5 tell-tale signs that your business processes are inefficient

Written by Jordan McMahon in Software robots in the workplace on October 8, 2014

There’s the old adage that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”Perhaps processes in your business aren’t “broken,” but they could potentially benefit from some analysis to determine if they can run more efficiently, faster, and more cost effectively—particularly as repetitive choke points are revealed.

How can you tell if you’re due for some business process improvement? And more importantly, how can automation help solve the problem?

You might need to take a closer look at your processes if...

You find people saying “It is what it is.”

Not only is it cited as being annoying business jargon that should be done away with permanently, but when people use the “it is what it is” close-out to a discussion about a flawed process, it’s a sure sign that something probably should in fact be done.

Rather than simply accepting the status quo, automation software makes it possible to look at business processes and identify areas where automation can fix the glitches. Furthermore, as tasks are automated, the software allows you to automatically generate process maps so that processes are documented as they exist today, and can be easily analyzed and edited going forward.

Your growth is stalling

A continuous battle in business is keeping costs low while still growing and scaling. You’ll notice growing pains if your profits and competitive edge are constantly stifled by increased costs from adding more application instances and more people to your business.

Companies don’t grow (or grow too slowly) when their business operations are siloed. Automation software breaks down the barriers, democratizing the use of automation. Because it doesn’t require users to have programming knowledge, it is a tool that each employee can utilize to automate tasks that specifically apply to their job function. One investment in automation software eliminates the need to hire contractors to handle “busywork,” solves multiple business problems in multiple departments, and frees IT to focus on helping scale the infrastructure of the organization rather than getting stuck performing lower value tasks like backups, adding or deleting users, or even integrating applications.

Your employees appear unmotivated

You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and if mundane or repetitive tasks are weakening employee morale, you have a problem that needs immediate attention. If, for instance, your employees are spending more of their day doing manual tasks like transferring data from one application to the other rather than progressing on projects or executing on key initiatives, productivity suffers for them and ultimately for the company as a whole.

We’ve all had to take on mundane tasks that are sometimes literally painful to perform (think- headaches from staring at an Excel spreadsheet for hours), so we can all relate to the lack of motivation that accompanies those tasks. With automation software, a multitude of time-consuming tasks like data entry, file formatting, data extraction, data migration, and Excel tasks can be automated in minutes and run as frequently as you specify. With each task automated, more and more time is put back in your day. And who isn’t motivated to do that?

You’re seeing errors multiply

The cost of a single error can be astronomical, yet with people performing manual tasks, errors are inevitable. Not only is it a cost issue, but errors also create a time issue as internal resources are forced to derail what they're working on to fix data, and can cause a reputation hit as well, if the errors ultimately affect customers.

Inevitably, as humans carry out tasks like copy/pasting, errors are bound to happen. Depending on the frequency and severity of these errors, businesses can lose thousands and thousands of dollars, taint internal documents, or upset customers with faulty information. Automation staunches the flow of errors, completing tasks perfectly each time they’re run, ensuring that “oops” moments don’t happen.

Your reporting processes take too long

Executives thrive on information, and when they need it, they often need it yesterday. Reporting is one of those processes that you need to get right, but you also need to do quickly. If you find that reports are taking days to produce, and are often later than required by business leaders, it’s likely a process that needs to be examined for improvements.

Automation lets you surface relevant, accurate information quickly, and makes it possible to share that information with the right people whenever they need it. Using automation software for reporting, you can automatically pull data from a variety of applications, databases, or the web, organize reports, schedule reports to be emailed when and to whom you specify, and share automatic report generation capabilities with co-workers via .exe files.

Check out 50 processes your company should be automating in this infographic.