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5 Reasons to Automate More Business Processes in 2023

Jan. 30, 2023
The benefits are many and the need is real, so don’t let your company fall behind the curve.

Everyone is getting into the automation game. With labor getting harder to come by—and increasingly difficult to retain—the race is on to automate basic, repetitive processes that could be better handled by technology. This not only helps companies streamline their operations, reduce error rates and improve efficiencies, but also allows their valuable human resources to focus on more important projects and tasks.

Automation helps ensure busy days don't prevent the brainstorming and camaraderie critical to your businesss health,” Clate Mask points out in “5 Ways Automation Can Help You Manage Your Team.” If your files are cloud-based and available to all team members, for example, everyone can collaborate and get tasks handled faster. “If you use project management software,” Mask writes, “you can quickly assign tasks to employees and feel confident you don’t need to micromanage their completion.”

Automation can also free up a sales team’s time for the strategic tasks and complex customer conversations that they need to handle. It also provides what Mask calls the “single best way” to bill customers and collect payments from them. “When you go through an automated system for billing,” Mask writes, “you don’t have to remember when to invoice or chase after payments when they're late.”

Companies are quickly catching onto these and other benefits associated with automation. At the same time, software and hardware developers are continually adding advanced features and capabilities to their solutions. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just a few of the advanced options that are being folded into both new and existing solutions.  

Here are five more reasons why you should consider automating more of your company’s business processes this year:

  1. Make life easier for the procurement department. For electronics buyers, automating business processes helps increase efficiency and reduce costs, and all while making tracking and monitoring performance easier. For example, you can automate tasks like requesting quotes, evaluating suppliers, creating purchase orders and tracking deliveries—all of which would otherwise require much human intervention and hands-on tasks. “Procurement automation aims to make the purchasing process more efficient and cost effective,” says Fernando Spada, chief marketing and revenue officer at Orbweaver, whose platform provides an end-to-end quoting, sales automation and data integration solution for the electronic parts industry. “By automating these tasks, businesses can save time and reduce the likelihood of errors. Procurement automation also helps companies better manage their spending and improve their supplier relationships.”
  2. Work through the labor shortage. All organizations want to be able to do more with less, and automation helps them achieve that goal. With the national unemployment rate still hovering at 50-year lows (3.5%), companies can’t just “throw more people” at the problem. Instead, they’re turning to automation to help them fill the gaps created by the labor shortage. “The demands on businesses to reduce costs, be more efficient and stay competitive have also been there,” says Spada. “On top of that, there’s not enough knowledgeable labor with the right skills and experience to tackle common business processes and tasks.” 
  3. Get an entry ticket to digitalization. Many businesses are automating and digitizing right now—so much so that it’s become somewhat of an “entry ticket” to more streamlined, digitalized processes. “Being able to connect to the ecosystem of digitized and automated processes has become table stakes for organizations, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to ‘play’ in that arena,” said Spada. “We’ve reached a point where companies that don’t automate and digitize may not even get to participate.”
  4. Add value to your bottom line. By introducing automation to the everyday employee experience, businesses can help ensure individuals aren’t bogged down by growing workloads and too many repetitive tasks. “As such, automation provides businesses and workers more time to focus on meaningful, higher-value tasks,” Salvatore Salamone writes in “Real-Time and Automation: Trends to Watch in 2023.” “There is no doubt automation of business processes can be a powerful tool. Whether it’s retail, manufacturing, shipping, or any other industry, robotic process automation (RPA) can eliminate tedious tasks, increase accuracy and add value to a company’s bottom line.”
  5. Take advantage of the “democratization” of automation. There was a time when automation implementations were viewed as expensive and resource-intensive. Over the last few years, however, automation has become much more democratized and available to a broader swath of companies. As the cloud emerged as a preferred software delivery method, for example, the number of use cases for automation proliferated—and not just for large organizations with large budgets. “Companies are developing automation solutions for specific industries and/or to manage specific functionalities or activities,” said Spada. “There’s more availability and choice than ever.”

Crawl, Walk, Run

Along with that expanded availability comes the need to sift through the many options and pick the top one(s) for your organization. For best results, Spada said to look for an implementation partner that understands your industry, your company and its specific automation needs. That partner should also offer proven solutions and a “reasonably fast” path to realizing the value of your investment.

“This should be the part of the due diligence that any organization goes through when selecting a partner,” said Spada, who advises companies to take a “crawl, walk, run” approach to automation, and particularly if they’re in the early stages of their automation journeys.

“You don’t have to go ‘all in’ from the beginning; you can learn and evolve and accelerate together with your implementation partner. That’s an important differentiator that increases the probability of success.”

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About the Author

Bridget McCrea | Contributing Writer | Supply Chain Connect

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who covers business and technology for various publications.