Businesses are a complex web of interactions that often exceeds the bandwidth available. Like most business owners, you constantly struggle to manage everything necessary to help your business function at optimal efficiency. You face a constant stream of mundane issues that, if ignored, can become huge problems. Plus, you might find unplanned events throw a monkey wrench in your planning. And, forget about finding time to plan for your business future. Automation drives success by managing your everyday workflow so nothing falls through the cracks, allowing you can focus on problems that arise and plan for a more successful future.
By automating, you can eliminate the need for manual input that’s time-consuming and error-prone, routine tracking to ensure everything works at peak efficiency, and free up your employees’ time so they can focus on more critical tasks. Here are the top six reasons to automate your business processes:
Automation drives success
Improve accuracy, speed, and reduce errors
Every time you manually enter information, you face the potential of human error. Humans are simply not designed for repetitive tasks such as entering columns of data. Humans need variety and, when forced to perform the same task over and over, their minds wander looking for the necessary stimulation they crave. A momentary slip of focus can mean a worker removes a finger or misses a misalignment of a bolt that supports an entire assembly. Transposing numbers, misaligning columns of numbers, and other failures in entering information are common.
Plus, it takes time to enter information when compared with simply importing the information in a digital format. When you automate your business processes, you eliminate the potential for human error. This is especially important for tasks that require repetitive data entry or are subject to a high degree of variability.
Lots of business processes benefit from automation, from those critical for success to the more mundane. For instance, an accounting error can have devastating consequences when you inaccurately bill a customer as inaccurate billing has a high piss-off quotient.
Some business processes require producing products to very low tolerances. A small error can have catastrophic consequences. The entire premise of zero defects comes from the reality that checking for small errors along the production process results in fewer defective products. Automating your assembly line to check products during the process results in fewer mistakes and lower costs. In these cases, automation drives success but also saves lives.
For example, welding automation is used in the aerospace industry to help improve the accuracy of welding processes and ensure that welds are consistent and meet specifications, thus improving commercial aircraft safety. The same is true for other manufacturing processes, such as car and medical device assembly, where a small mistake can cost lives.
Automating these processes helps improve your end product by reducing the number of errors that occur.
Another significant advantage of automation is that it can save you a lot of time. When tasks are automated, the transmission of information is nearly instantaneous.
In addition, automating tasks can help improve communication and collaboration by allowing employees to share information and work on tasks more efficiently. This notion underpins JIT (just-in-time manufacturing) where orders come in from customers, the information is transmitted to the operations department where production is scheduled and orders are automatically generated to suppliers to replenish materials required to meet your customer order. Once the order ships, the system sends an invoice, prints a bill of lading, and, in some cases, the paperwork necessary for customs to speed the shipment through international boundaries. For instance, most trucks and rail cars coming from are pre-cleared through international borders to the US without slowing down transportation.
Automation drives success by increasing efficiency. When I was younger, my uncle worked as a lineman for the local utility company. His job involved going from substation to substation to ensure the equipment was working at top performance. Of course, it took him days to make the circuit of all the stations in his district. What happens if a transformer goes haywire in between his regular visits? Someone loses their power.
Today, companies don’t employ linemen for this task. Instead, they use the Internet of Things (IoT) to constantly monitor performance. If a piece of equipment goes beyond certain pre-set levels, the company sends someone out to perform maintenance before the device goes offline, thus avoiding outages and costly repairs.
Automation drives success by keeping track of routine elements such as maintenance of the company’s fleet of vehicles. Image, if you have hundreds of machines and vehicles. Keeping track of when each one needs inspection and routine maintenance manually means you likely miss an event, which may negate your warranty.
Some tasks, such as posting to social media, are just annoying without automation. You know you need to post to your chosen social platforms on a consistent basis, not every month or so. Below, you can see the recommended posting frequency for the most popular social platforms.
Sticking to this schedule isn’t always easy, especially for small businesses without a dedicated social media team. Some days, you just get busy and forget to post something. On other days, you must interrupt your other work multiple times to log in, compose a post, and upload it. This type of disruption reduces your productivity.
Plus, it ignores the reality that there’s more to a social media strategy than simply posting. You must respond to your community, listen to brand mentions, and interact with users. Using social media automation tools such as Buffer means you can post an entire week or month of content in just a few minutes, alleviating the need to interrupt your work to create a post. Analytics tools offered as part of the automation software allow you to also do the other things that support your social media marketing strategy.
Automation drives success by reducing costs associated with human manual labor. You can also reduce costs associated with storing information since cloud storage is much cheaper than storing data in a bunch of filing cabinets. You can also retrieve needed data more quickly when stored in relational databases versus having to sort through paper storage. That’s especially true when you store reams of paper offsite.
Add to this the cost savings from scheduling regular maintenance to reduce downtime and costly repairs and you find that automation drives success.
Improve customer service
In the business world, customer service is key to maintaining a good reputation and ensuring repeat business. By providing excellent customer service, you keep your existing customers happy and attract new ones through the recommendations of satisfied customers. There are several ways to improve customer service such as providing prompt and courteous service, offering discounts or coupons, and making it easy for customers to contact you with questions or concerns. The faster you address customer issues, the less likely you are to face damage to your reputation.
Yet, keeping track of the data necessary to provide excellent customer service isn’t easy, especially when you have a large number of customers and prospects visiting you every day. Let’s say you want to offer discounts to customers who meet certain conditions, such as the number or amount of orders in the last 6 months. Determining which customers get the offer in real-time is nearly impossible without automation, especially in an online transaction.
Chatbots also help handle routine queries and complaints almost instantly. The faster you handle these issues the happier your customers are.
In today’s business world, it’s important to stay competitive. Automating your business processes can help you do just that. By automating, you can improve your efficiency and accuracy and free up your employees’ time so they can focus on more critical tasks. This gives you a leg up on the competition or at least provides parity with your competitors who already automated their processes.
Automation is a great way to improve accuracy, save time, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer service. Now is the time to start if you still need to use automation in your business. There are many different ways to use automation to drive success, so find the one that best fits your needs.
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