer incentives for meeting them
5. Deliver cost optimization as a strategic, business transformation program
While this PwC article is geared toward the insurance industry, its lessons are applicable in nearly any industry. The five steps for strategic cost reduction outline in the article aim to deliver an informed, systematic, and sustainable approach to cutting costs. The fourth step, leading your company by delivering cost optimization as a strategic, business transformation program, is a top tip for COOs.
Three key points we like from More for Less: Five Steps to Strategic Cost Reduction:
- Remember that strategic cost reduction cannot be delivered in a piecemeal way or by people who work on it part-time
- Cost reduction must be run as a strategic initiative with board sponsorship, leadership, and accountability just like your other critical, strategic initiatives
- Cost reduction strategies must involve central governance, senior management agreement and buy-in, and workforce engagement at all levels to promote personal ownership and organizational collaboration
6. Focus on how to cut instead of just how much to cut
McKinsey & Company is a trusted advisor to the world’s leading businesses, governments, and institutions. In their McKinsey article, Ankara Agrawal, Olivia Nottebohm, and Andy West acknowledge that most cost-cutting successes don’t have staying power; that’s why they offer suggestions for making them last, such as focusing how to make cuts rather than focusing on how much to cut.
Three key points we like from Five Ways CFOs Can Make Cost Cuts Stick:
- Managing cuts to a number results in flawed decisions like delaying critical investments
- Many times, cutting costs to achieve a number damages long-term value creation
- Work to change the way people think about cost by setting new policies and procedures and modeling the desired behavior using benchmarks to compare performance and identify real differences
7. Get input for cost-reduction ideas
Jeffrey Baumgartner is an author, cartoonist, and keynote speaker who specializes in creativity and innovation and advises businesses (including Fortune 500 companies), governments, and non-profit organizations. His article encourages COOs to use business innovation when reducing costs in order to make the best cuts to engage employees and get active participation in cost-cutting initiatives to improve employee satisfaction. As such, he recommends getting input from employees when looking for ways to reduce costs.
Three key points we like from Efficiency Innovation: How to Find Cost Cutting Ideas:
- When employees propose cost-cutting suggestions, they become part of the process and are more likely to cooperate and participate
- Employees become more engaged stakeholders when they contribute suggestions for reducing costs
- Employees who generate and collaborate on cost-saving measures are more likely to see the overall economic picture
8. Justify what to keep instead of what to kill
Forbes is the online destination for the world’s business leaders. Deniz Caglar, Vinay Couto, and Gary L. Neilson’s Forbes article examines how companies are impacted by activist investors and suggests that executives who have not by threatened by them can learn from the experiences of those who have and apply their best practices to reduce costs yourself. They suggest 10 strategies for cost transformation, including justifying what to keep instead of what to kill.
Three key points we like from 10 Principles for Rethinking Cost Management:
- To grow through cost reduction, make deliberate choices about where to invest instead of what to cut
- The best cost reductions are those that narrow the gap between strategy and execution
- Rethink spending from scratch and assign each cost in your company a category while considering its relationship to your company’s value proposition: distinctive capabilities, table stakes, lights-on expenses, and not required
9. Make margin management part of the culture
YourEncore offers proven expertise to help you outthink, outpace, and outperform. Dr. Marc Dahlgren spent more than three decades in research and development at Procter & Gamble, and he examines how to reduce costs for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in light of the fact that many have already exhausted their ideas for findings savings in the supply chain. His article shares five new ways to cut costs by taking a holistic view of margin management.
Three key points we like from 5 Keys for Winning Cost Reduction Strategies:
- Accept responsibility for margin management as a core, sector-wide strategy and make its execution a priority for all functions while challenging other paradigms
- Rethink paired comparison blind use tests because real-world consumers don’t evaluate products blind
- Rethink consumer testing tools in the context of the brand, price, claims, and past experiences
10. Negotiate with suppliers
Simple Business Solutions helps businesses cut costs, increase sales, and differentiate from competitors. This article encourages COOs to strengthen relationships with trusted suppliers by seeking rate reductions in a positive, win-win manner. One such strategy involves negotiating with suppliers.
