For sales managers, supply chain managers, and operations directors alike, metrics are vital. The larger an organization grows, the more complex it becomes.

That growth is a positive because it involves products or services that sell. However, lurking in the shadows of expansion are the little imps that eat away at profit and can bog down your business: lost productivity and mismanaged resources.

Since leadership must measure to manage effectively, here are three tips to improve productivity and ensure resources aren’t being used unwisely.

1. Establish a baseline

Where does productivity today stand? How many phone calls per day does the insides sales team make? How long were those phone calls? How many orders are being processed? How many errors are made that require additional time to remedy the faulty order?

Looking at the organization and determining what key activities each position entails is a great place to start. A few simple questions will illuminate the areas that need to improvement. Implementing goals to boost those metrics is a way to communicate with the workforce: decreased productivity affects the bottom line, which implicates job security, which should concern each individual employee.

Analyzing data is another part of this initial step: How are resources being used? Could the process be done more effectively? Whether it’s employee time, IT expenditures, or supply chain spend, analyzing the numbers will highlight where improvements can be made to become a more efficient, leaner organization.

2. Keep it collaborative

The flip side to the numbers and metrics is this: a company is ultimately successful because of its people. Having a work environment that is collaborative, energetic, and goal-oriented translates into happier and more productive employees.

The need to work across multiple departments with a variety of people to complete one project means that if some individuals have less involvement or buy-in, the entire project is stalled. Which ties into the need for…

3. Planning!

Improving planning is a must. By incorporating the analytics and the people, project management sets budgetary guidelines and benchmarks, and maps out who will deliver what to eventually complete the project at hand. Using software tools for project management has proven to be a highly effective way to communicate with stakeholders and employees alike.

Configurations streamline who receives what information while also creating forums to brainstorm and contribute — both of which increase productivity. Many of these applications integrate with existing CRMs like Salesforce.com and email programs like Outlook to shrink the learning curve while capturing important data and facilitating greater communication.

Marrying the best of both worlds, management can establish the true health of the company with KPIs (key performance indicators) through the use of a project management software application while simultaneously providing employees with the tools to be more effective.