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Technology has enabled businesses to automate certain processes to the point where human intervention is unnecessary. A lot of businesses automate key processes with computing technologies. By using software to replace manual processes, companies can reduce errors, lower expenses and save more time than it usually takes to do associated tasks.
There can be several reasons why some businesses decide to automate certain workflows. In this post, we are going to discuss three of the most common.
It is understandable if your business loses money from projects that you didn’t win or if investments didn’t turn out to be as profitable as expected. What it shouldn’t lose money on is human errors. While a few errors aren’t enough to cause concern, frequent mistakes can have a serious impact on your bottom line. For example, a marketing manager in a multi million dollar firm might forget to email a valuable prospect in time and lose this client to a competitor. Similarly, a large shipment might have to be recalled because the supply chain manager mixed up the details of three different shipments bound for different destinations.
Automated workflows can prevent human errors entirely or help mitigate them in a timely manner in case they do occur. A marketing manager, for example, can use such a system to schedule emails prospects without having to remember to do so. Similarly, if you belong to supply chain sector, an automated system can also keep data of three different shipments separate thereby preventing the supply chain manager from creating a mix up in the first place.
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Everything from manual customer data entry to data migration takes time. If your employees are engaged in these repetitive tasks quite frequently, they are probably wasting the time that they could instead be using in meaningful activities that hold more value.
Consider a scenario where you have hired a few employees in the past quarter. Your project manager schedules his tasks on spreadsheets but as your workforce grows, accommodating everyone’s scheduling preferences manually becomes a tedious and repetitive activity. Automating this process is a good step for easier task management.
For example, companies today are moving towards digital solutions to automate their HR processes. Among the various reasons is the fact that these applications are allowing organizations to reduce the manual work required in tracking the timesheet of employees with multiple clock ins and clock outs in a day from records on a register. A robust system with clearly defined algorithms shall be able to provide you all the relevant information at a click of a button.
Automating workflows creates ownership for each step of the work process. For example, it helps in identifying which tasks are taking the longest and what stage they are at. Every action initiated by individual employees, respective of the work they have been assigned, is put on record, which enforces accountability for all stakeholders.
While manual reporting processes have worked for businesses in the past, it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor these tasks in time. To illustrate, consider projects where employees have different tasks and are responsible for reporting on their statuses as a project progresses. Reporting ensures accountability, however, manual reporting processes are time consuming. Once employees see that reporting takes more time than they are willing to invest, they might not be as regular or accurate in reporting their statuses. This will eventually lead to inconsistency and inaccuracy of data. Missing or erroneous data compromises the data trail and makes it difficult to hold employees accountable once inconsistencies appear in workflow.
However, these problems can be solved with workflow automation. For example, instead of prioritizing tasks by emailing team members individually, project managers can do so the same with software that enables prioritization of assignments. This would also create a data trail for easy inspection which makes work processes more transparent.
So, is workflow automation for you? If these questions hit close to the challenges you are currently facing in your own business, it might be.