Three key points we like from Business Cost Reduction Strategies: Win-Win Supplier Relationships:
- Negotiate a discount in exchange for signing a longer contract or extending the term of a current contract beyond its current expiration date
- Establish a minimum purchase commitment in exchange for a discount on any purchases made above that
- Pay with cash or check in exchange for a discount on each invoice instead of paying with a business credit card
11. Reduce overhead through partnership
Digitalist Magazine shares under the radar trends, technologies, and disruptors to help you simplify your digital transformation. Robert Hall’s Digitalist article offers tips for optimizing each dollar spent and cutting costs in innovative ways to improve your operations, including reducing overhead thorough partnership.
Three key points we like from 7 Innovative Ideas to Cut Business Costs:
- Use assets to their fullest capacity by trading services with a business; for example, use your vacant office space in exchange for services
- Share services or equipment to expand your service offerings without incurring the total cost
- Consider sharing warehouse space, equipment, fleet vehicles, or your parking lot
12. Review contracting and procurement strategies
Expert360 provides instant access to top consulting talent. Graeme Wakeford’s Expert360 article offers alternative to headcount cuts for creating longer term solutions, including reviewing contracting and procurement (C&P) strategies. When don’t correctly, C&P cost-cutting measures guide business strategy and make it possible to implement contracts mitigating business risk and exposure.
Three key points we like from Cost and Expense Reduction Strategies from an Elite Consultant:
- Ensure procurement policies outline spend thresholds and the requirements for spending up to the defined thresholds
- Align your governance and approval system with the implemented policies and methods
- Hold those who have the authority to spend company money accountable for their actions
13. Review suppliers
The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits works to inform, promote, connect, and strengthen nonprofits everywhere. Audrey Brick, managing partner of cost management solutions, shares strategies for reducing operating costs in this article, which appeared in an issue of MCN’s Nonprofit News. One of her strategies for controlling operating costs is reviewing suppliers.
Three key points we like from Strategies for Reducing Operating Costs:
- Conduct an analysis of your existing base of suppliers to reveal opportunities for reducing costs by consolidating purchases to increase buying power
- Consolidating suppliers naturally reduces administrative expenses for processing purchase orders, invoices, and payments
- Negotiate with suppliers for better pricing and consider proposals from alternative suppliers to reduce costs
14. Set ambitious, yet achievable targets to create healthy organizational tension
Deloitte is the brand of independent firms collaborating to provide audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and related services to clients. Their Performance Enhancement Advisory team offers solutions to drive performance and execute strategies to achieve peak performance, including this article on reducing costs and achieving long-term savings. One strategy, setting ambitious, yet achievable targets to create healthy organizational tension, stands out as a winning solution.
Three key points we like from Cost Reduction: Bridging the Gap:
- Focus on the validation of the saving target’s achievability
- Spend time validating proposed savings at a granular level; consider using a bottoms-up or zero-based approach
- Challenge core assumptions and legacy decisions to uncover as many opportunities for savings as possible
15. Cut employee business travel costs
The Balance shares tips and advice from experts to help you achieve financial empowerment. One suggestion Susan M. Heathfield offers to COOs looking to reduce workforce costs is to cut employee business travel costs. Her suggestions also keep employee satisfaction in mind, so you won’t alienate your workforce in the name of reducing costs.
Three key points we like from :
- Require employees to travel on the same day as much as possible
- Develop and implement firm travel policies with specific details about per diem payments, preferred hotel chains with established discount rates, expense reimbursements, and limits requiring a manager’s signature in advance
- Do not reimburse expenses that were not allowed by policy or exception
16. Eliminate overscheduling
California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) is a non-profit consulting company operating in manufacturing and defense. Steven Brand’s CMTC article examines reductions in labor costs in manufacturing, including eliminating overscheduling. As Brand points out, overscheduling increases labor costs in practically every operation.
Three key points we like from 6 Ways to Reduce Labor Costs in Manufacturing:
- It is nearly impossible to schedule accurately when you do not have access to correct information about production demands
- Using predictive scheduling software with sophisticated algorithms optimizes your employee scheduling efforts
- Make scheduling decisions from your data to insure adequate staffing levels to meet demand and eliminate excessive and unnecessary labor hours
17. Hire independent contractors
FreshBooks is a top accounting software in the cloud for self-employed professionals and their teams. Their article explores hiring independent contractors as a cost reduction strategy. Companies of all sizes benefit from hiring these types of workers because they don’t require office space, worker’s compensation insurance, Social Security, or Medicare costs.
