Some tasks are repetitive, mind-numbing, and lack the sort of creativity that promotes active engagement. If possible, these types of processes should be automated so that the type of energy needed to find places where your organization can evolve may blossom.

Businesses thrive on having employees that are engaged in the work that they are doing. Over time, as a business grows, it may be found that some of the manual processes that are being done could actually be automated, making for a better work environment for your valued team.

Overview: What is an automated process?

An automated process is a process that utilizes technology and/or software to accomplish a task without the need for constant human control or labor.

10 benefits of automated processes

There are some clear benefits to the automation of processes that should not be overlooked:

1. Greater efficiency

Having your processes automated can increase efficiency significantly by providing faster processing, around-the-clock operating, more reliable data analysis, and improved accuracy.

2. Productivity

Automation of processes boosts productivity by taking the human factor out of repetitive tasks. Machines do not need the same kinds of breaks that humans do, so there is less wasted time. Less time waste means more productivity.

3. Cost

Automation cuts down on costs for your business by eliminating the need for employees to put their focus on repetitive tasks that lack creativity. Your workforce can instead put emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking issues that can have a greater impact on the future of your organization.

4. Meeting regulatory standards

Having automated processes can make meeting the regulatory standards of your industry easier.

5. Error reduction

Having automated processes can greatly cut down on the number of errors that can come with having humans work on processes.

6. Customer experience

One significant benefit of having processes automated is that some aspects of your organization can be handled much more quickly for your customers. This can greatly improve their experience with your company.

7. An increase in employee satisfaction

Automating processes and instead directing employees to engaging work can raise the morale of your workers.

8. Going green

Having some of your processes automated can be more environmentally friendly since it can mean a significant decrease in the use of paper in your organization.

9. Standardizing workflow

A key advantage of automating processes is that it provides the ability to standardize workflow as well as cut down on variability.

10. Scalability

By automating processes, you are able to easily scale your workforce to the size of a project.

Why are automated processes important to understand?

Automated processes are important to understand for the following reasons:

Competitive – Having an understanding of automated processes can help your organization remain competitive in a changing market.

Growth – As your business grows, it will be important to have a keen grasp on where you can automate your processes to make your evolution easier.

Budgeting – Over time, budgeting decisions will need to be made for your organization. Knowing where you can save money by automating processes can allow you to divert funds to other aspects of your business where they are needed.

An industry example of an automated process

As Starbucks grew, it found the need to make some changes in how its organization worked. One example would be its investment in espresso machines that made the making of its coffee drinks practically an automated process. Baristas would enter in simple commands into the new machines and the espresso makers would make the drinks the same way consistently every time. There was, of course, some concern that this would lead workers to lose their jobs. Instead, it provided more opportunities for active engagement with customers without having to monitor the preparation of the drinks so closely.

3 best practices when thinking about automated processes

Here are some best practices to consider when it comes to the use of automated processes in your organization:

1. Be ethical

There will be plenty of opportunities to automate your processes in a way that offers shortcuts that can be dubious ethically and even legally. While these may be enticing for what they can do for your organization, the risk of the negative impacts they can have on your organization can not be overestimated.

2. Think of the people

Be sure that the processes you intend to automate will indeed improve the experience for your workers and your customers.

3. Forecast

Sometimes there can be the pull to automate processes in a manner where the set-up costs are too great for your current resources. Be responsible in forecasting the savings that can be made over time and if your organization can bear the weight of cost until those savings are seen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about automated processes

What is the difference between an automated process and a manual one?

A manual process can involve one or multiple humans handling tasks, while an automated process will involve one or more machines handling the tasks. Processes can have a mix of manual and automated aspects.

What is another word for automate?

Mechanize could be an appropriate word to use in place of automation.

Does automation always refer to the replacement of manual labor?

No. It can refer to any task that would otherwise be done by a human.

Where can you automate a process in your business?

Now that you are aware of all the benefits that automating processes can have for your organization, it is worth thinking about which processes you are able to automate. It does not matter how small your organization is. Even for smaller businesses, automating processes like scheduling emails or social media posts can have a huge impact on time and cost savings. By finding ways to automate your processes, you can have more time to give your customers a great experience, thereby making your organization a better one.

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