25 Ways Business Process Automation Can Improve Productivity
May 20, 2020
Time is money, especially when you are paying premium hourly wages or salaries. In some cases, you can add business process automation to increase your bottom line.
Hyper automation is even better when you can use it. Hyper automation combines intelligent automation such as artificial intelligence and machine learning for discovery, design, analytics, measuring, monitoring, and reassessment of a process.
For business process automation to be successful, everyone in the company must be on board with the process, from the CEO to those who work out in the field and maintenance workers. The benefits of business process automation are many.
1. Reduced Costs
When you do a task manually, you can do one at a time, and the time it takes you to do it is slower than a machine can do the task. Because it takes longer to do the job, it costs more in payroll. When you use business process automation, you use fewer resources, which means that you can also open up those resources for other processes that you cannot or should not automate. Using automation software also increases customer service because you can serve more customers in a shorter amount of time with more reliability.
Businesses can reduce costs in all types of companies and all factions of their companies. Whether you offer retail, production, services or other businesses, you have several departments where you could reduce costs by partially or wholly automating processes.
2. Time Savings
When a human performs a task, it takes longer than if a computer or machine performs the task. Another way you save time is the elimination of mistakes. If a human makes a mistake, he or she must do the task over, thus using more time. In addition to saving time, business process automation reduces costly errors. Business process automation, including hyper-automation, also reduces turnaround times for staff and customers because you can optimize information flow from production through billing and collections.
3. Increased Productivity
Productivity needs to grow as your business grows. When you can’t increase productivity because of limited funds for payroll, your business becomes stagnant and you never reach the next milestone of the future x-figure profit. Intelligent automation and hyper-automation allow you to do more for less and increase reliability at the same time for all areas of operation, including IT operations, administrative processes, production and management.
4. Optimization of Performance
You can look at the optimization of performance in two ways: Optimizing your computers to work faster and better, and optimizing your workforce to work better and quicker. Optimizing your workforce increases performance by automating jobs that do not require human input. It also decreases the need to pay overtime and improves employee morale by reducing the need for humans to do repetitive tasks that, while they might seem menial, are essential for the success of your business. Employees “stuck” doing these menial, but necessary jobs can now use their skills in other areas.
5. Superior Customer Service
Providing automated customer service means that you can provide superior service that is faster and more accurate. You also reduce the costs of managing a support team. While most customers prefer dealing with humans, most also prefer some information is a quick and efficient manner. For example, if a customer just needs to find out what his or her bank balance is or if an employer made an electronic deposit, a bank can disseminate that information faster via automated technology. This applies to customers who want to know what hours a business is open, or if a company is closed for a holiday. If you’ve ever called a customer service line to find out something as simple as an address or hours, you know you get irritated when you have to wait for several minutes for a human to pick up the phone.
6. Increasing Availability
With more businesses relying on computers, the expectation of availability is high. Business process automation also increases availability, especially in areas of scheduling. Instead of using a human to make reservations, take orders for your online store, create shipping orders, or even having someone show new employees how to assemble products, the business automation can take over all of those facets of your business. People can make reservations for restaurants, hotels, trains, concerts and events online – in minutes. Instead of having an employee wait for several hours for someone to show him or her how to assemble a new product, the employee can pull up assembly instructions on the computer.
7. Increasing Reliability
When you have a business, you most likely have a database. Whether it holds customer information, orders, or you use it to track marketing or appointments, you need to keep the database operating flawlessly and you need to back it up. Instead of relying on humans to run chron jobs or backup your database every day, use business process automation to perform these tasks every day, on time, and without fail. Using business process automation also ensures that these boring jobs are completed in the proper sequence.
8. Reduce Errors in Recurring Tasks
Regardless of the type of business you have, you have recurring tasks on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Whether it’s monthly billing, paying bills, inputting employee hours from time cards into a billing program, or even mailing out marketing materials, some tasks take place on a schedule. When a human errs or even calls out, these tasks could be delayed, which means that people get paid late. Business process automation ensures that these tasks are completed accurately and on time.
9. Increasing Quality
Word of mouth is the best advertisement a business can get. However, if the quality of a widget is excellent, but the next widget does not have the same quality because two different people made the widget, then that word will get out faster than sound creates a sonic boom. With automation, you can ensure that every widget you produce is of the highest quality. Whether you use automation to create millions of widgets or a special run of limited edition widgets, you will know that each widget produced will make each consumer happy with its quality.
10. Metric Visibility
Record key metrics and place them in a report that is delivered at the same time every day to help retain a competitive advantage over your competition. Create workflows to locate strategic events as they happen so that you can modify your business strategy with the confidence that the automated process locates everything you need to show you where to adjust your marketing strategy.
