We always talk about abstract concepts when we think of process automation (also known as workflows). Benefits such as being more efficient, improving company accounts, or making decisions more dynamically come to mind when we think about this concept. In reality, we do not know how automating tasks can help us—in the day-to-day.
That is why we have gathered in this article 11 examples of how a workflow can help us be more productive in the company. Do you want to learn more? Keep reading.
Why should you implement process automation in your business?
The automation of work processes does not have an exact definition. Depending on the approach you look at, it can be classified as a methodology or as a set of technological tools that helps you be more efficient in your day-to-day life. What is sought is to identify, design, execute, document, monitor, and measure the processes of a business, identifying and avoiding the errors that make it lose efficiency.
A company may consider implementing a workflow system in its structure to help it improve its productivity. Still, you should know that it is very important to know all the processes in detail to model, measure, and study them. This is why, many times, the implementation of a system of this type does not depend solely on management. Still, it is recommended that the entire company be involved in one way or another, contributing their bit.
With a well-implemented workflow system, the company as a whole can be more productive and can react on time to unforeseen events and make day-to-day decisions. But the best thing is to be able to see it in a much more graphic way with examples in which you will see the advantage of implementing an automated workflow system in your company.
11 examples of why process automation can help a company be more productive
1. Tasks are assigned to the most suitable person in charge at all times
A simple process automation system can distribute tasks among available resources. Using an algorithm calculates the time it takes to complete this task and assigns it to the manager with the fewest tasks available. However, if the system is well optimized, the assignment of tasks can be improved.
When assigning a specific task, the system knows the data of the personnel available to carry it out and has a profile of each of the users. This profile includes what types of jobs you are qualified to do, how good you are at a particular task (can you handle a large volume of tasks or if you only focus on the most demanding cases), and what types of tasks your supervisor wants you to do. Order.
In this way, with a well-optimized workflow system, all this information is taken into account so that, once a new task is created, it is assigned to the person in charge who can best carry it out using the least time possible. A supervisor can influence the assignment of tasks not to burden a worker who has a bad day or is on vacation, thus avoiding leaving tasks in the “pending” status until the return of their days off.
2. Avoid creating task queues
Whether it is a production company or an office job, a workflow system can avoid creating large queues of tasks, thus helping to create a productive ecosystem. Jobs such as billing procedures in which a delivery note is first created that is reviewed, in some cases modified, confirmed, and later passed to billing are jobs that can be done “in the chain,” avoiding waiting times.
A task list’s limitations might have been removed with a workflow system. Most of the software on the market today supports parallel tasks so that once it detects that all tasks are completed in parallel, the workflow can run its course.
3. Eliminate waiting in decision making
One of the tasks is to waste more time waiting for documentation to arrive. For example, when approving a line of credit to a client, all the required documentation needs to arrive to be validated and delivered to the decision-maker. In a small company, it may affect a single person but, in the case of large corporations, it may mean that multiple departments influence the final decision.
The documentation needs to be filled out and distributed to the organization’s different departments. The person in charge may not remember all the details of the case; it may also happen that the documentation is lost or has not arrived on time. These tasks can continue to be done with a list system, but also, if the documentation does not arrive on time, the workflow will continue its course if it is not influential in the final decision-making.
Many of the workflow systems on the market also include automatically matching the information received. Continuing with the previous example, if a task is pending and awaiting receipt of said documentation, it is returned to reactivate to end the process.
4. Improve reaction times
There are several methods for assigning and completing tasks within a process automation tool. The most common way is to assign the job to a specific worker, and they select it from their inbox to complete the task. Another option is to see which tasks have the highest priority or must meet a due date and display these first to meet the estimated date.
If, for example, a call is received “I sent you an email last week, but I need to speak to it to make a couple of modifications … “, the person who has answered it can check if the person in charge is available, or if he should transfer the call to another person in charge to take care of these modifications. In both cases, the system will display all the customer’s documentation so that you can access the data quickly, thus improving reaction times.
