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Brother's mobile expert, Ged Cairns

Productivity - small steps to big wins

Ged Cairns

Head of AutoID Solutions, Brother UK

It’s fair to say that weak productivity is a puzzle that has perplexed the UK ever since we emerged from recession. 

When the financial crisis hit, UK productivity stalled, and it remains significantly below its pre-recession peak almost 10 years later, making it harder for homegrown firms to compete internationally. 

Research has found that 86 per cent of SMBs have productivity issues, and there are 34,000 SMBs – defined by Brother as firms with between 50 and 249 employees – in the UK.

So, what is holding us back? 

One route to improve company productivity efficiency is through better technology. 

Growing numbers of businesses are recognising that mobile technology holds the potential to enhance productivity, enabling people to work on the move.

Over a third (36 per cent) of firms told researchers working on our report Looking into the tools of Digital Transformation that they have earmarked funds for investing in technology this year, and that improving productivity was their main priority.

By 2022, 42.5 per cent of the global workforce is expected to be mobile, with mobile tech enabling anyone from engineers to auditors, from social care workers to surveyors, to work effectively away from an office setting. 

Transformational technology

Brother’s mobile printers, labellers and scanners have proved transformational for businesses like Hillarys Blinds, whose sales advisers carry tablets, connected wirelessly by Bluetooth to a mobile printer from our super-compact MW range to print out quotes, order confirmations and receipts for customers in their homes. 

Hillarys says the solution is generating £2 million to £3 million additional sales opportunities and has seen an immediate return on investment, increasing its 2,000 advisers’ productivity, allowing them to attend more sales appointments and convert more business. 

We’ve developed our RuggedJet range of compact and extremely durable receipt and label printers – the fastest in their class – for professions like field sales, delivery drivers and mobile engineers, where reliability and speed is key.

Our versatile A4 PocketJet range means there’s no need to sacrifice quality for portability, bringing sharp text, and crisp graphics to the mobile workforce, with rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth/WiFi connectivity and advanced Direct Thermal Printing Technology, eliminating the need to buy ink, toner or ribbons. 

You’ll find that, whatever your mobile needs, Brother has a mobile print solution to suit. 

But there are also ways Brother technology can improve efficiency back in the office too. 

Many firms are finding a cloud-based Managed Print Service (MPS) can enable them to grow their productivity by making previously time-consuming processes far more efficient, taking the responsibility for managing their print network off their hands.

Costs and control

MPS can potentially cut costs by up to 30 per cent every year, depending on the size of the organisation and its print requirements. 

The business pays an agreed cost per page for all printing, with all print supplies automatically reordered when they are running low and any repairs are taken care of, including parts and labour. 

As well as freeing up management time, firms can monitor all print activity in real time through an online portal, something that Colin Kendrick, Head of IT at Day Lewis Pharmacy, says really paid dividends for his business. 

He said: “We have a view of every printer in our organisation and how it is performing. This visibility and the ability to control our efficiency is refreshing in business.” 

Boosting productivity in the workplace so UK businesses can compete effectively internationally has been called the biggest economic challenge we face as a country.

Let’s tackle it together.

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