Automation has become something of a buzzword among companies today. Industry leaders and entrepreneurs make many lofty promises about what automation can do, but automating also requires significant upfront investment and disruption. Effective strategies require proper timing.
Knowing when and where to invest in automation is key to making the most of it. In that spirit, here are six signs that it’s time to automate one or more of your processes.
1. You’re Frequently Occupied With Busywork
Automation should always solve an existing problem, and one of the most common is excessive busywork. Research shows that employees spend 552 hours a year on administrative or repetitive tasks. If you find these tasks are taking up a considerable amount of time, you can benefit from automation.
Repetitive tasks are precisely the type of work that automation is best suited for. Automating processes like scheduling and reporting will give you and your employees far more time to focus on adding value to the company.
2. Productivity Is Declining
One of the most commonly cited reasons for automating is to increase productivity. If you notice your company is accomplishing less in the same timeframe or fails to meet industry benchmarks, it may be time to automate.
Automation improves productivity through two avenues: accomplishing tasks quicker and giving workers more time. The jobs you automate won’t take as much time to complete since machines typically work faster than people. The employees that used to do these things will then have more time to work on others. Productivity will rise across the board.
3. You’re Missing Deadlines
Frequently missed deadlines are another sign that it’s time to automate. If you or your workers are falling behind, it could be because your processes are simply too time-consuming. Automation can work around that issue.
Automation can handle more data faster than a person can. Automating information-heavy processes will save you significant amounts of time. You’ll be less likely to miss deadlines, especially if these tasks were substantial bottlenecks.
4. Your Profit Margins Are Slimming
Profit margins can grow slimmer for various reasons, and there are many ways to improve them. While you can adopt multiple strategies, automation serves as an ideal way to enhance profits no matter where rising costs come from.
Intelligent automation typically results in 40%-75% savings thanks to improved productivity and accuracy. This allows you to mitigate slimming profit margins regardless of the cause. Whether it’s rising labor and material costs, shipping fees, taxes or anything else, automation will account for it.
5. Errors Are Becoming More Common
Another sign it may be time to automate is if you notice a rising number of mistakes. Product defects or filing errors can be costly, and automation can help prevent them.
In addition to working faster than humans, machines are typically more accurate. This is especially true with repetitive, straightforward tasks like paperwork, fabrication or product assembly. If you notice increasing errors related to processes like these, consider automation, which can perform at the same level of accuracy for as long as it operates.
6. Your Customers Are Unsatisfied
Declining customer satisfaction is a threat to any business and one that automation can help mitigate. One of the most substantial factors determining customer satisfaction is speed. A HubSpot survey found that 90% of consumers expect an immediate response when they have a customer service question.
You can’t always enable immediate responses with an entirely human workforce. Automating customer service through chatbots ensures all inquiries will get an instant answer, regardless of your company’s size.