14 Feb Why Automate Business Processes?
We all know the difference between working hard and working productively – of course, if done correctly they both go hand in hand, but it is possible to be working hard but not be as productive as you could be. Obviously, as business owners – and employees alike – we want to be working as hard as we can in the most productive way possible.
Business process automation (BPA) is the way to make this possible. Give the mundane tasks to technology and empower your team to be creative and solve problems rather than allow them to spend their time on tasks that are beneath their skill set.
BPA has one goal in its design – to complete repetitive actions with either no or very little intervention from humans. It focuses on how automation can simplify and streamline business processes.
So, why would you automate business processes? Things are going okay now so why change it – right? Well, with BPA the possibilities really are endless – let’s explore now why you would want to automate business processes.
Why Automate Business Processes?
Every business owner in the world wants to do more with less, and with BPA it is possible to have a smaller team and to free up valuable time for innovation and growth. BPA can make massive financial differences too, whilst saving time and reducing the risk of human error in the organization.
3 Benefits of BPA
There are far more than three benefits to using BPA, but, in our opinion, these are the most influential:
As we already covered briefly, business owners and workers alike will have the chance to focus on what they do best and carrying out those tasks assigned to their skillset. They will be able to leave machines to do the rest without fear that things won’t be getting done. This allows work to be completed faster than before whilst containing fewer human errors, and – depending on the industry sector your organization resides in – could mean that there are less injuries due to falls and strains, in turn improving employee wellbeing.
Increased process visibility
BPA allows you to look at your business processes with a microscope. We all think we are familiar with the way work processes flow in our workplaces but, in reality, many of us have little idea of exactly what happens behind the scenes. Micromanaging your workflow allows you to decide which steps are worth keeping and what could be done to improve the procedures you and your team rely on. Once having fine-tuned processes, everything can run like the well-oiled machine it should be.
Adding automation is considerably cheaper than paying a person to carry out the same job. You may also be able to reduce your team; upon inspection you may discover that you have team members whose sole role is to do a job that can be managed by tech.
Let’s now take a look at some of the areas of your business that you can automate.
7 Key Areas of Your Business to Automate
We all know the parts of our business that can be automated to make operations run smoother, but there are also other areas within your business that can be automated that aren’t quite as obvious and which will give you benefits immediately. Let’s take a look at them now.
Marketing automation can be revolutionary – it can be utilized across multiple channels, including email marketing, paid search, and social advertisements. For example, if you want some social blogs to post to Facebook across the week, you can create a flow that will post them automatically on the days and times of your choice – without any contribution from your team.
The nature of finance consists mainly of working with numeric values. The data is often transferred around the organization in reports and makes its way through different departments in order to keep the company on a familiar financial footing.
The creation of any finance report can be either partially or fully automated. For example, Accounts Payable automation (AP) is often used to automate invoicing. Not only will this avoid human error and increase efficiency but also reduce cost. You can take automated invoicing one step further too, by integrating invoice processes with supply chain data or even shipping receipts.
Most sales processes (both internally and externally) can be automated either partially or fully. Ultimately, the goal of the sales team (wherever they are working) is the same – to close as many sales as possible. But, with automation, this goal changes – to close more sales daily than was possible before automation was introduced.
Good examples of sales force automation include lead generation, customer contact messaging, and transaction detail tracking. All of which can massively improve the quality of service your team can produce.
There are many ways that automation can improve product development. In all cases, the level of productivity and efficiency automation makes possible allows your skilled employees to produce better results faster. For example, car makes have been using BPA for quite some time and, with the rise in popularity of electric cars, industry groups are calling for automation to be used in their production too.
No matter how good our business processes are, there can still be flaws. Automation can be used to detect these flaws, allowing you to adjust manufacturing robotics, for example, to correct the defect in following units on the production line. Data can also be analyzed automatically; you can then use what you have learnt to ensure that whatever caused the flaw doesn’t have the chance to do the same again or use automation to automatically dispatch an employee to locate and replace any faulty parts before any major equipment failures. With this being possible, it allows you to reduce expensive and – even more important – reputation damaging product defects and recall.
Automation can be a massive contributor in improving customer satisfaction. For example, Chatbots can immediately remove the need for human intervention, allowing your clients to ask the Chatbot the lower-tier questions which will quickly and inexpensively answer their queries, giving your team members time to answer questions from clients with more complex problems.
Customers do, of course, need human support sometimes. Automation allows purchase history and product data to be automatically fed into the ‘script’ your team work from, meaning they can provide relevant answers to your client base.
General Business Functions
Implementing automation in your business processes wherever possible will allow you to increase the insight you provide to business leaders and minimize any inefficiencies, errors, or compliance issues. If you find every possible place to use automation, you could simplify everything; for example, sales forecasting, employee onboarding, payroll, and inventory are just some of the multitudes of reasons to use automation.
What is worth remembering is that all of this isn’t only for large multinational corporations. As a small to medium business, you can also benefit from what it has to offer – explore the possibilities and we are certain you will consider implementing automation as a key addition to work processes.
In the following article, we will look at the different ways you can automate your systems, in turn increasing productivity, communication, and collaboration amongst your team.
Founded in 1984, Horizon started off as a custom software company doing work for Snap-on Tools. We rapidly added helpdesk and network support to the business and have continued expanding our capabilities ever since – all while also successfully transitioning to a second generation of owners.
Our team has over a hundred years of combined experience in virtually every field of IT. We are trusted by clients of every size, from ‘mom ‘n’ pop’ local businesses all the way to multinational corporations who have heavy security and inter-connectivity requirements. Our employees deliver a truly customer-focused direction in everything we do.
After more than thirty years in business, Horizon continues to grow both our client base and our knowledge. We look forward to working with you to help your business enjoy that same success. Contact us now and see what we can do you.