Three key points we like from The Pros and Cons of Hiring an Independent Contractor:
- You only pay independent contractors a set rate; even if you pay them more than an employee, you save the added expenses
- Independent contractors use their own equipment, so you have less to purchase
- Easily grow your business by hiring independent contractors to fill gaps in skill sets
18. Implement telecommuting
The Houston chronicle is one of Texas’ largest news organization, publishing in English and Spanish in print and online. Kristie Lorette’s Chron article points out that all businesses, even those that are profitable, benefit from cost reduction strategies to achieve a higher profit margin. Lorette points to several options for reducing costs, including implementing telecommuting, that will not sacrifice the quality of your products or services.
Three key points we like from Business Cost Reduction Strategies:
- Lower your lease or rent payment by encouraging employees to telecommute rather than work on-premises
- Reduce utility bills for electricity and water with fewer employees in your office
- To realize more savings, cut your on-premises workweek to four days from five
19. Increase wellness program participation to reduce healthcare costs
JRG Advisors is a premier insurance broker, employee benefit consultant, and service company helping companies achieve their objectives and drive positive bottom lines. In this article, they encourage companies to find alternatives to laying off employees when finding ways to cut costs, especially because layoffs often result in more expenses such as legal fees, severance packages, and reduced productivity from remaining employees. One alternative is to increase wellness program participation to reduce healthcare costs to the organization.
Three key points we like from Cut Your Costs without Laying Off Employees:
- Encourage employees to participate in health risk assessments, preventive care, and disease management programs to promote healthy lifestyles
- Host wellness initiatives in conjunction with healthcare providers to increase employee participation and lower costs
- Healthier employees are more productive and have fewer healthcare claims, which lower costs for your company
20. Manage absences and disability
Aon, formerly Hewitt, is a leading global professional services firm providing a wide range of risk, retirement, and health solutions. In their Hewitt/Aon position paper, Alison Borland, Karen Frost, and Mike Wright explore 10 ways to reduce HR administration costs, including controlling eligibility expenses, going green, and managing absences and disability.
Three key points we like from Ten HR Administration Cost-Reduction Strategies for Tough Economic Times:
- There are several hard and soft costs associated with employee leaves of absence and disability claims that should be managed tightly to avoid a negative impact on productivity and unplanned costs
- Implement a centralized, standardized process for managing leaves of absence
- Regularly review long-term disability claims for return-to-work or closure opportunities to cut unnecessary costs
Business 2 Community is an open community of contributors covering breaking news and top trends in social media, digital marketing, content marketing, social selling, and more. Tyson Downs’ B2C article offers strategies for reducing costs that will improve productivity and reel in your operating expenses. One of his tips is to take advantage of outsourcing opportunities to reduce your number of full-time employees.
Three key points we like from 6 Ways to Reduce Your Operating Costs by Thousands:
- Outsourcing enables your company to complete work off-site to save space and utility costs
- Contractors can complete work in a few hours that a full-time employee may require more time to complete because of other responsibilities
- Outsourcing saves money on benefits and taxes
22. Streamline talent acquisition
eSkill is a leading provider of web-based skills testing to the hiring and training markets. Jessica Miller-Merrell’s eSkill blog post considers various options for cutting HR costs. She suggests streamlining talent acquisition, because recruiting and retaining talent is one of the most expensive tasks in the HR department.
Three key points we like from Minimizing HR Department and Company Costs:
- Cast a smaller net when recruiting
- Rely on personal and professional networks to find the right person for the right job
- Avoid making cuts that will harm your chances of retaining top talent
23. Upgrade and optimize your workforce instead of reducing it
CPA.com empowers CPAs and businesses in the digital age. They share top content to help CPAs and business leaders stay current, such as this article for COOS and other executives that considers practical ways to reduce workforce costs. The article encourages companies to reduce workforce operating costs in ways that will enhance, rather than damage, the company. One such way is to upgrade and optimize the workforce instead of reducing it. When you carefully review and analyze your workforce and their contributions to your company, you may increase staffing levels in profitable departments and make reductions in others.
Three key points we like from Eight Steps to Immediately Reduce Workforce Costs:
- COOs should work with line of business managers to carefully analyze jobs, departments, and operating units in terms of their impact on company revenue, maintenance costs, and the ability to maintain their functions with fewer staff members
- Review employee capabilities to determine whether you are maximizing their talent and contributions to support the critical elements of your business
- Require each manager to rank their employees using company-level criteria and base your decisions on their rankings
24. Use hourly employees instead of salaried employees
Wonolo has reinvented staffing procedures by filling your on-demand staffing needs within minutes using thousands of pre-screened gig economy workers. In this article, Wonolo examines how companies can control costs using hourly employees in place of salaried employees.
