Story image

Australian SMEs striving for improved operational efficiency

09 Sep 15

Australian small and medium sized enterprises require more effort when it comes to operational efficiency, according to OKI Data Australia.

The manufacturer of business printers and multifunction devices says that while three quarters of Australian SMEs believe their businesses are being run efficiently, they are still striving for improved operational efficiency.

The company has releases its inaugural OKI Australia SME Business Efficiency Survey, which aims to provide a unique insight into how Australian SMEs are working to make themselves more lean and cost efficient.

Of the surveyed group, 45% said they had recently undertaken efficiency initiatives while a further 23% indicated they were planning to do so soon.

Conducted last month, the survey incorporates responses from 500 SMEs across Australia. Of the sample, 57% were micro businesses (one to five people) while a further 23% had between six and 20 people. The remaining respondents had between 20 and 200 people in their businesses.

"This survey has provided an interesting view into the efficiency levels within SMEs of various sizes," says Antonio Leone, marketing manager ANZ, OKI Data Australia.

“When it comes to micro businesses, an impressive 90% said they felt they were running efficiently. However this dropped to 54% for organisations of between six and 20 people,” he says.

Leone says the survey results indicate that organisations struggle to maintain operational efficiencies and cost effectiveness as they grow.

“While a micro business can keep an effective lid on expenses, larger firms face higher charges for everything from staff costs and office space rental to electricity and technology,” he says. “It also becomes more difficult to remain as efficient when growing into a larger operation.”

The surveyed firms were asked to nominate their key costs of doing business relative to the benefits that they received from that spending. Items considered to deliver the best return included supply chain operations and marketing and advertising activities.

At the same time, respondents nominated staffing costs and information technology as among those areas in which returns were not as effective. While the staffing cost issue might be addressed through a push for changes to penalty rates (particularly in retain and hospitality), the issue of return on IT investment may require a longer-term approach, Leone explains.

"The survey results clearly show that many Australian SMEs are looking for ways to make more efficient and effective use of their IT investments," he says.

"As an example, of those who said they were operating effectively, 62% said they made the acquisition of reliable technology and extended warranties a priority. Those that did not see themselves operating efficiently did not make these factors a priority."

Of those organisations that have undertaken cost optimisation projects, the targets for that optimisation have been varied. Of those surveyed, 29% said they had realised efficiencies through reviewing their spending on advertising, 26% on IT procurement and 24% on IT maintenance.

Of the firms undertaking such projects, almost 75% reported they had been able to reduce overall expenditure by at least 6% while a quarter (25%) said they have managed to save more than 15% of total expenditure.

"The survey shows that, when it comes to improving efficiencies, Australian SMEs are really only just getting started," says Leone. "Of the survey respondents, more than 75% said they believe there is even more room for improvement."

Leone says the results are encouraging and clearly show that most Australian SMEs were continuing to proactively look for way to boost their cost efficiencies.

"I look forward to comparing these results with future surveys to see the ways in which these initiatives help to build the Australian economy,” he says. 

Dimension Data nabs three Cisco partner awards
Cisco announced the awards, including APJ Partner of the Year, at a global awards reception during its annual partner conference.
WatchGuard’s eight (terrifying) 2019 security predictions
The next evolution of ransomware, escalating nation-state attacks, biometric hacking, Wi-Fi protocol security, and Die Hard fiction becomes reality.
Why the adoption of SAP is growing among SMEs
Small and medium scale enterprises are emerging as lucrative end users for SAP.
Exclusive: How the separation of Amazon and AWS could affect the cloud market
"Amazon Web Services is one of the rare companies that can be a market leader but remain ruthlessly innovative and agile."
HPE extends cloud-based AI tool InfoSight to servers
HPE asserts it is a big deal as the system can drive down operating costs, plug disruptive performance gaps, and free up time to allow IT staff to innovate.
Digital Realty opens new AU data centre – and announces another one
On the day that Digital Realty cut the ribbon for its new Sydney data centre, it revealed that it will soon begin developing another one.
A roadmap to AI project success
Five keys preparation tasks, and eight implementation elements to keep in mind when developing and implementing an AI service.
The future of privacy: What comes after VPNs?
"75% of VPN users said they are seeking a better solution for cloud networks."