It's no secret why automation is valuable. It offers:
- error reduction to just about any manufacturing process.
What is a bit of a secret, and probably shouldn't be, is that automation can bring those same efficiencies to business tasks and processes which are far from the manufacturing floor. You hire employees because you trust their judgment and want to rely on their skills. When they devote their time . . . their paid time . . . to executing tasks which require neither, it increases costs and almost certainly reduces job satisfaction, as well. After all, how many of your employees said to you, "I'm really looking forward to a tedious job that will allow me to stagnate" during the hiring interview? Would you have even considering signing such a person on?
So what kinds of tasks can be automated? In short, any task that has a predictable outcome can probably be performed, or assisted, by an automatic process. However, a certain amount of groundwork must be laid for automation to be possible. For an assembly line, that might include:
-tools which are capable of the task
-a means to identify when the task needs to be completed
-methods for testing the automation and ensuring it's working as expected
The primary reason why more business tasks are not automated is because companies lack the necessary tools to track the tasks and make sure that they're executed. There isn't enough information being collected and tracked, there is no segmenting of data to make logical decisions, and there's no way to utilize data to automate repetitive tasks. That necessary data is - or could be - collected and tracked by a firm's CRM. The automation can then be put into place using Business Process Management, or BPM.
BPM and task automation
Let's take one of the most basic business tasks, one that is tedious to perform and critical to any business' success: "Can you send me more information?"
Sending business literature has a few discreet steps.
- Assemble the information packet
- Collect the prospect's delivery information
- Deliver the literature
- Confirm its receipt
- Follow up with the prospect
If errors are made during any of these steps, or one of them is forgotten or delayed, it can mean a missed opportunity for a new relationship. A key document may be left out of the packet, or its delivery is not confirmed, or the prospect's contact information isn't given to a sales rep to follow up . . . there are many opportunities for something to slip through the cracks.
Now if the tasks are automated via a BPM, it looks more like this:
- Information requested is automatically generated (print or electronic) when the literature request is entered
- The prospect's email or physical address is simultaneously entered and verified
- Literature is emailed or mailed to the address supplied
- Confirmation of receipt is generated via a tracking number or email confirmation
- The assigned sales rep is given an automatically-generated task to follow up.
- The prospect's information is also now in the company's CRM, where it can be used for drip marketing efforts and other outreach.
Business Process Management can automate far more tasks than most companies realize - it's just a question of making sure that the proper information is being entered into the system in the first place, and then it all falls into place. Those critical tasks which aren't very glamorous continue to get done timely, and your valuable employees to get use those brains of theirs (you know, the ones you hired them for in the first place) on activities which will boost your bottom line rather than just moving around bits of paper.
Interested - give me a call: 269-445-3001