Laura O’Donnell writes smart content on behalf of the business software experts at TGO Consulting. As an avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves meeting new people, traveling, and bringing her Pinterest dreams to life. Find her on LinkedIn.
If you’ve never used automated processes to help run your business, you might not even know there’s a problem. All the paper forms and procedures that have served you well before may very well be slowing you down. Of course, documentation is important in running virtually any organization, but waiting for approval and filing requisitions by paper will create inevitable slowdowns, making your work far less efficient than it would otherwise be.
Now, imagine no need for the proper form(s) for every task. Imagine being able to see all the processes that keep your business going, and having instant knowledge of where everything is going well, and where you could definitely speed things up with a little adjustment. If you want everything to run like a well-oiled machine, it’s a good plan to let an actual machine do some of the heavy lifting by automating your business processes.
In order for anything to get done, the efforts of everyone involved have to be coordinated. The unautomated process involves a lot of memos, reminders, sticky notes, meetings, and emails. Something is bound to get lost or miscommunicated. Business process automation smooths the process, putting everything everyone needs to know in a single place. If someone has a problem and wants you to know it, you can see it right away in the system dashboard and address it. An automated process creates a unified system. No emails or memos necessary.
Everyone Is Accountable
A big part of business success is everyone working together. Each person knows what to do and how to do it, so the next person in the line can do their job. Someone’s got to start the work at the right time, someone’s got to approve a step and certify it complete before the next step can be taken. Automation ensures everyone knows where they are in the process, so they can do their jobs with greater efficiency than ever before. Each step will have someone explicitly in charge. You’ll know at a glance who authorized what, who approved what, who rejected what. Once you’ve got your processes automated, you’ll never hear: “But I thought he was going to do that!”
One of the best things about a computer is that it can do monotonous tasks without its mind drifting elsewhere. Once you’ve got the process established, the machine will do it over and over again, flawlessly and tirelessly. A human at the same job, no matter how skilled or dedicated, will make a small mistake from time to time, and these errors can go unseen for a long time, until they accumulate into a major problem. This can cost a great deal in both time and money. In fact, depending upon the nature of the mistakes, it could even cost you customers. Not only will you have fewer (or in some cases, no) errors, but you’ll inevitably save money in the process. And of course, you’ll increase goodwill with the public. Any orders will be fulfilled more swiftly, and any support issues will be flagged and sent to the right person automatically so it can be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Getting everything running smoothly is just the beginning. There’s always going to be room for improvement, and your new automated business processes can show you just how to do that. Thanks to the new transparency in how your business operates, you’ll be able to see exactly how everything is put together in a concrete way. Once you see that, you’ll be able to see where things can be tuned up a bit or, just as importantly, where you need to leave things alone because they’re working just fine.
An automated system saves all the data you’ve accumulated through the time you use it, giving you plenty of information to determine the next steps you should take. Is one process still taking longer than it should? You’ll know, and be able to come up with a way to trim that time a bit.
A business generally needs a chain to function. Every function has someone to perform it, and once that’s done, it passes on to the next person and the next task. With automated approvals in place, each step has the proper people assigned to it, so the boss can do her job while everyone else does theirs. There’s never any need for constant consultation or for a manager to be looking over everyone’s shoulder anymore. The chain of command, however it’s structured in your business, will no longer be quite so tangled.
Those are only five reasons to automate your business processes, but truthfully, there are many, many more. The best way to learn what they are is to find out for yourself by researching what system will work best for you and your company.