Three key points we like from Benefits of Using Hourly Employees vs. Salaried Employees:
- Warehousing, general labor, and similar fields benefit most from hiring employees on an hourly basis
- You can be more flexible with hourly employees and adjust their hours based on demand to gain more control over labor costs; you also can hire part-time workers as hourly employees
- You can pay hourly employees minimum wage, which saves money over hiring salaried employees who typically make at least $11.38/hour
25. Use on-demand or temporary workers
USA TODAY, a multi-platform news and information media company, delivers high-quality and engaging content via unique visual storytelling. Laura Newberry’s USA TODAY article acknowledges that many companies are turning to on-demand and temporary workers to cut costs.
Three key points we like from Temp Jobs Become Way to Go for Many Employers:
- Manufacturers commonly employ temporary workers to better manage labor needs where supply and demand fluctuate
- On-demand and temporary jobs help reduce the unemployment rate
- To save even more money when hiring on-demand and temp workers, companies must provide adequate training
Strategies for Reducing Waste/Energy
26. Address the cause of waste
Noria Corp helps industries improve machine reliability through best practice lubrication and oil analysis. They also are a trusted advisor to top organizations around the globe, and they share their best practices through leading publications like Reliable Plant magazine. Christina Chatfield’s Reliable Plant article considers manufacturing cost-reduction strategies and encourages company leaders to address the cause of waste not only to cut costs but also to increase efficiency.
Three key points we like from Increase Efficiency While Cutting Costs:
- It is in companies’ best interests to increase productivity and efficiency while cutting costs because the cost of raw materials and demand for products fluctuate and are unpredictable
- Look for areas of energy loss, such as through poor ventilation or ineffective heating and cooling systems, and address them to reduce energy reliance and improve efficiency
- Provide mandatory breaks and shortened shifts to reduce labor force fatigue and increase productivity
27. Cut energy costs
Founder of FE International, Thomas Smale is a contributor for Entrepreneur. In this article, Smale acknowledges that not every company can work virtually to save operating costs. If your business needs physical space with full-time staff, you should optimize and reduce your operational costs by addressing your energy usage.
Three key points we like from How to Reduce Operational Costs:
- Consider working with an energy consultant to optimize your energy bill
- Find energy services that will create a tailored solution for you
- Replace copiers and printers with energy-efficient models, install new energy-efficient appliances and air conditioners, and trade in vehicles that guzzle gas for hybrid vehicles
28. Encourage everyone to save water
Business Queensland shares information and services from Queensland Government that supports and promotes Queensland business and industry. As part of their resources for running a business, Business Queensland shares this guide to saving water in the workplace as a strategy for reducing costs.
Three key points we like from Saving Water in Your Workplace:
- Discuss water-saving initiatives with your staff and include water-saving policies and procedures as part of staff induction programs
- Encourage workers to share water-saving ideas with the company
- Establish a baseline for water use and set achievable targets for saving water
29. Encourage power-saving
TechCo is a publication offering community, connections, and resources for readers interested in tech and startups. Vikas Agrawal’s TechCo article examines how going green supplements your business and helps in minimizing costs and maximizing profits. One way to go green is to encourage power-saving.
Three key points we like from 5 Realistic Ways for Businesses to Save Money by Going Green:
- Implement rules that promote saving energy and encourage employees to develop power-saving habits
- Ensure employees regularly turn off lights, printers, and other machines when they do not use them
- Optimize natural lighting during the day and use power-saving modes on office computers
30. Create a reuse store for office supplies
GreenBiz focuses on “advancing the opportunities at the intersection of business, technology, and sustainability.” In their GreenBiz article, Monique Dubos, Anna Arkin, and Matt Domski highlight ways to reduce waste and costs for companies, and they emphasize creating a reuse store for office supplies. Companies that limit costs and improve their carbon footprint run more efficiently while helping the environment.
