Business process automation is evolving and becoming more popular to drive growth for companies. Freeing up staff and having the ability to transfer busy work to machines allows employees to flex their creativity and problem-solving skills. The result is accomplishing more while the automation takes care of the rest behind the scenes.
Benefits of Business Process Automation (BPA)
There are many ways that BPA's can be beneficial for your business. These are a few that skim the surface, but once a company makes the switch to automation, it will find itself discovering additional hidden benefits that will result from this process.
- Increased Productivity
- BPA can provide an increased level of productivity in different ways, across different industries. But, one thing that all industries have in common, in terms of increased productivity, is the ability to focus on doing what they do best. Let the machines handle the rest to get you faster completion times, fewer errors, and more. Productivity can then be ramped up across an entire company.
- Increased Process Visibility
- By automating a process, it gives you clear visibility of what is going on from start to finish. Being able to see all steps of an automated process opens up the potential to analyze and decide which are working well and which may need improvements on their overall efficiency. This results in a more streamlined approach and the opportunity to be "in the loop" during the entire process.
- Reduced Costs
- In many situations, adding automation is considerably less expensive in the long run than paying a person, or multiple people, to do the same work. Being able to downsize your personnel, while still getting the same, or even more, work done seems like a logical money saver for a company. Furthering your automation will lead to an economy of scale, which is defined as with the increased size of a business comes greater efficiencies and lower overall costs. In the long run, these reduced costs will set a company up for long-term success.
Key Areas of Your Business to Automate
While most businesses can easily identify areas that would benefit from automation, there is something for almost every department that will gain an immediate benefit for a company.
- Automating the financial operations of a business can improve efficiency and most importantly, accuracy. Financial departments of a company have all sorts of numbers coming in from different areas and departments. Having a system that can keep these numbers in order can reduce the likelihood of errors and offer you complete reports for full visibility at the click of a button. Invoicing is a common process to automate and these can be tied in with other automated features, such as supply chain data or shipment receipts to keep all departments on the same page.
- According to invesp, marketing automation drives an average 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. Marketing automation can be used on multiple channels and campaigns within the department, such as paid search, email marketing, social advertisements, and text message promotions. Conserving marketing resources while also launching more campaigns allows for greater efficiency and effectiveness across the board.
- Processes for sales can be partially or fully automated and the overall goal remains: close more sales than what was possible without automation. Lead generation, customer contact messaging, proposal development, quota and commissions management, and transaction detail tracking are all examples of functions within a sales department that can be automated to improve the speed and efficiencies of the sales themselves.
- Supply Chain and Product
- Processes involving ordering, paying for, warehousing, and managing the supply chain for a business can typically be automated under the same software application. From the early stages of a purchase order to reordering supplies or materials, the days of doing these manually can be behind you and the BPA can handle it from here. Fewer supply disruptions, fewer stocking issues, and increased customer satisfaction can be outcomes from this automation.
- Customer Service
- Customers and interested parties look toward online chats these days, rather than telephone calls into a customer service department. Automating systems to implement chatbots on websites can obtain basic information from an inquiring party, and direct the comment or question to the appropriate department. Sometimes, these chatbots may be able to answer questions for a customer for things like shipping eta's, tracking information, business hours, and more. When a customer does need human support, all of the previously provided information can be fed to a representative to have a background on the situation and be able to resolve it with the customer in a timely manner. This allows fewer customer service tickets to come across an actual human's desk. For the inquiries that do, they are handled quicker than before to allow more to be completed on a daily basis.
- General Business Functions
- Sales forecasting, employee onboarding, payroll and scheduling, business travel planning, order fulfillment, and inventory management are all examples of how the general functions of a business can be moved to automated software. There is always room for growth, and shifting tasks to automation that require a lot of time and manpower can save money, increase efficiencies and accelerate growth.
Ways to Automate Your Business
There are many ways to go about automating facets of your business. There are standalone software products out there that can integrate with one another, or software solutions that will cover multiple areas of a company to keep it consolidated within one program. When a business goes with more comprehensive software, such as NetSuite, everything is consolidated within the same program and it makes compatibility much easier. Add-ons can be implemented by a service provider to further customization for your business. Making the automation switch will set you up for increased growth with less of a financial burden. Reach out to a service provider to see what ways your company can benefit from business process automation.