When it comes to automation, most of us have large, robotic production lines in our minds where robots automatically do the work that people were doing so far: weld, screw, cut, paint and more. At present, office automation, that is, automation that can be implemented in organizational units and administration supporting operational functions, is a less widespread concept. At the same time, there are many repetitive tasks that can be performed without human intervention: recording, copying, filling out forms, managing approvals, filing incoming documents and so on. Why not use a software solution that also supports office automation? A sufficiently robust workflow system allows to automate a range of office activities that, as they stand, are "money-grubbing" - that is, they do not create added value, but need to be done - without errors. It is important that these tasks, in addition to being an unnecessary expense to all businesses, can also have a negative impact on workplace mood and morale. On one hand, those colleagues who have such monotonous, boring tasks are unlikely to be satisfied with their job and may soon be looking for a new challenge, or may frustrate others with longer lead times, cumbersome administration and complexity. At the same time, increasing labor shortages are not only having a wage-boosting effect, they can offer almost every employee an opportunity they might consider - thus losing colleagues and slowing down the growth of our company - or worse, moving down the slope…
There are, of course, many cases in which an appropriate system can automatically perform tasks that are currently executed, followed, and controlled by human resources.
Let's see some examples and signs that show which workflows can be automated!
If delegated tasks are being tracked by email, the business process is probably inadequate. A workflow system allows employees to receive automatic alerts when a task is due but not yet completed. What's more, the system can even send notifications to managers, summarizing upcoming deadlines, and tasks that haven't been completed, therefore escalating the problem. Accordingly, managers can redistribute tasks to other colleagues or seek other solutions to address the problem. In fact, you can even set up an incentive system with a workflow system, where tasks completed on or before the deadline are summed up and given a "plus point", while slipping out of deadlines can mean minus points. Such systems can simplify the process itself - for example, it is not necessary to ask colleagues about the current status of a task, as it is always available in real time on the system interface.
If solving a task requires the involvement of several participants, employees may be able to transfer subtasks between themselves. This kind of operation not only reduces efficiency - increases the time it takes to solve a task - but also significantly increases the risk of error: the wrong version of a document can be submitted, files are lost, and responsibility cannot be ascertained - and so on. The most common types of errors and problems occur with documents which are edited by more than one person or department. For example, in a contract can be initiated by the sales team, the legal department reviews it from a legal perspective, while controlling controls the pricing, return, and then has to be approved by a responsible manager too. Without a process management system, finalizing such documents can be problematic, sluggish, and may contain several errors, as there is no tool to ensure that the required dependencies are in place. That is, for example, a document may need to be financially approved after legal approval, but for any reason, it will still be financially approved without legal control - only because the full lifecycle of the document is not managed properly. In this case, the document may be incorrectly sent to the partner or client - the problems of such a case hardly need to be discussed separately…
Managing feedbacks and approvals can be burdensome and time-consuming tasks if supported by an inappropriate system. Not only the amount of errors may grow, but also the number of emails for managers to reply is increased; burying the management and hamper effective work.
Not to mention that approval requests or responses to them can get mixed up in correspondence, so it may not be possible to know in the future who, why and when approved or denied something. However, with a workflow system, approval tasks are framed and always, all approvals are accomplished through the same steps and deadlines. Furthermore, some approvals and decisions can be automated, for example, depending on a threshold or other, well-defined factor.
Repetitive tasks offer the best opportunity for automation!
By automating such tasks, you can save the most cost and resources for your company. Let's see an example:
If 5 colleagues spend 2 hours per day doing repetitive tasks, which could be automated, then 10 hours per day, approx. 200 hours per month and approx. 2400 hours a year is wasted. in other words, up to 2400 hours per year can be saved by automating the task. This, based on the current average hourly wage in the US, which is 23, 65$, makes a whopping amount of 56 760$ per year - wasted. Of course, this amount can change if your colleagues spend more time performing automated tasks or in case their wage is higher. And that amount does not include the extra revenue that colleagues can generate by completing higher value-added tasks after automation! All in all - without automation, significant amounts of money becomes lost every single year, while employees become more and more frustrated by their day jobs.
While colleagues spend their time copying data, searching for emails, recording data, they can't take the time to do strategically important, valuable work!
For example, for a sales team, administration can take a long time. Besides data recording and administration being extremely important, every minute that salespeople devote to it goes without selling…
How can we save time for sales while maintaining the quality of our administrative work? With a well-designed workflow system, we can automate much of the administration so our salespeople do what they do best: sell our product or service instead of doing their administrative tasks in front of their computers. Consequently, sales volume and efficiency of sales can increase.
At the same time, automated processes are useful not only for one organizational unit, but for the entire company. After all, there are tasks in every area that can be automated, or faster, better managed in a dedicated system. Applications like xFLOWer workflow can be a great help in managing workflows across all departments and levels of the company, in all industries.
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have and help you solve your current business management problems by contacting us by clicking here!