Three key points we like from 5 Ways to Reduce Waste and Costs on Your Company’s Campus:
- Consolidate workplace supplies that are used most often
- Locate commonly used office supplies in a central location for easy access and encourage staff to put their extra or unneeded supplies in this central supply area
- Drastically reduce the number of new purchases and disposal of office supplies by requiring staff to look for supplies in the central supply area before submitting a purchase request for new items
31. Go paperless
Intuit QuickBooks is designed for small businesses, self-employed individuals, and consumers. Megan Sullivan’s Intuit QuickBooks article shares a dozen ways for reducing your overhead costs, and her suggestion to go paperless is a way to reduce waste while saving money.
Three key points we like from 12 Tips to Lower Your Overhead Costs:
- Realize that you may not be able to eliminate paper from your business, but you should strive to greatly reduce the amount of paper being used
- Going paperless also saves on printers, ink and toner, and storage space
- Back up documents to the cloud, shred unnecessary files, and sell filing cabinets for extra cash
32. Make data-informed changes to reduce waste
BioHiTech Global develops and deploys innovative and disruptive waste management technologies. Frank E. Celli, CEO of BioHiTech, explores ways for COOs to lead initiatives to reduce waste and save money at the same time. Celli emphasizes the need to track your waste in order to make data-informed decisions about managing and reducing it. While BioHiTech is designed for food waste disposal, Celli’s suggestions can apply to any industry.
Three key points we like from 4 Ways Your Business Can Reduce Waste (and Save Money):
- Consult your data first
- Analyze waste to make informed decisions about what to exclude from your next purchase order
- Monitor inventory and supplies carefully to be more aware about what you are disposing of before it is being used
33. Move some operations to non-peak hours
MissouriBusiness.net is transforming businesses in the state via counseling, education, and tools designed to improve their competitiveness and growth. They offer ten money-saving ideas that also conserve energy and reduce waste in this article, which also reminds COOs that being environmentally conscious is a way to appeal to more consumers.
Three key points we like from 10 Ways to Save Money on Energy and Reduce Waste:
- Move some operations to off-peak hours because many electric utility companies charge more for energy used during peak demand hours
- Put energy efficiency equipment controls in place to lower peak charges
- Shut down idle equipment or adjust office temperatures to conserve energy and lower utility bills
34. Perform an energy audit
Conserve Energy Future is a leading publisher of renewable energy news and information on hydropower, solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and environmental issues. The blog has been recognized as a top green energy website and a top eco-conscious blog. This particular post shares nearly two dozen tips for reducing energy costs for businesses, including performing an energy audit.
Three key points we like from 20 Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Business Energy Costs:
- Hiring an energy audit company to do an audit will help you cut costs nearly immediately
- Ask your current energy company to conduct an audit
- Communicate with employees about the findings of the audit and institute policies and procedures for conserving energy
35. Power down during off hours
Patriot Software provides simple, accurate, and affordable payroll and accounting online software for businesses. Their accounting blog shares several tips for cutting company costs and emphasizes the need for COOs to ensure the company powers down during off hours.
Three key points we like from 7 Simple Ways to Reduce Business Expenses:
- Turn off machines and devices when the business is not operating
- replace old equipment with newer, energy-efficient models
- Work as a team to get all employees and executives in the habit of turning off computers, lights, and machines when the day ends
36. Set waste reduction goals
North Carolina State Extension helps create prosperity for North Carolina through programs and partnerships focused on agriculture and food, health and nutrition, and 4-H youth development. Their guide to water quality and waste management focuses on helping businesses cut costs by reducing waste. They highlight the need for companies to set waste reduction goals.
Three key points we like from How Your Business Can Cut Costs by Reducing Waste:
- Select a waste reduction and recycling coordinator
- Choose appropriate waste reduction measures, procurement policies, and what to recycle
- Locate markets for waste materials or select a recycling service; then, design a waste collection and storage system
37. Shift from waste disposal to processes of waste reduction
Invest Northern Ireland’s nibusinessinfo.co.uk is a free service offering advice, support, guidance, and tools for starting up, maintaining, and growing a business. Their guide to reducing business waste offers several suggestions to help companies find environmentally conscious ways to save money. One suggestion that stands out is to shift from waste disposal methods to waste reduction processes.
