Strategy

Keep it lean, keep ’em keen: Five tips from Ecosa founder Ringo Chan

Ringo Chan /

lean business model

Ecosa director Ringo Chan. Source: Supplied.

Business growth is all about achieving sales and revenue targets, continually improving on last year’s performance, and doing it with purpose.

In an industry built on challenging the status quo of traditional mattress sales, lean business is a big driver in Ecosa’s growth.

Here are my top tips for keeping a business lean.

1. Find ways to cut out the middleman

The online retail industry is shaking up the way people buy — and how businesses keep lean in the process.

For example, mattress and bed sales were originally showroom-based, which involves hefty rents, commission-based salespeople and floor stock that may never be sold. By selling products online, you can cut out the middleman, slash fixed costs and pass those savings on to your customers.

The result? A streamlined ordering process, and a high-quality product that’s accessible to more Australians.

2. Optimise your processes

Product or service trials allow you to put your customer in control of their preferences. Not only are you minimising barriers to purchase, but also serving up transparency and trust by the bucket load.

That said, offerings like trials and satisfaction guarantees have the potential to be a customer service nightmare if handled poorly. Optimising your delivery and returns process is crucial to benefit from this kind of business model. 

3. Make the most of online communications

The beauty of doing business in the modern world is the ease of online communications.

Your team no longer needs to be physically in the same office, time zone or even country to work together. Having offices, factories and warehouses across the globe mean that interdepartmental collaboration happens online. We’re big fans of Trello and Slack!

By nutting out processes that allow for collaboration from anywhere in the world, you’re minimising downtime and expensive travel for in-person meetings. 

4. Reward your team

Rewarding your staff is critical to keeping your operations lean.

By working smarter, you can get more done with less manpower, or equally, womanpower!

Employees in our Melbourne office work on flexi-time, allowing them to sleep in when they need to, or get an early start (and finish) when they feel like it. We also provide all staff with a mattress and bed base once they pass their probation period, so they know exactly what it’s like to sleep the Ecosa way. 

5. Optimise your products for lean logistics

For example, traditional mattress deliveries were always a two-man job. However, we designed our mattresses to be compressed into easy to handle boxes, meaning one delivery person is sufficient. This slashes labour costs and makes the overall delivery process simpler and more streamlined.

By designing your products or packaging smarter, it results in quicker delivery for your customers at a lesser cost for your business. 

NOW READ: The ‘anti-startup’ story: How to turn $1,000 into $15 million with no investment

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Ringo Chan

Ringo is the founder and director at bedding company Ecosa, which launched in Australia in 2015, expanded into Hong Kong and New Zealand in 2016, then to the USA in 2017.

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