5. Don’t lose your pending tasks
When a task has been completed, it is normal for the status to be changed to complete. Each workflow system has a unique way of moving the work to the next phase; some use the “status” formula to check that the task has been done and follow its course; others, instead, automatically check if it is done. Task has been done, and no one person intervenes to follow the process. But what if the process has not been completed?
There may be times when tasks are pending receipt of documentation; make a follow-up call or even discuss it with your superior to make a decision. Most of the workflow tools for companies have a system that allows you to change the states to pause the task, create a reminder, and continue your normal way through the workflow once it is complete.
Workflow systems are not a closed structure. When implemented in the company, they can be further modified to adapt and improve processes to make them even more efficient and comfortable.
6. Access the information in a comfortable way
Critical information is always accessible from anywhere. When you assign a task to a person, the information necessary to complete it must be accessible. It is not productive to assign a task to someone who has to spend hours looking for the information to get an idea of the situation.
A workflow system allows you to attach documentation to the manager in the same office or a different city. For this information to travel safely, the normal thing is that said information is located in a database or a server to be accessible in a comfortable way from any location.
Also Read: What Is RPA (Robotic Process Automation)?
7. Forget about complex data tables
Many of the companies that decide to investigate process automation stop when it comes to implementing it in their company due to the large amount of data that is handled with these systems. It is normal to think that with so much information, the control panel of these systems is very complex, but the reality is quite the opposite.
It is true that a workflow system handles a large amount of data in real-time and that all that data must be accessible in one way or another. This does not imply having a complex control panel with many tables. Still, quite the opposite, a tool of this type can know what type of task you are doing to show you an interface with only the relevant data to help you complete it.
8. Never lose an invoice again
Currently, companies handle both physical information and digital information. Many times for decision-making, or to be able to finish a task, it is necessary for said physical information to pass from one department to another, and it is not always so easy, you may be working in different locations, or that documentation is necessary for two different departments at the same time.
With process automation tools, an OCR recognition system is usually installed to digitize the paper documentation and index it to access it later in a much more comfortable way. Thus, if documentation needs to be attached to a task, it can be sent to the different departments where it is necessary.
9. Traceability and history of the tasks
Process automation systems usually save a history of state changes, but they also have fields to add comments. The most common is that once a task is completed, only the date on which it was completed (including each of the status changes), the time is taken to complete it, and the person who completed it is recorded.
If the task has been suspended, for example, because you have not communicated by phone, the ideal is to add notes to know why it is pending and thus have a history of all the tasks and the changes in their status. So anyone can know when each task is.
10. Avoid unnecessary meetings
Emails like “How are you doing with X homework?” Or “Do we meet on Tuesday and talk about how you are doing with project X?” It can be avoided if we use a workflow system well. A good system not only manages and assigns tasks, but it can also identify from a queue of more than 200 tasks the one you need to choose or know its status.
A system of this type streamlines interdepartmental procedures, thus avoiding unnecessary situational meetings. If you see that a task is being processed or awaiting documentation, you can continue working and not need to meet with the person in charge or make a call. Are you able to take over a task that is still pending? You can also assign it to yourself and thus continue completing it.
11. Know the status of your company in real-time
Automation is not just about streamlining processes; and it also serves as their documentation. When handling a large amount of data, you can examine it by creating a control panel and see the volume of tasks, billing cycles, if delivery times are being met, etc. in this way; you can foresee if there is a need to hire more staff in a specific area… and best of all: in real-time.
It also allows supervisors to notify them when alerts for a task deferral exceed three days or if a department’s task queue exceeds 450. In this way, you can identify problems in real-time and review expected delivery times in case of a backlog of tasks.
To achieve an efficient company with process automation, it is necessary to focus on studying the processes on the first day, designing them, and forgetting. To get the most out of the workflow system, monitoring and analyzing how the processes are working is crucial. In this way, we can detect small adjustments in time that we can make to fine-tune the machinery further.
Also Read: Process Automation In An ERP Environment