Three key points we like from Reduce Your Business Waste to Save Money:
- Waste reduction helps you comply with environmental legislation to save costs
- Save money by using raw materials, packaging, and technology more efficiently
- Reducing waste improves your reputation with customers, suppliers, potential employees, and insurers
38. Avoid the three-year tech refresh
The Data Center Journal is a leading publication that provides information and resources to improve information technology (IT), facilities and design, and data centers. Shahin Pirooz’s Data Center Journal article shares out-of-the-box advice for reducing costs, including closely examining data-management solutions and avoiding the three-year tech refresh.
Three key points we like from How to Improve IT Efficiency and Reduce Cost:
- Companies face a tough decision when technology vendors offer service plans; it is difficult to go without the service, but they add increased costs
- It is better to work with technology partners that do not require a three-year technology refresh
- Opt for technology with an ongoing subscription so you can control whether to upgrade and stabilize costs by getting tools to handle your own data storage and maintenance
39. Eliminate manual processes
Lightwell is an IT solutions, services, and consulting company that focuses on integration, supply chain, omnichannel, and analytics. Their Business Technology Blog features this post on using technology to cut business costs. One of their strategies is eliminating manual processes, which begins with looking at what employees do with their time to begin uncovering possible improvements.
Three key points we like from 4 Technology Strategies to Reduce Costs for Your Business:
- Determine whether employees are getting bogged down with repetitive and simple data entry tasks
- Strive to eliminate manual processes and institute automated processes that drastically reduce costs
- Consider using a cloud storage environment or comprehensive collaboration platform to help stakeholders work more efficiently, especially when accessing critical data
40. Implement a print management solution with print release functionality
Nuance works to reinvent relationships with technology via voice recognition, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual assistance, chatbots, health IT, the Internet of Things (IoT), and more. Barb Bartoszek’s Nuance article point out one area that many companies overlook when reducing costs: implementing a print management solution.
Three key points we like from How to Reduce Costs and Paper Consumption by Printing All You Want:
- Print management solutions with print release can reduce expenses and increase productivity
- Rather than having employees print documents immediately, print release reduces the amount of unused printed documents and saves paper
- Print release increases productivity because it requires employees to authenticate print jobs at the printer so they don’t waste valuable time searching for printed documents that may have been picked up by someone else or inadvertently were sent to another printer
41. Implement technology to track information
Lutz is an accounting and business solutions firm for businesses and individuals who want to “energize and heighten financial and organizational success.” Michael Bierman, Lutz Software development manager, examines how to reduce costs using automation technology. COOs should consider his suggestion to implement technology to track information.
Three key points we like from How Technology Can Help Reduce Business Costs through Automation:
- Mistakes can occur even with automation, so businesses need to track information carefully
- Use built-in reporting features to track projects, accounting, and other pieces of information
- Use built-in flags to get notifications if people go over time on a project or if numbers do not add up to previous benchmarks
42. Manage your contractors
CIO.com delivers the latest news, analysis, video, blogs, tips, and research for IT professionals and others interested in technology. Experienced IT executive Bob Ronan’s CIO.com article offers a dozen ways for C-suite executives to lower IT costs while optimizing the value you deliver to business partners. Ronan warns you to manage your contractors because their costs often get out of control because they are not subject to the same watchful eye as employees.
Three key points we like from 12 Killer Ways to Reduce Your IT Costs:
- Don’t use more costly contractors than necessary in the name of flexibility as business conditions change
- Publish a count of the number of contractors you have, the amount you pay them, and how much overtime they work to increase visibility for better management
- Ensure you focus on using contractors only as needed for their specific skills
43. Optimize software configurations
Gartner is the world’s leading research and advisory company. As such, they help business leaders in every industry with the objective insights required for making accurate decisions. In this article, Gartner offers best practices for reducing software costs including optimizing software configurations. After all, Gartner projected that organizations would spend $332 billion on software.
Three key points we like from Gartner Says Organizations Can Cut Software Costs by 30 Percent Using Three Best Practices:
- Be aware that the default configuration on most software typically is the most expensive for clients
- When looking for savings in software configuration, focus on data center software
- You have the best chances of cutting spending when carefully analyzing the high cost associated with software configuration; some organizations save millions of dollars
44. Optimize the operating model and leverage digital
McKinsey & Company offers insights into saving insurance operating costs in this report, which encourages CIOs and COOs to optimize the operating model and leverage digital as much as possible. While the report focuses on the insurance industry, leaders in other industries easily can apply their advice to your company.
