Planning is a crucial part of business management. Getting it right can set your business on a path towards growth and ongoing success, while getting it wrong can cost you time, money and opportunities. Using the latest planning processes can help you get the outcomes right more often. With this in mind, the question is, could outdated planning processes be costing your business money?

In short, the answer is yes. Outdated planning systems are almost certainly costing your business money and missed opportunities. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) rely on manual systems, like Excel, to manage business processes.  Updating these processes and replacing manual systems with a highly responsive planning system can improve more than just profits. It can also drive increased competitiveness, agility and resilience.

Your business needs real-time data insights and agile processes to keep pace with rapid market changes. Without these insights, decision-making could be delayed or compromised, and your business may not be able to keep up with your tech-savvy competitors. This means you may miss opportunities to move into new markets or capture new customers, and even your current customers may choose to move across to your competitors due to a lack of responsiveness. Meanwhile, your business may be spending resources in areas that won’t deliver a return. The ultimate outcome is likely to be a hit to your bottom line.

Excel has been the backbone for business planning for many decades. However, as companies emerge from the impact of COVID-19 and move to improve efficiency, now is the time to replace outdated spreadsheets with a highly responsive planning system.

Improving business agility

Business agility has always been a vital component of business success, and this has become even more pronounced in 2020 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Businesses need to be able to move fast and adapt to industry changes, and pivot operations to meet new compliance and regulations.

A responsive planning system can improve the agility of your business in two important ways:

  1. Real-time insights about business performance. This data can drive change in your business by providing you with trends, department-level performance and customer insights. It can support reasoning behind operational changes and highlight areas of success or opportunities for improvement.
  2. Identifying opportunities in niche markets. Better business insights can also help you to find identify and leverage opportunities for innovation or expansion.

Protecting the bottom line

Spreadsheets can’t offer real-time insights as they only capture a moment in time that may not accurately reflect current business conditions as the market evolves. This is troublesome when trying to plan because you could be basing decisions on information that isn’t accurate. This can send you down the wrong path.

You need accurate, real-time insights to plan effectively. This includes clear visibility into your business’s financial performance, trends, opportunities and threats, so you can make decisions that position your business for growth.

Identifying business and/or market trends can also help your company prepare for quiet periods. If you know your business is usually quiet in some months and ramps up in others, you can plan your resourcing accordingly. You can also investigate ways to increase the amount of business you do in quieter months, such as offering new products or services that align with customer needs. Without accurate, real-time visibility into all these factors, you can’t make effective decisions or develop a strategy that will improve profits.

Updating your planning processes is essential for businesses that want to improve agility and the bottom line with insights and visibility.

To learn more about how responsive planning system software can benefit your business and help you to create efficient, adaptable operations for the future, download our checklist or contact the Planning Systems Group today.