Which Business Process Automation Tasks Have the Best ROI?
When a company commits to workflow automation, it’s only natural that they want to focus on automating workflows that will produce the greatest return on investment. Determining return on investment isn’t always a direct monetary calculation, however.
Sometimes office pain points that make employee workdays better don’t directly result in cost savings or increased profits, but they can result in a more engaged and committed workforce, which reduces turnover costs and makes the workplace a better place to be – things that are hard to put a price tag on. Here are some thoughts and ideas about where to implement workflow automation and business process management to get the most bang for your company’s buck.
Where Business Process Management Has the Best ROI
Tasks that are highly appropriate for workflow automation are those that are rote and repetitive. Order fulfillment, shipping, invoicing, and inventory management are examples where automation can produce a quick and positive ROI. For one thing, these processes go faster when automation is incorporated into them. For another, with fewer humans interacting with each recordkeeping phase, there is less chance of human error gumming up the works.
Business process management through workflow automation is also a great choice for batch processes that have to happen on a regular basis. For example, the IT department may use automation to ensure that regular data backups happen on time, with as little human intervention (and vulnerability to mistakes) as possible.
Direct Benefits of Strategic Business Process Management
The most noticeable direct benefit of automated business process management is improved operating efficiency. Not only do processes go faster, there are fewer do-overs and less time spent tracking down and correcting errors.
And when efficiency improves, productivity (output during a defined time period) almost always improves as well. Automating processes may improve efficiency to the point that your company can produce 10% more units in a month than it could before automation was used.
Bottom-line results are clear: lower operating costs due to greater efficiency and higher revenues due to greater productivity.
Indirect Benefits of Strategic Business Process Management
The fact that workflow automation saves people headaches is an indirect benefit with high value. Suppose you implement an automated workflow for tracking software licenses. When a software package is received, the receiving clerk can scan in a barcode to start a tracking record. When someone installs the software, they can access the record and add other relevant information, like which machine it was installed on, who uses it, and when the software license expires.
The workflow can be made to send out automated alerts to key personnel two weeks or a month before a license is set to expire so a decision can be made as to whether to maintain the license or stop using the software. Should a software license audit occur, records are easy to trace and audit.
Keep the Human Factor in Mind
While workflow automation can accomplish a lot, there are still places in workflows where humans are necessary. Automating certain phone-based customer service issues is a great way to improve efficiency, but automating human CSRs out of the equation altogether can end up being counterproductive. As awesome as technology is, sometimes there are issues that simply can’t be “explained” to a phone menu, issues that could probably be solved quickly if one human simply hears another human say, “I can’t port my old phone number to this provider and I’m not sure why,” for instance.
Finally, human knowledge of workflows is always necessary, even for processes that have been automated for years. Systems sometimes fail. Natural disasters happen. The unexpected occurs, and sometimes keeping things moving forward requires human ingenuity. Therefore, automated workflows and business process management always thrive best in an environment with a strong human understanding of the processes.
Workflow form software like PerfectForms delivers the power and the flexibility companies like yours need to automate workflows and manage business processes skillfully, without having to know how to program. With its intuitive interface, PerfectForms lets process users design processes to do exactly what they want. Moreover, PerfectForms is mobile-friendly, so your employees in the field and on the go can get work done using their mobile devices. If you’re interested in the benefits of process automation, we invite you to read through some of our many case studies. You’ll see how PerfectForms improves efficiency, saves money, and simply makes businesses operate better.