5 Reasons To automate Manual Processes In Your Business
Process automation can be considered to be one of the most valuable applications of data science and machine learning to businesses. Each business, whether large or small, has certain processes that are crucial to keeping their business running. Many of these processes were intentionally designed and implemented right from conception to execution, whereas others might have been developed as and when the requirement for them arose, usually by merging together groups of related tasks.
A few of the usual examples of such processes include:
- Processing orders received from customers
- Buying of goods and services for the business
- Operational reporting and analysis
- Reconciling accounts
- Forecasting and budgeting
- Recruiting new talent
- Evaluating the performance of current employees
Several of these processes are carried out manually, often using complicated spreadsheets and sometimes even old-fashioned paper and pen. Many businesses do not understand the impact this has on their business. While these processes might appear to work ‘’just fine’’ at the moment, continually performing them manually slows the business down especially when we factor in how the rest of the industry is beginning to innovate and move increasingly faster. This limits them from being efficient and productive and functioning to their maximum capabilities, which ultimately places them at a competitive disadvantage.
This makes it crucial for any business to automate some or all of its manual processes in order to get the best possible outcomes and position them for success. Listed below are five key reasons why businesses consider automating their manual processes:
1. GET THINGS DONE FASTER AND CHEAPER
One of the key benefits of process automation is that it enables a business to get things done quicker and in a cost-effective way. Computers are capable of performing thousands of operations in a second, analyze vast quantities of data quickly, and arrive at some of the most complex decisions with speed and accuracy at a rate that human beings can never match. For processes that involve lower-level administrative tasks, automation can be the differentiating factor that offers significant time and cost savings.
2. INCREASE ACCURACY AND REDUCE ERRORS
As machines are far superior at crunching numbers than humans, processes that involve many calculations can be executed much more accurately and with fewer errors if they are automated. Several of these processes deal with performing tasks in spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
The amount of information stored in spreadsheets is usually a lot more than what a human employee can accurately hold in their heads at one time. This means that in order to update any one section of the spreadsheet, they must separate the information that is not relevant, pinpoint the appropriate inputs for that section, and then switch back or go forward to the next section. If there are more than a couple of sections, this can quickly get very confusing and exhausting, and often involves several mistakes. Automating such types of processes leads to less errors occurring and increased accuracy in the calculation on which the business relies upon.
3. INCREASE CONSISTENCY AND REDUCE RISK
Automating a process can also enable a business to increase the consistency with which it is executed and decrease the risks of it not performing accurately and consistently each time. For more essential processes, businesses tend to follow a set of procedures or steps that ensure their tasks are completed correctly. However, even if there are the best systems in place, no two humans function the same. This means that is a constant risk that employees will carry out differently, leading to undesirable variations in the output of the process. Process automation eradicates this risk and guarantees that all the processes are carried out exactly the same each and every time.
4. ENFORCE DATA-DRIVEN DECISION-MAKING
Decisions cannot be carried out without information. We may all have heard stories or indeed from personal experience where a senior executive or manager has enforced a series of terrible business decisions solely based on their gut. These decisions usually do not make sense to other people in the business as they tend to have a much more granular, practical perspective of how things function in the business and understand lower-level constraints that the decision-maker did not factor into their thinking.
Now consider removing such harmful decisions out of that person’s hands and instead of formulating a well-rounded set of rules for making decisions regarding that aspect of the business, and then configuring it to automatically execute the correct series of actions when specific circumstances are met. Automation safeguards a business from falling into making bad, from the ‘gut’ decision making and replaces it with informed decisions that come from conducting analysis of exactly how the company is operating.
5. PROMOTE EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT
Employees are at the center of each business and offering them opportunities to learn new things and improve their skills is crucial for running a business that is sustainably successful. Manual processes are usually tedious and that leads to employees feeling constrained and simply like cogs in a wheel. Eventually, they long to perform higher-level tasks that are both more valuable to the company and more fulfilling for them. Automating such manual processes allow these employees to be free of such tedious work and instead focus on more uniquely human tasks. This facilitates a work culture that enables employees to be happier and more satisfied with their work and ultimately allows the business to become more productive.