Three key points we like from Successfully Reducing Insurance Operating Costs:
- Take a holistic examination of the operating model including processes, location footprint, supporting technology, employee skills, sourcing, and organizational and governance structures
- Optimizing your operating model depends on the context; do not look for a universal solution
- Digitize your processes as much as possible to reduce costs via automation
45. Self-service technologies
Paychex provides payroll, HR, and benefit services, as well as insights and answers, to its users. In this article, the company explores how companies can leverage technology solutions to reduce costs, especially those associated with labor. One of their suggestions is implementing self-service technologies. Paychex points out that reducing labor costs should be part of a comprehensive human capital management (HCM) strategy.
Three key points we like from How Technology Can Reduce Labor Costs:
- Reducing the amount of time staff spends on low-value administrative work is a surefire way to reduce costs
- Technology investments like self-service components of benefits administration and enrollment reduce routine administrative tasks and save employees time so they can be more productive
- Find technology solutions for time-consuming, mundane tasks to free up employees for more high-value activities to optimize your workforce
46. Take advantage of automation
Connection Cafe is a leading voice in new and emerging technologies and digital media. In this Business Technology article, they consider various ways to reduce business costs using technology. One suggestion is to take advantage of automation to reduce the number of employees you need.
Three key points we like from 5 Ways to Cut Business Costs Using Technology:
- Automation tools allow far fewer employees to complete more work than a larger workforce can accomplish
- Utilize professional services automation software to handle tasks like taxation, payroll, and invoicing
- Automation tools also are efficient and precise enough that they can free employees to focus on other work, which also contributes to savings by reducing the number of salaried employees you need
47. Take advantage of free apps and tools
Boston University’s digital newspaper, A Deeper Look features student-authored culture, business, health, and tech articles. James McAlpine’s article explores five ways that businesses can utilize technology to reduce costs, including embracing the cloud and taking advantage of free apps and tools.
Three key points we like from 5 Ways to Cut Business Costs Using Technology:
- Scope around for software to find free, quality alternatives to expensive business apps and software
- Conduct a trial of free apps and tools to see if they will suit your needs
- Use the internet and free social media tools to advertise and reach customers instead of relying on expensive marketing tools
48. Use maintenance benchmarking
FM BENCHMARKING, a collaboration between Facility Issues and FMLink, is an online benchmarking tool for facility managers and CREs. In this article, they acknowledge that facilities managers also are under pressure to reduce costs, but tighter maintenance budgets make it difficult to keep facilities in top condition. Their solution to reducing costs while maintaining facilities more efficiently is to utilize maintenance benchmarking tools to better understand your costs and better utilize your budget.
Three key points we like from Benchmarking Maintenance Best Practices to Reduce Your Operating Costs:
- Use maintenance benchmarking to compare your costs to others in your peer group and see where you can make improvements
- Determine how well your facility performs maintenance functions and where you can better utilize resources using maintenance benchmarking tools
- Use benchmarking tools to understand how to streamline maintenance tasks and optimize workers’ time
49. Utilize mobile apps
The SMS Group creates data integration solutions to help company leaders discover inefficiencies, predict needs, and make informed decisions. Their article highlights the ways in which mobile apps reduce manufacturing costs by increasing efficiency, especially in terms of streamlining workflow.
Three key points we like from 6 Ways Mobile Apps Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs for Manufacturers:
- Save time and fuel costs by using mobile apps to visualize, optimize, and update shipping and vehicle tracking in real time
- Use mobile apps to ensure assets run at peak performance with faster response times, decreased downtime, and lower maintenance costs
- Use mobile apps to increase employee visibility, which empowers you to more accurately manage teams and get the nearest available employees to jobs more quickly to increase productivity
50. Voice-enabling technology
Multichannel Merchant is a complete online resource covering all areas of marketing, management, and operations for companies using catalogs, direct, and digital and eCommerce channels. Curt Barry’s Multichannel Merchant article centers on reducing costs in warehouses by increasing efficiency and using technology tools such as voice-enabling tech.
Three key points we like from 10 Ways to Improve Warehouse Efficiency and Reduce Costs:
- Search for a voice-enabled technology vendor that has reduced costs to make the tech available to businesses of all sizes
- Apply voice enabling to all processes and departments to improve inventory control and increase productivity
- Ensure you choose voice applications that you can install quickly, require no IT or modifications to you warehouse management system (WMS), don’t require extensive training, and have a fast ROI to reduce costs as much as possible