Workflow automation is a created series of automated actions for the steps in a business process. It is used to improve everyday business processes because when your work flows, you can concentrate on getting more done and focusing on the things that matter. It allows teams to spend more time on the actual work itself and less time on the processes that support them.
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.Bill Gates
Businesses that create workflow automation are more efficient, save time and money, and minimize the likelihood of errors. There are many benefits to implementing workflow automation, so here are the top five reasons you should begin.
The Top 5 Benefits of Workflow Automation
- Streamlines communication
One of the biggest benefits of workflow automation is that it improves internal communication. This reduces the rate of employee turnover because one of the biggest reasons employees leave an organization is a lack of communication with management. Because you are automating workflow you also automate communication, because no one has to remember to tell the next person it’s their turn to do something.
The best way to create an automated process is to get everyone involved in that process together. Then you can begin creating a process map and visualize where the process begins and ends and what role each person in that process.
- Creates accountability
By automating workflow you effectively create one person who is responsible for every part of the process. For each step in the process, there is one person designated to perform a specific action. By doing this you are creating a system of accountability, where everyone knows what specific tasks they are responsible for. This also reveals which tasks take the most time to complete and where the process seems to get held up the most frequently.
By creating workflow automation, everyone knows what person is responsible for what task and everyone is clear on what needs to be accomplished at any given point. And workflow automation enables you to make better future decisions to create more effective processes and divide out work accordingly.
- Reduces costs and error
Workflow automation reduces errors because it keeps necessary tasks from going unnoticed. Because every person involved in the process is held accountable for their specific role, no one can make the excuse that “no one told me!” Workflow automation also saves companies from costly expenses associated with employee errors and it can cut costs on administrative labor as well.
- Empowers employees to manage their own time
Workflow automation ensures every employee knows their expected role and what they are responsible for. Now management will know immediately if their tasks are not completed on time. No longer will supervisors have to manage every employee or spend time checking on their progress. Workflow automation allows management to look at the overall workflow process and view everything within the context of the bigger picture.
- Creates more workplace efficiency
By creating customized workflow automation, you can assign approval responsibilities to anyone within the company, no matter what current reporting hierarchy is in place. No longer does management have to intervene in every task.
When Should You Consider Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation is the best way to achieve tasks in an efficient manner. It produces more consistent and accurate results every time.
Businesses should consider workflow automation when there is a repetitive series of tasks to implement. Often these tasks are managed with paper files, spreadsheets, or email. By creating workflow automation, this process will become streamlined and removes the risk of human error.
Workflow automation gives you a better picture of the different tasks and makes it easier to identify areas for improvement and increases overall productivity. Now the question becomes, what are the steps involved in implementing workflow automation?
Steps for Workflow Automation
Before implementing workflow automation, management must identify what areas need workflow improvement. The ideal way to do this is by making a visual representation of the current workflow by using flow diagrams. This will give you a better understanding of your current business workflow and will help you identify repetitive tasks. Now you can create workflow automation that will improve and simplify the existing workflow.
After you have identified the problem, the next step is to clearly define your business goals. And then you need to explain how your business goals will be achieved by creating workflow automation and what process you will use to measure them.
Now it is important to decide on the means to the end. What process do you want to use to achieve the established business goals? This will be the step where you select what workflow automation process you will use. An ideal workflow is simple, user-friendly, and easily adaptable by all users.
The next step is to train employees on how to use the new workflow software. In any company, new changes are often met with resistance so it is important to involve employees right from the beginning and explain to them how this software will help them. By giving employees a clear path of transition from the current process to the new system and providing necessary training, this transition should be a much smoother process.
Once these steps are completed, you should be up and running on your new workflow system. Continuous monitoring and assessment of your new process will be necessary to work out bottlenecks and identify areas for improvement.
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By utilizing workflow automation, companies can reduce the number of manual tasks performed by employees, which frees them up to work on more important work. This allows more work to get done in a shorter amount of time and will likely boost employees morale and increase overall productivity.
Workflow automation helps companies achieve more consistent results. By automating an area, companies reduce the risk of mistakes and this allows them to create higher quality products with fewer increases in costs and time. Workflow creates processes which have the potential down the road to bring in more revenue with fewer expenses.