Communicating with and managing contractors and suppliers can take up significant time for business owners, so implementing cloud strategies to make this easier is well worth the investment. Here’s how.
1. Use an online collaboration tool
Online collaboration tools such as Google Drive allow contractors to work together on documents and other files, and any changes are updated in real time. Files can be uploaded and stored in the cloud, giving users 24/7 access to documents from any location, which enables you to easily manage contractors working remotely. You can also move business programs such as the Office suite to the cloud, allowing contractors to access everything they need to work for you from a web browser.
2. Find a good web-based project management system
There are a number of online project management programs that allow you manage numerous projects concurrently. You can upload key documents, set milestones and keep track of where contractors are up to. These programs allow everyone to see their assigned tasks, and can be accessed from any web browser.
3. Get rid of your old fax and fax by email
Chances are that many of your suppliers do business with you by fax. You can streamline and better manage your communications by switching to a virtual fax service such as eFax. You send and receive faxes via the internet, using your computer, smartphone or tablet. You receive faxes as email attachments, and faxes you send arrive as normal on your suppliers’ fax machines. It’s as quick to fax as it is to send an email, and you’re no longer tied to the office because you can send from any mobile device. All your faxes are stored in the cloud, so you can access key communications whenever you need to.
Using these three solutions means no one is chained to the office, or certain hours of work, which can help improve overall efficiency and productivity. You can keep an eye on what your contractors are doing for example, while allowing them the flexibility to work when they want. You can manage orders from suppliers, without being near the office.
You’re probably already using the cloud for a number of business processes, for example bookkeeping and accounts. The progression to using cloud computing to manage all areas of business, including suppliers and contractors, is quite natural, especially given the quality of the options available.