Benefits of implementing workflow automation
Workflow automation can significantly contribute to an organization’s success on many different levels.
Virtually every business always strives to be more efficient than before to reduce operational expenses and maximize profitability. In today’s saturated and very competitive business world, companies need to utilize their available resources to achieve their objectives efficiently.
Otherwise, they can’t stay ahead of their competition.
One of the most viable options for improving business efficiency is workflow automation.
Workflow automation by utilizing the right technologies has emerged as a way for businesses to eliminate human involvement and supervision from executing time-consuming and repetitive tasks. As a result, companies can cut operational expenses for performing these tasks while also eliminating human errors.
With various advancements in technologies in recent years, there are so many business processes and elements to implement workflow automation.
What Is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation refers to how we use tools and technologies to automate workflows or business processes to:
- Reduce or eliminate labor costs associated with hiring in-house employees
- Freeing up valuable employees’ time from executing repetitive administrative tasks
- Improving organizational productivity
- Reducing operational expenses
Not all workflows can and should be automated, some are impossible to automate due to the lack of technologies, and some might be too expensive to automate.
In general, we should automate workflows that are:
- Repetitive and/or time-consuming to execute
- Don’t require advanced decision-making to completion
- It’s prone to errors, and accuracy and consistency is essential for this workflow
Principles In Performing Workflow Automation
While the actual implementation of workflow automation may vary depending on the process itself, here are some essential principles to follow:
- Make sure you’ve understood the workflow properly
Before implementing automation, you need to understand the workflow and the existing system around it thoroughly.
It’s important to understand that it’s only worth automating a workflow when it’s already efficient. Automating inefficient workflow will also amplify its inefficiencies, which might be counterproductive in the long run.
It’s imperative to first map the workflow with workflow mapping software so you can have a bird’ eye view of the whole process. With proper visualization via workflow mapping, you can quickly identify bottlenecks and redundancies to optimize the workflow as much as possible.
- Check for consistency
The automated workflow would be consistent with the surrounding business processes.
Remember that all the workflows in your business are unique from one another, so when automating a workflow, you have to make sure it doesn’t disrupt other processes and their corresponding inputs and outputs.
- Focus on the smallest steps, one step at a time
It’s important to understand that you don’t have to automate all the workflow steps at once. Doing so might end up resulting in the automation process being too expensive. You can automate workflows partially, and if necessary, you can divide the automation project into several phases.
- Automated workflow=simpler workflow
Focus on simplicity: workflow automation aims to make it simpler, not more complex than before. Evaluate the workflow after it’s automated. If it requires more human supervision than intervention, then something’s wrong.
- Make sure it’s scalable and agile
Your workflows and business processes will evolve, so make sure the automation technology is versatile enough to adapt and follow your business’s evolution.
An automated workflow will only reach its maximum value once your team understands how to use it properly. The better your team understands a business process, the better the automation will function and integrate with other processes. Again, workflow mapping is essential so everyone in your team can adequately understand what the workflow is about.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
Does your business need workflow automation? Here, we will discuss some key benefits that workflow automation can bring to your business:
Improved Cost Efficiency
Probably the most important benefit of implementing workflow automation is cost reduction. Workflow automation can significantly help in reducing your operational expenses (especially human labor costs) and improve profitability.
For example, it’s probably much cheaper to run automated software 24/7 than hiring three employees to fulfill three different shifts. Also, it’s no secret that human employees are bound to make errors, which can cost a lot in the long run. Eliminating these errors can end up saving your business much money.
Automation can free up your key employees from redundant administrative tasks like invoicing and billing. If we can automate these tasks, we can allow these employees to focus on their competencies and contribute more to achieving your organizational objectives.
More Control Over Your Workflows
Automation is a great way to establish control throughout your business processes. Why? Any workflow that has been automated is essentially always under your control and always documented. You’ll get clear records that can tell you what was performed.
Improve Employee Morale and Productivity
A common issue in implementing automation is that employees and managers fear that automation can take over employees’ roles. However, while indeed automation might reduce shifts of employees and even eliminate some roles, it can help improve the morale of existing employees by providing them more opportunities to use their core competencies and develop a sense of purpose.
Workflow automation can significantly contribute to an organization’s success on many different levels. Also, while in the past automating business processes used to be very expensive when businesses are required to invest in the costly installation of automation solutions on-site, nowadays, various cloud solutions are affordable and accessible.
However, the key is to ensure your workflow is already efficient before you automate them. Having an advanced workflow management solution can help ensure the efficiency and transparency of all your workflows.