Business process automation tools have multiple benefits, from streamlining processes to reducing operational overheads.
Below, we’ll go through the essentials of what you need to know about business process automation tools, including all the benefits they can bring and how to put them to better use within your organisation.
What are business process automation tools, and why do businesses need them?
Business process automation tools simply refer to the software used to automate repeatable, complex business processes such as purchase and supplier order processing and credit control procedures.
These tools work best when they’re working in step with the teams of people driving your business. This creates a hub of intelligence at the heart of your business which facilitates improved decision making, enhanced collaboration, and maximum productivity.
A powerful, future-proof ERP system can offer a range of tools and automation capabilities to better serve your business and customers, including:
- Personalised workflows and dashboards: These offer teams and employees instant access to the data they need, when they need it, to make informed decisions.
- Customised reports: Relevant data can be reflected per business function or user, improving productivity and efficiencies
- Improved warehouse and delivery processes: With mobile warehouse hand-held solutions, transport scheduler functionality and other mobile applications, the accuracy and efficiency of these processes can be enhanced.
- Easier enforcement from management: The management team can enforce important business rules and processes with ease,impacting your bottom line and customer satisfaction e.g. enforce tight margin controls..
- Audit trail: This allows for all business processes to be tracked.
- Quick data access: Access your business data in real-time, no matter where you are in the business.
- An established source of truth: All teams can pull data from a trustworthy centralised database.
- Money management: Manage cost prices and fully protect and maintain margins.
Today, many of the claims made by automation and artificial intelligence (AI) aren’t strictly true. However, modern ERP systems can harness data to forecast important growth numbers and stock orders for your business.
The intelligence is also not restricted to just one arm of your organisation. Business process automation tools collect and interpret the data generated by your ERP solution and any other integrated software solutions you employ – from warehouse management to marketing to customer support to sales.
It’s here that the collaboration between technology and human capability comes to light. No human can interpret massive volumes of data in real-time, and it’s impossible to accurately interpret data coming from different sources all at once. This is one of the areas where an ERP solution delivers huge benefits to an organisation.
By taking care of the tasks that can be better performed by automation tools and freeing up your employees to do what they do best, you can reap the benefits.
No machine or robot can replicate what humans can do best. Data and insights forming the basis of sound business decisions tell us that the creativity and critical thinking of humans will outstrip machines any day of the week.
Research also shows that 50% of organisations combining the best of people and data software experience significant growth. Thus, creating an intelligence hub, fed by both human instinct and the automation capabilities of machines, is what all businesses should be striving towards.
How ERP tools lead to digital transformation
Recent global events have brought about changes in customers’ demands and behaviour, resulting in a high degree of disruption across every industry. No industry has been left untouched by it.
The advent of e-commerce was some twenty years ago but it’s only in recent years that personalisation, choice and speed of service are now seen as the bare minimum any business should offer.
But how do you keep up with a modern commercial environment?
There are no one-size-fits-all digital transformation strategies that business owners can simply adopt and plug into their own businesses to get the job done. However, a modern ERP solution really comes into its own in these circumstances, forming the foundation of a solid digital transformation for companies of all sizes. Why is this?
For starters, it’s because digital transformation is not just about digital. It’s really about the mindset that an organisation adopts to meet the changing demands of its customers. Too often the customer is not seen as a whole entity within companies.
Secondly, an ERP solution, which connects all functions in your business, is key to enabling you to take advantage of the latest technologies required for digital transformation. But there are many questions to be answered along the way too. Should you be in the Cloud? Do you need to employ mobile apps? Does everything need to be mobile?
There are so many different digital tools available today that it’s easy to lose sight of the all-encompassing digital transformation you want to instil at the core of your organisation. Before taking on any niche app or piece of software, examine what it will mean to your business. Will it add value? Will it enable you to realise your digital transformation strategy? Can you integrate it with your ERP solution and what value will this bring?
How automation will benefit your organisation
Today’s business environment demands the highest level of efficiency possible. One of the best ways to effectively achieve this is to leverage your business software to automate labour-intensive processes.
Whether you undertake some, or all, of your processes manually, you need to understand the level of automation now available in the latest ERP systems and the benefits they could bring your business.
Not only will it help you to protect and maintain margins, but also maintain adequate stock levels, manage cost prices and credit limits, and improve customer service. It allows you to retain complete control of your business without the need for micro-management – that’s the job of the ERP system.
Business process automation encompasses everything from scheduled reports, alerts, and workflows to suggested orders, authorisation files, and automated KPI dashboards. Combine these with the real-time data provided by the latest ERP systems, and you’ve got a future-focused business right there.
Real-time, accurate information is the backbone of your most important decisions. It shouldn’t be difficult to access or hard to use. Your team will no longer make decisions in a reactive fashion, but rather as an embedded part of their day-to-day tasks.
It’s the marriage of real-time relevant data and automation capabilities in your ERP solution that allows you to leverage data to positively impact your business. What you do with the data matters the most.
The real-time possibilities are endless. From new product launches to enhanced processes and customer experience – you can place your business in a winning position.
The main benefits of business process automation tools
The most attention-grabbing benefits that automation can bring any organisation are:
- Reduced costs:Operational and workforce costs can be reduced through automation.
- Better workforce allocation: Numerous tasks can be redirected to automated processes, which makes your workforce available for more value-added tasks and future strategic initiatives.
- Fewer errors: Human error is to be expected, although it can negatively impact customer experience and your business finances. Automation can drastically reduce the possibility of errors in your processes.
- Enhanced collaboration: Automation helps keep track of your orders, deliveries, KPIs, and deadlines across your entire organisation, greatly enhancing knowledge-sharing and productivity.
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