Is it time to automate business processes and workflows? You might not consider it necessary if you’re running a small company. Many small business owners believe that automation is only for large corporations. But, based on a survey, those who automated any of their processes showed a higher success rate than larger companies.
Automating repetitive tasks can help your business reach a wider audience. It can also increase your sales. If you don’t think there’s a reason to do so, it’s best to take a careful look at your current operation. There might be signs that are telling you something is not working right.
Here are five indicators your small business needs some form of automation:
1. Slow Approval Process
How long does it take for your business to review and process a request? In most cases, manual approvals may take anything between a day to a week. That can vary depending on the availability and discretion of the company’s managers. Also, one needs to factor in the volume of requests piling up on the desk.
Does your company’s approval process delay the progress of every project? Is it eating away a big chunk of your employees’ time? If the answer is yes, automating approvals would significantly help your business. One click of a button can direct one simple request to the appropriate parties for approval.
Automation can end slow approvals, whether it’s for expense claims, leave absence, or IT project requests. Process bottlenecks and project setbacks won’t be a problem anymore.
2. Errors in Manual Repetitive Tasks
Employees perform repetitive tasks every day. It can be as simple as responding to emails, encoding manual timesheets or setting up excel spreadsheet templates. While they can often do them at speed, these manual processes are prone to human mistakes.
Employees can get tired and unfocused. It can cause them to mix up sensitive information and documents with no ill intent. Such minor errors can add up and create a domino effect. Note that other departments may depend on the same data to accomplish their jobs. This can result in a significant business problem.
Does your business need to deal with penalties because of miscalculated pay? Have you missed any orders and deadlines due to incorrect details? If you experience any of this, automating your company’s repetitive tasks would be a great idea.
With automation, you can prevent errors in payout, order management, and other operations. It would also be more convenient for your business to make payments on time. You can easily convert your company’s credit card to cash and pay for salaries, invoices, and more.
3. High Labour Costs
Manual business processes are labour-intensive and time-consuming. They require more people to work on certain tasks. But more workforce doesn’t guarantee actual and quality output. This also entails putting more money into hiring, training, and development. In 2019, the average company spent $1,308 per employee on training.
Do you have high labour costs that don’t add much value to your business? Automation would help reduce your company’s labour needs. With fewer workloads, you only need fewer people to handle the job. It will also help lower your overhead costs and increase your profitability.
Note that you may not be able to automate all the core elements of your business. But you can pinpoint some areas to automate and lessen your need for additional staff.
4. Unproductive Employees
The ability to get things done may depend on how well one can focus on a single task at a time. It doesn’t matter if it’s ten minutes or one hour. But there are small recurring tasks that consume half of the workers’ time on their main jobs. Toggling back and forth between these tasks can result in inefficiencies.
The average employee is only productive for less than three hours in an eight-hour workday based on research. They spend the rest checking excessive emails, attending long meetings, and searching for information. If your employees spend hours on these time-wasters, it’s time to consider automation.
Automating mundane recurring tasks can help your staff get more high-value work done. Without those interruptions, they can have more time for creativity and productive work. Most automating tools also provide increased visibility. You can track employee productivity in real-time.
5. Growing Customer Demands
Are you getting more orders from customers? It’s a good sign that your business is growing. But these increasing requests also mean more workloads. You would need more time and people to handle them. Automating would be a great solution if the volume of demands is overwhelming your company’s capabilities.
You may not keep your customers happy if you can’t deliver quality products and services on time. But automating your business operations can help you get rid of wasteful activities. This will result in faster turnaround times and better insights for your customers.
Automation may seem intimidating. But you don’t have to wait for those signs to show up before you take action. Plenty of small businesses could speed up their process and grow their profits. If you want to stay competitive, automating at least some of your company’s processes is worth investing in.