You consider yourself an expert in your business. There is no aspect of it that you have not spent considerable time to understand with the goal of improving both the product or service that you deliver and the business’ financial bottom line. In your quest to make your business the best that it can be, you are always open to innovative ideas that you may be able to use to your advantage.
You have certainly noticed that Business Process Automation (BPA) is a hot topic these days. There is no denying that the growth of automated systems has created possibilities for businesses to improve their processes as well as saving money. Forbes.com reports that up to 50% of employees believe they can save up to 2 hours of work per day by employing automated processes. This can lead to substantial savings for your organization.
Process automation is not a free service and implementing a system can involve considerable capital expenditures. Additionally, you will be changing the way your company operates and potentially impact your workforce by reducing the number of workers required to get the job done.
The decision to employ process automation for your business is not to be taken lightly. When comparing the benefits versus costs, there are some signals that it is time to automate despite any misgivings from the management team. Here are five signs that it is a time you automate your business.
1. Excessive Labor Costs
The cost of human labor is often one of the most expensive items that your business encounters. Automation offers the ability to reduce your labor costs in many ways, all of which can add to your bottom line.
In some instances, you can directly reduce your employee base by the introduction of automated processes. Your human resources can work together with robots and automated machinery, and your production continues with only a fraction of the human labor that was used before automation.
Another way automation can reduce labor costs is to improved safety and its associated reduction in employee liability. Using robots or machinery to handle potentially dangerous tasks can lead to a real improvement in employee safety. Hours lost to workplace injuries will be reduced, as will the related health care costs.
2. Complicated Onboarding of New Employees
The on-boarding process is similar for most employees at any business. New employees will certainly have different jobs and tasks and need to have widely varying permissions, security clearances, and tools made available to them, but the basic process of onboarding a new employee is fairly static.
If you find that your new employees are taking longer than you think is reasonable to get up to speed with their responsibilities, it may be that your on-boarding process is ready to be automated.
Automated onboarding can help your new employees transition to their new roles and can ease the burden on administrators involved in the process. Automation allows for specific employee groups to have a set of tools and authorizations that can quickly be processed by your HR administrator.
3. Problems with Communication Between Teams
This can be a problem that manifests itself slowly over time but can lead to issues that are detrimental to the success of your business. As a business grows, legacy systems that were once managed by a small team can become essential to the whole organization.
Take the issue of a problem ticket generated by a customer. The customer is reporting a malfunctioning part and initially contacted the customer service department. They forwarded the issue to tech support who then had to authorize the shipment of a new component to the customer.
A manual problem resolution system allows for orders to be misplaced or for problems to be resolved without informing all interested parties. An automated system will negate these issues, and with the growth of web-based automation solutions, will allow anyone in the company to access the information they need to make informed decisions quickly.
4. Your Production is Generating Excessive Waste
Waste in the production line can severely impact your business’ bottom line as well as its ability to compete in the marketplace. Even very modest waste reduction in a repetitive process can lead to tremendous benefits. Identifying areas where automation can reduce wasted resources can be a critical factor in the survival and competitiveness of your enterprise.
An example of this type of waste reduction can be seen in a packaging line. According to industrialpackaging.com, automation can realize substantial savings no matter how well you have trained your human employees. They discuss the wrapping of pallets with plastic film. Where the human employees achieved a maximum of 20% stretching of the wrapping material, automated machines increased that number to 200%. The difference saved 80 feet of film per pallet which translated into significant savings for the company.
- Challenges in Meeting Deadlines
As your company grows, it can become harder to stay on top of all the areas that contribute to successful production. Initiatives can get stuck in someone’s email inbox, and project plans can be spread among several different departments in spreadsheets or other documents. This can lead to inefficient resource allocation and cause you to miss deadlines or production quotas.
Business process automation can help in resolving this issue by having a single, transparent view of your business processes making it more likely that you can make accurate decisions on prioritizing production runs. It also adds a level of accountability as all stakeholders can see where the process went off the rails, and the responsible departments can be held to task.
Time to Automate?
These are a few of the more conspicuous reasons to consider automating your business. In many cases, a short and painful period of transition to a new automated process will result in long-term benefits to your company. If you believe your business can perform better, than you need to take a hard look at process automation and see where it can help you gain a competitive edge.
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