By Tennille Bell, General Manager: Sales at Programmed Process Outsourcing (PPO)
To minimise environmental impact, many organisations seek to implement eco-conscious strategies into their operational practices. If reducing their environmental impact was not enough of an incentive, implementing sustainable practices can result in cost savings for businesses while giving them a competitive edge with customers looking for sustainability-focused providers. By making resource conservation a priority, businesses can position themselves for long-term success and contribute to a more sustainable future. Here, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies can play a crucial role in making this shift to sustainability easier to achieve by adopting greener practices and technologies in their operations, and by offering consulting and support services to assist their clients in doing the same.
Going green: why businesses should care
Along with saving the planet, pursuing more sustainable practices makes good business sense, and there are several positive benefits to be gained from going green:
- Fulfilling environmental responsibility: Sustainable practices help businesses lessen their environmental impact by reducing waste, and conserving natural resources.
- Money talks – the economic benefits: Sustainable practices can result in cost savings. By reducing energy consumption, businesses can lower utility bills. By reducing waste, businesses can reduce disposal costs and spend less on consumables.
- Giving customers what they want: Consumers are more concerned about the environmental impact of the businesses they support. By adopting sustainable practices, companies can attract eco-conscious consumers and build relationships with them.
- Regulatory compliance edge: Worldwide governments are implementing more stringent regulations and by proactively adopting sustainable practices, businesses can ensure compliance and avoid potential fines and legal issues.
- New competitive advantage: Sustainable practices can differentiate businesses from the competition, helping to establish themselves as leaders in their industry. This will help attract new customers and enhance the brand’s reputation.
Outsourcing for sustainability
Going green isn’t something that businesses have to plan, implement and achieve on their own. As a quick-win starting point, BPO services such as data entry and document management can help companies reduce their paper usage and waste. Outsourcing digitisation is an effective strategy that can help companies convert their paper-based documents into digital formats. This eliminates the need for paper storage and reduces the amount of paper waste generated by the company, as well as eliminating the costs associated with printing.
Push productivity, not paper
Going paperless has more than a sustainability outcome. It can also boost productivity. For example, in a warehouse scenario that previously had a supervisor running the floor with a clipboard and a pre-printed spreadsheet to track individual performances, replacing the clipboard with a tablet to facilitate digital performance capturing, will boost performance. Whether it’s picking, packing, receiving, or putting away, the supervisor can capture individual performance numbers in real-time, which are displayed on a TV monitor for all in the warehouse to see. This way individuals can see exactly where they are in the target range, what they need to do to achieve the target, and when they are over the target and into the green on an earnings basis.
Cut the commute
By replacing paper with a tablet-based tracking solution, it is possible to pick up the pace on performance, while reducing the carbon footprint and consumables cost of the business. Not only does this allow the supervisor to better track production, but anyone can log in remotely, monitor performance and implement direct impact changes without being on-site. This allows the warehousing team to respond to fluctuating demands, proactively. Digitisation of other paperwork (such as contracts and invoices) and manual processes also save time, while reducing all costs associated with document management, including storage and disposal. Face-to-face meetings and interviews have already been replaced with online video meetings, eliminating the costs and carbon impact of travel. BPO services can help companies adopt environmentally-friendly practices by encouraging them to reduce their paper usage and waste. This can include providing recommendations on how to minimise paper usage and promoting recycling initiatives.
Ongoing green impact
It is important, however, that BPO providers align with their client’s sustainability goals from the outset when signing the Service Level Agreement (SLA) that governs their relationship. One of the main benefits of working with a BPO provider to assist with sustainability initiatives is to increase efficiencies. A BPO provider can help identify areas where the business can reduce waste, energy consumption, and other expenses associated with unsustainable practices, while the business saves money on energy bills, reduce waste disposal costs, and most importantly, improves overall efficiency. There is also the benefit of aligning and improving occupational health and safety levels and compliance, which in itself is a massive win. Furthermore, in line with the nature of service from a BPO, sustainability initiatives implemented will be continuously monitored, measured and tweaked for consistent improvement. This gives the organisation the breathing space (and budget) to pursue other sustainability and revenue-generating initiatives, making the business more efficient, productive and sustainable.