11. Improve Employee Morale
Employee morale depends on several factors, including how you treat the employees. It is also based on how well an employee thinks he or she is worth. If you continuously assign menial jobs, that employee may think he or she is not worth much to the company. This attitude is then transferred to customers because your customers can see when an employee isn’t happy. Instead of hiring someone for minimum wage to complete the menial jobs, automate them and give your employees more responsibility with jobs that require them to their education and experience.
12. Improved Operational Efficiency
Efficiency is a product of cost, effort and time applied to a task. When you use business process automation on any task, you get improved operation efficiency, better quality and more reliability of completion.
13. Enforce Governance
When you use business process automation, all automated tasks create a report output that tells you what task was done and when it was completed. You can easily manage all automated tasks with a click or three, whether you need to change the order of the tasks, change the time they run or make other changes to make your business more successful. For example, when using an enterprise content management system to post blogs and social media posts at certain times, you might want to change those times based on the number of people who use a specific platform at a particular time on a specific day.
14. Increased Predictability
Look for any task that has a series of steps that do not require a thought process. Those are the tasks that are most easily converted to business process automation. When these tasks become automated, the predictability of the tasks becomes more reliable. You’ll end up with better quality products because the tasks are completed the same way every time and won’t be prone to errors. Many of these tasks are also entry-level tasks. You can save money by automating these tasks and hiring people to do those tasks that do not lend themselves to automation.
15. Hiring and Training Automation
When you have to hire new employees and then train them, you use a lot of time. You can narrow down the pool of candidates by using automation to determine the skills, experience and education of potential hires. Once automation narrows down the pool to a few employees, you can then meet with them on a face-to-face basis. Once you choose an employee, you can use automation to train the new hire for specific jobs. You can even use automation to test current employees for new duties or additional responsibilities instead of taking the time to interview every employee you think might be qualified for the job.
16. Increasing Consistency
Customers expect quality and consistency from your company. With business automated processes, you can automate the follow-up process and other customer service events so that your customers experience the same level of service from your business every time they call on you for services or products.
17. Payroll Automation
You can cut payroll costs by nearly 200 percent by automating your payroll tasks. Instead of hiring four or five people to complete the work in four to five days, you could drop your payroll department to two or three people working two to three days, depending on the size of your company. Additionally, the automated tasks will have fewer mistakes, which means happier employees. If you combine payroll automation with a time clock run by a database, you can further increase profitability and reduce errors, since the payroll process pulls employee data from the time clock database for hours worked.
18. Accounts Payable Automation
In most cases, your accounts payable are due at a certain time, whether they are on a 30-day, 60-day or 90-day payable. When you automate your accounts payable system, the automated processes sort batches, post invoices and can perform other tasks related to accounts payable. A manual sorting job that took two days could be shortened into 15 to 30 minutes, and it would be more accurate.
19. Accounts Receivable Automation
As with accounts payable, you could also automate certain aspects of accounts receivable to save time, including posting received digital payments, such as those paid via electronic transfers. Since many banks are also accepting scans of checks, you could partially automate accounts paid by check.
20. Order Entry Automation
Companies that rely on humans for data entry could save significant time and money by automating the data entry process. Instead of manually keying invoices, scan them into the system to streamline the workflow process. The automation process could also sort the invoices and send them to the appropriate department.
21. Tracking Commissions
If your business pays commissions, whether to employees, contractors or freelancers, you know that tracking those commissions can take a lot of time. Instead, use a commission tracking system to track and pay out commissions – you’ll save time and money because you’ll need fewer employees for this task, and you’ll save more money by eliminating mistakes that cause erroneous payouts.
22. Automate Mobile Order Entry
Instead of taking orders via email or over the phone, update your customer management system to accept mobile orders. Your customers enter their own orders and the system sends them to the distribution department. You’ll save tons of time and your customers’ orders will be accurate – or at least as precise as your customer is since you won’t have a human who could make an error when entering the customer’s order.
23. Automating the Cash Transaction and Reconciliation Process
Processing and reconciling cash transactions could take 40 or more hours, depending on the amount of cash a company receives. Adding an automated system could reduce that time to a mere six to eight hours. The data is sorted and forwarded to the departments as it comes in, instead of waiting for a human to go through the transactions.
24. Automating Reports and Workflow
Some businesses create daily reports and workflows for their employees. Instead of gathering that information manually, the business could use business process automation to create the reports and disseminate the reports, including workflow data.
Payroll reports, service reports, customer requests and more can be automated by using business process automation to sort data, create the proper reports and send them to the appropriate departments.
25. Integrating Systems
Integrating two or more systems could save an exponential amount of time. For example, a law office might use a customer management system to keep track of its clients. It may handle discovery by hand, including bate stamping documents, or it may have a separate system that partially automates the discovery as it is scanned in.
By combining the two processes, a firm could have a client upload documents to the system.
As the system scans the documents, it sorts them into the type of document – for example, doctors’ notes, medical invoices, photos – and bate stamp each document during the sorting process. You would eliminate those scanning and stamping, which could take hours in som