In today’s competitive business landscape, virtually all businesses demand to become faster and more agile while at the same time maintaining accuracy and precision in achieving their objectives.
It’s a tough challenge, but one potential solution is implementing workflow automation to improve the business’s speed, efficiency, and productivity.
The basic principle of automation is to reduce or eliminate human involvement from executing a task (or a whole process), which can lower labor costs and reduce the risks of human errors, among other benefits.
Below, we will discuss the concept of workflow automation, its benefits, and how to implement it to improve your business’s efficiency.
Why Workflow Automation is Important?
We all know how memorizing details of schedules, searching for lost files/documents, and manually correcting mistakes are common in all industries.
Mapping your workflow and performing workflow automation will allow businesses to reduce manual involvement in repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks. This way, our employees can instead focus on their core competencies and use their valuable time on tasks that can contribute more to achieving their objectives.
This can produce several benefits for businesses in executing their business processes:
1. Faster execution of business processes
Do you know that 60% of a typical worker’s day is taken up replying to emails and managing records and documents?
That’s a very concerning inefficiency, and we would rather use their time and energy on tasks that matter.
By improving workflow efficiencies and implementing automation, we can reduce this wasted time and energy and finish our jobs faster. Suppose managers and workers are spending too much time on administrative tasks like replying to emails all the time. In that case, this will ultimately translate into a massive waste of resources and capital.
Take the task of sending and approving reimbursement forms as an example. This task is relatively simple but is often time-consuming and repetitive.
This is a perfect candidate for automation, and by automating this task, our workers wouldn’t need to worry about sending their forms on time and whether they’ve missed any details. The workflow automation tool will automatically determine whether the form is valid, reducing the need for manual supervision.
It’s no secret that we humans are prone to errors all the time.
Human errors not only will lead to inefficiencies as we’ll need to correct and even repeat the tasks but can also lead to long-term damage to the business’s reputation, as well as legal disputes.
With workflow automation, we can reduce or even eliminate the risks of errors from essential tasks, which will, in turn, protect our organization from future damages.
Also, an automated workflow can remove workers from potentially hazardous tasks in specific industries like construction and manufacturing. This can help improve your workplace’s overall health and safety while also help in maintaining your workers’ morale.
As discussed, fewer errors will also translate into a more efficient execution of processes.
When automated, some tasks can replace the work of three to five people at any given time.
For example, automated chatbots can perform 24/7 customer support, while we most likely need to hire two or three human customer service agents to achieve the same task in shifts.
In addition to lower labor costs, we can also lower energy usage by reducing the use of HVAC equipment in automated operations.
In turn, due to the lower operating costs, workflow automation can also help your business achieve a higher ROI.
Workflow automation can help your business decrease cycle times and production costs while improving consistency and quality.
As a result, this will help your business in staying ahead of your competition. The flexibility of automation can also enable your business to exceed the capabilities of your competitors.
How To Implement Workflow Automation: Step-By-Step Guide
The most important thing to understand before implementing automation is that automation is only valuable when the workflow is already efficient.
Automating an inefficient workflow will only amplify its inefficiencies and will be counterproductive for your business.
The first step in ensuring your workflow is already efficient is creating a workflow diagram to visualize the workflow accurately. You can do this via a business process workflow builder from workflow automation software.
Once the workflow diagram is visualized, we can perform workflow analysis to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies and use this information to optimize the workflow.
Again, it’s crucial to make sure the workflow is already efficient before we automate it.
The next step is to identify the needs of users and the requirements of implementing automation.
You can interview stakeholders and team members involved to collect as much information as you can about the workflow. Identify how the workflow should be automated and for what purpose.
In this next step, we can implement automation based on the data you’ve gathered and the objective of performing automation.
This is the time to choose the right workflow automation solution capable of automating the said process.
Approve offers built-in integration with popular workflow automation tools, or you can use the extensive API. You can also set up the integration so that the workflow will automatically collect data and import it into the system if required. (eg. metadata from a third party system)
Implementing workflow automation can help businesses streamline and optimize their processes, which can improve the organization’s efficiency and productivity.
Workflow automation can help reduce human errors, lower labor costs, and allow your workers to use their valuable time and core competencies doing tasks that will contribute more to your business, rather than being stuck on repetitive administrative tasks.