Workflow automation is one of the hottest trends in the modern workforce. It enables efficiency, consistency, quality, and accountability in usual work processes. Workflow automation ensures stepwise implementation of protocols that are programmed in an automatic mode. Such level of automation strives to reduce errors, prevent loss of time, and resources with assured quality in the outcome.
This is particularly useful for small businesses and teams. Identifying and addressing bottlenecks can increase efficiency and productivity. Even better, team members can better allocate their time and energy towards completing more essential and involved projects.
Before implementing workflow automation for significant steps in the process, it is important to evaluate the benefits and harms. If it serves factors such as cost, time, resources, skills, and talent, automation can be extremely beneficial. But there certain types of tasks that might actually impede your operations or create those dreaded bottlenecks in your normal workflow.
Here’s how to recognize specific areas where your business should (and should not) consider implementing workflow automation:
Workflow Automation: The “Go” Areas
Automation is an excellent tool for when a project or process involves recurring and repetitive tasks. These tasks do not have additional variables or require the assignee to make significant decisions or last minute changes or choices. They are tedious but often integral to a company’s day-to-day operations. Workflow automation, however, can bear the brunt of delegating and tracking these monotonous tasks.
Efficient Allocation of Resources
Many times, repetitive work reduces the enthusiasm of employees working on it. It can lead to more scope for errors, higher turn-around time, higher attrition rate and numerous disturbances. Implementation of workflow automation can reduce these aspects by ensuring efficient distribution of work responsibilities.
Processes Without any Variables
When the entire workflow can be clearly charted from A to Z, then it might be beneficial to implement automation. As there is no scope for making decisions, it will help to follow a clear mold and go ahead with the outcome.
Where Finding the Right Workforce is Challenging
Risky jobs in production can lead to lower availability of workforce. When the work conditions are dangerous and hazardous, it can be possible to reduce the risks by employing automated steps. In the same vein, tasks such as documentation, storing data, data entry, and collecting surveys can be dry, yet important in the workplace. By introducing automated software and documentation tools, it will only make the work easier and achievable as desired.
The ‘Slow’ Areas
Automating these areas of your workflow need serious consideration and thoughtful implementation to avoid problems. You may not even need them at all!
Though we all enjoy working with virtual assistants or automated work tools, it may not always be desirable as customers. If our steps involve customer facing and customer serving steps, it is advisable to involve minimum automation. If personal touch is the essence, automated influence will simply fail.
Variable and Skilled Decisions
It complicated steps such as deciding on materials, accommodating alternatives, or changing deadlines enters into play, automation might not be the best option. As these crucial steps can influence the final outcome, incorrect decisions can simply spoil the entire process leading to unnecessary wastage.
Complicated Multi-Step Processes
The primary aim of workflow automation is to eliminate bottlenecks and ensure smooth functioning from one step to the other. But if the process demands the involvement of multiple factors, such automation can lead to higher bottlenecks. If there is an error in one component, it can disturb the others and eventually lead to more wastage of resources.
For Variety and Diversity
A one-size-fits-all model or cookie cutter style might not work for a particular process. Automation does not always allow such personalization changes as per the situation. If variety and diversity are desired, it will demand intervention and decision-making.
These are a few areas that must be considered before going ahead with automation. Workflow automation is definitely a valuable tool that should be implemented correctly. It demands a thorough understanding to avoid larger losses at a later stage. Figuring out before the process starts can enable benefits from the automation, rather than the other way round. Communication, coordination, and involvement of every team can give way to beneficial outcomes. After all, the aim is convenience where automation works and smartness where it doesn’t.