The purpose of technology is to serve human interests, and workflow automation is one of such manifestations of technology. Also, it provides easy ways to manage daily tasks in the workplace, such as financial calculations, documentation, program/project management, etc. Whether they involve software or sophisticated machines, workflow automation is the practical application of technology to increase efficiency.
Since it benefits organizations, employees, and customers, this blog post will discuss all you need to know about workflow automation business tools for small business owners.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation refers to the use of technology to carry out several repetitive activities in the workplace toward attaining organizational goals. Also, it involves a set of rules, procedures, and projects involving the great use of technology to facilitate project executions. Usually, the idea behind automating several work processes is to save time, maximize cost and manage resources.
Therefore, using technology enables workers to free up extra time otherwise spent on repetitive tasks. This way, they can channel their spare time toward more productivity in other areas of the company’s endeavor.
Why is workflow automation critical for small business owners?
Workflow automation is critical for business owners as it refers to automating all business processes according to workflow rules to save time and effort and maximize output. It increases business output by maximizing economies of scale. As a result, most companies can produce on a larger scale with superior quality and generate more return on investment.
Also, small business owners can utilize automation in the workplace to boost their productivity in a way that engenders business growth. The reason is that the twenty-first-century business has experienced a tremendous turnaround that values quality, quantity and shorter turnaround time. So, the more high-quality products an establishment can create in the shortest possible time, the better it can attract more customers. Additionally, it raises the firm’s competitive advantage by reshaping its business structures and processes for better productivity.
Small businesses must keep up with the competition in the market to stay relevant and take a chance at growing. Therefore they require the streamlining effect of workflow automation to eliminate unnecessary tasks and save costs on resources and funding for those unnecessary tasks.
When an establishment effectively applies information technologies to internal organizational processes to speed up collaboration and creativity toward driving innovation, it has successfully implemented workflow automation.
The essence is to establish a unified front for managing multiple complex projects. The reason is that today’s corporate culture requires more collaboration and multitasking than ever. A good example is using online payroll software for automating payroll administration jobs.
Primary functions of workflow automation
- It provides the essential tools for organizing business processes such as program and project management.
- It creates a supporting system for implementing those business processes through maintaining seamless communication, mobility of information and data management.
Top reasons for automating workflow in a small firm.
To boost operational efficiency.
Most workers spend a significant amount of time on repetitive tasks such as sorting and organizing, correspondence, etc., which they could have spent doing the work they were hired for. Such extra time would boost the business earnings. So, workflow automation helps reduce or eliminate wasted work hours to improve efficiency.
It maintains accountability in the workplace.
Corporate innovation culture steadily declines when there is little or no accountability regarding duties and responsibilities. When projects are poorly managed, the company spends more on delays and operational costs. Therefore automated workflow helps maintain a healthy corporate culture where everyone knows their duties.
Additionally, employees can protect their energy in the workplace when their superiors do not micromanage them. Incidentally, an automated workflow allows workers to maintain some level of autonomy.
It reduces the human error associated with the manual work process.
A significant part of the manual process is prone to human error, such as documentation, computation, calculation, sorting, etc.
An excellent example is an erroneous filling of employee W-2 forms or paystubs which could cause potential tax problems. Even though automation is not entirely error-proof, it significantly reduces the risk of human errors.
Examples of business processes that require the application of workflow automation
Now that you know some important reasons to automate your work process, it is time to consider some examples of workflow automation’s relevance in any establishment. Whether you want to apply it to human resources, program and project management, the list of applications is endless.
Here is a table highlighting some!
|Relevant Departments||Examples of automated tasks|
|Marketing and sales||You can execute such operations by running advertisements, customer relationship management, marketing analysis, customer communication, etc.|
|Finance||It involves budget planning, financial allocations, automated payroll management, revenue collection and exploitation, cash flow management, etc.|
|Production and manufacturing||Quality control and assurance, supply chain management, shortening production turnaround time.|
|Information management and security||It takes care of cybersecurity, remote work management and communication, cloud-based data management, etc.|
|Human resources management.||Employee onboarding, contract approval, purchase requests, resource allocation, etc.|
Workflow automation remains a progressive element for orchestrating continuous productivity in any establishment. Even though manual methods are not entirely disadvantageous, there is no ultimate formula for adopting technology in the workplace. Instead, corporate entities must shoulder the responsibility of tailoring their management needs to suit their unique situation, especially for small business operations.
FAQS: What is the primary difference between work process and workflow?
What is the primary difference between work process and workflow?
Work process refers to all essential functions needed to achieve long-term organizational goals. In contrast, workflow refers to repetitive tasks required to complete a project. Workflow consists of the details of operations, while work process consists of the total company outcome.
What is the primary aim of workflow management?
It streamlines corporate operational procedures that create repetition and saturate valuable time and resources for more detailed achievement. It eliminates repetitive tasks, allowing employees to maximize their time at work to achieve long-term organizational goals.
Why should small businesses endeavor to automate their business processes?
Although automation appears expensive, it saves costs in the long run by cutting down resources needed for production and reducing turnaround time. This way, the business can achieve more and increase its revenue generation and return on investment.