Why Your Small to Mid-Size Business Should Automate
No matter what business your company is in, if you’re a small to mid-size business, then you’re concerned with three things:
- operational costs
While large corporations also face competition and monitor costs and profits, a change in any one of them doesn’t have the same impact that it can have on smaller companies.
Small to midsize businesses compete not only with each other, but also sit squarely in the shadow of larger, more powerful companies. In order to succeed in the face of this type of competition, an investment in process automation helps small to mid-size businesses control costs, accommodate growth and compete in changing marketplace. Put simply, in order to remain competitive, you need to automate before someone else automates you out of business.
Benefits of Process Automation
In general, process automation increases efficiency and reduces costs, but most small to mid-size business owners want to have a more specific idea of what an investment in business process automation will bring them. In other words, what day-to-day changes can they expect, and what will be the results? Here’s list of common improvements that we see daily when the business owners we work with move into process automation:
- Better, faster communication
Every company has processes that are repeated regularly – from paying monthly invoices to creating bi-weekly payroll; from employee vacation requests to client intake forms. Emails, sticky notes, and paper files make for an inherently ineffective way to manage these ongoing processes.
By converting even one of these paper-based processes to a digital, automated workflow your company moves toward a streamlined communication process where each automated workflow has its own line of communication that speeds the process from start to finish. It’s even possible to account for irregularities in the processes and speed handling of those. The work flows and the manager can see a top level view that provides instant ability to identify where the process is and who is responsible for the next step. No emails, sticky notes or paper files required.
- Accountability and ownership of tasks
When you automate your workflow, you create an owner for each step of the process. Initiations, approvals, rejections, and input are all tied to the individual who performed the action. This level of transparency encourages accountability for all involved. A good business process management system provides insight into who gets their job done quickly and who needs help to handle the load, thereby increasing efficiency.
- Specified approval process
Who needs to approve invoices for payment? Who authorizes payroll transfers? Nearly every business process requires authorization at some point. Automating the approval process not only specifies who approves what, but helps to ensure that all steps have been completed prior to the request for approval, so that the process can happen quickly and without glitches.
- Higher accuracy / Lower costs
Automation removes human error. With an automated workflow, you bypass the expensive costs associated with errors and inefficiencies when a person is expected to own a business process. Late payments, slow sales approvals, and payments for goods never received all become very expensive errors. Your automated business process can show you the current state of any item and make sure these careless mistakes don’t take place.
- Access to hidden data
Every process that your company undertakes contains hidden data – information about the way your customers behave; or, lapses in response time that could be costing sales, for instance. This data is not easily available in a paper-based system, and would require hours of research and manual spreadsheet comparisons, with no guarantee of accuracy. But, with an automated system, after the workflows have been in place for a short period of time, patterns that you can see begin to emerge. You can harness this information for improved customer satisfaction and better employee satisfaction and efficiency.
Automated business process workflows may be the best investment that your small or mid-size business can make to ensure your company’s profitable future. Check out our E-Book below.