**Originally posted by HARMONiQ.

The opportunities and benefits of workflow automation

Whenever you’re considering a change in business process, it’s important to know why you’re making the change and what you’re getting out of it – especially when it’s going to affect the entire organisation.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are software solutions that automate complex business processes. They can give companies the power to streamline operations and increase performance efficiency that would otherwise be slowed down by clunky manual processes.

While they might sound like the one solution to all your operational problems, it’s important not to jump in without fully considering your company’s needs – transitioning to an ERP is a serious investment, both economically and time-wise.

So how do you determine if an ERP is the right choice for your company?

In this month’s blog I discuss what you have to think through before deciding if an ERP system is right for your business. Alternatively, you can download our ERP Automation eBook for a more in-depth analysis.

Are manual processes slowing you down?

There are many ways in which inefficient manual processes can negatively affect business operations, but here we will be focusing on three that are often deemed the most important by businesses considering a system change.

Cost

It’s true that ERP system implementation comes with a cost, but many businesses overlook the cost they’re already wearing due to inefficient processes.

While manual processes can work well for some smaller companies, a lot of the time they can be costly for larger businesses or those striving for growth. These costs can be large and plentiful, caused by:

  • Lost productivity through time-consuming manual work
  • Extra staff needed to complete processes
  • Repetition of tasks due to human error
  • Loss of stock due to poorly maintained manual records
  • Lost customers due to stock unavailability

These are direct costs, as well as indirect costs associated with loss of time and staff productivity. The latter can often be overlooked by companies – especially if ineffective manual processes have become the norm.

Manual inventory management can be a messy and expensive process

Competition

While you don’t want to just implement a new system because everyone else is, it’s important to understand your competition and the services they are offering.

If your competitors have already implemented workflow automation and are making the most of the benefits, there’s a real chance they’re improved processes are drawing in customers – customers that could be coming to you. If your processes are slow, difficult and time-consuming, you aren’t able to go above and beyond for your customers to achieve sales growth.

In this day and age, information is much more accessible, allowing customers the privilege of shopping around and doing their research. If a competitor can offer faster, more accurate and a more cost-effective service than you, chances are they’ll score the business.

Growth

If, like many companies, you want to achieve growth and see your business prosper, it’s unlikely your current processes will support you in this goal.

It is next to impossible to experience and sustain growth with a paper-based system and manual processes. As your business starts to grow, how are you going to:

  • Review, keep track and store paperwork and business documents?
  • Store, distribute, track and manage an increased inventory?
  • Train staff and keep them up to date on all business operations?
  • Take care and keep track of every customer?
  • View all business data to gain visibility of overall business performance?

More business means more paperwork – are you prepared?

Know where you stand

You can now see how important it is to take a thorough look at your business practices – unnoticed costs and roadblocks can often be discovered hiding in plain sight.

Now you know what to look for, you will have a better ability to determine your need for workflow automation. You should be considering:

  • The cost of implementing an ERP vs. the cost of keeping things the same
  • The projection of your industry and the paths your competitors are taking to further progress their business and boost sales
  • Whether your current practices can support you through periods of growth without compromising on service delivery

When you really consider it, it’s likely you’ll find that manual processes won’t let you continue a consistent offering through growth periods.

This is a good sign that you should be looking for a way to update your system through workflow automation, which can provide the biggest reward for the smallest investment.

Look to the future with workflow automation

Implementing an ERP system is the most efficient way to achieve workflow automation across your business. ERP’s are fully integratable, and can streamline processes throughout your entire operation, including:

  • Warehousing and Distribution
  • CRM
  • Inventory Management
  • Sales
  • Reporting

Allowing an ERP to simplify and automate your business processes removes the chance of error, saves time and money, increases staff productivity and will allow for growth without interruption.

If you’re considering implementing an ERP system into your business, you can discover more about the process in our eBook ERP Automation: Is an ERP system the right move for my business? It will also give you a more extensive idea of the benefits and capabilities of ERP’s, so you can make a clear and objective decision regarding the suitability for your business.

Next month, I will be talking about the most efficient way to implement an ERP system.

If you would like to discuss this further, please email me at drew@micronet.com.au – I am always happy to have a chat.

 

Author Bio

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.