“I know we could be more efficient in my business, but I don’t know where to start. There’s just so much to do!”
We hear this all the time.
Business Process Automation has undergone tremendous innovation in the past decade. Back-office business systems were implemented to automate many common core business processes such as order management, inventory management, and other management processes. Many businesses have outgrown their first process automation system and find limitations in meeting present business needs with these legacy systems.
In a perfect world, you could envision the big picture and start making decisions that support future state operations. Even if it’s not possible to move forward under ideal conditions, we have found that the most important step is to just start. The thing that keeps most of us from acting is fear of the unknown but simply talking about it, maybe Googling for a few ideas and then moving on to the next step allows us to learn, try new things, research, refine and iterate, and learn even more.
Back Office Business Systems Automation does not have to be a scary, costly initiative. You can pick a pain point, document the process, and work with a process automation team to utilize low-cost, configurable process automation platforms such as Microsoft Power Automate or other Robotic Process Automation Platforms. Platforms such as Power Automate have a low cost of entry and for lower volume process automation, can even be no cost for the service.
Name your organization’s top five bottlenecks or points of failure and focus on those. Even just automating one or two core business processes has demonstrated double-digit return on investment.
The common pattern in automating business processes is to:
Identify the opportunities for automation
Prioritize the opportunities
Establish a future state process flow
Develop and deploy the automation on a platform such as Power Automate
Monitor and measure the performance of the process automation
And make incremental improvements over time
Make sure you track productivity and quality metrics, then make sure the business stakeholders are aware of the results.
Here are some ideas for process initiatives in your organization:
Contractor and Employee Onboarding / Offboarding
Order Data Entry
Work order management
Manual sync between systems
Consolidation / kitting of orders
Alert notifications and actions
Keeping these processes in mind, you can easily establish a clear path forward for your organization, a way to operationalize efficiencies and realize greater success in your business.