Business efficiency in the UK is improving, although personal efficiency at work is in decline, according to research by SAP.
In a survey of nearly 2,000 middle to senior managers, the business software supplier found that 56% of respondents thought their company had become more efficient in the past three years. Medium-sized companies (those with £10 million to £50 million in annual revenue) perceived the greatest gains – 62% of respondents cited efficiency improvements.
The industries that had seen the greatest efficiency growth were aerospace and defence, oil and gas, and the public, health and education sectors. Most respondents (81%) said technology was the main driver for increased efficiency. However, 55% of respondents said that, on average, at least one day in their working week was not as productive as it should be, and 26% said their personal efficiency had fallen over the past three years.
Above all, senior managers felt the most inefficient, with 61% saying their time was not being used to maximum efficiency.
The main enemies of efficiency, according to the survey, are: ‘dead time’ spent commuting, especially in the the UK’s South East, and problems accessing business processes remotely (nearly half of respondents spend at least a fifth of their working hours out of the office). Another major issue is that more than half (54%) of respondents said they spend the equivalent of a day a week dealing with email.
The respondents identified several areas that, if improved, would boost efficiency: collaboration within the organisation, education and training, streamlined reporting, front and back office processes, collaboration with business partners and suppliers, and human resources processes.
“Reducing time wastage and eradicating inefficiency has never been higher on the business agenda,” says Peter Robertshaw, marketing director of SAP UK. “The business holy trinity of industry best practice, modern technology and motivated staff holds the key to improving efficiency and productivity.”
The survey identified some differences between small and large organisations. Small companies want to use web meetings as a showcase for their products and services, whereas large organisations see them as a way to facilitate colleague and partner meetings, and to reduce travel costs.
Companies in France are most likely to use web conferencing: 71% said they plan to do so, whereas only 50% in the UK and Germany have similar plans.