You may think you’ve been automating your business processes properly, but let’s try a thought exercise: Think about how long it takes to fill out a paper form, get it approved and forwarded to the appropriate destination. That may seem pretty simple, but if you multiply these actions by 100, with separate approval plans and different destinations, what was once a straightforward process is suddenly a nightmare of paper, logistics and potential mistakes. Even in a small company, these types of inefficient business practices can cost time, money and opportunities! This is why automating your business and using Process Documents is so important.
Automating your Business
A Process Document is the starting point that allows you to identify the steps to complete a specific action and lets you begin to figure out how to make that action more efficient with automation. Business Automation can refer to something as complex as robotic assembly lines and self-service grocery store checkouts or as simple as onboarding new employees using electronic forms. From big to small, automating recurring tasks increases efficiency and frees employees to perform their job rather than being stuck in a mire of paperwork.
Increasing productivity is a big one, but there are many ways automation can help your business. Some of the biggest advantages include streamlining communications, providing records for accountability, reducing errors and setting a clear hierarchy—automation means not having to figure out who needs to approve something or who’s in charge. The right person automatically receives the request. But, if further explanation is needed, the answer is always just one click away in the Process Document.
The Importance of Process Documents
Even if you don’t plan on actually automating a particular action, a Process Document is vital to preserving the knowledge of how a specific action within your business takes place. We’ve all been in the situation where we can’t complete a task because the only person in the company who knows how to do it is on vacation. Rather than deny all vacations and deal with an angry mob of employees, take some time to document and organize how things actually get done. When creating a Process Document, start by describing the action, the purpose it serves and where it stands in the overall operation of the company. Next, break down each step of the process, who is responsible and how it happens. The resulting reference material is your Process Document.
Automating your business may not be a simple process. There is a learning curve, and automation usually does require an initial outlay of resources to set up. But instituting business process automation and creating process documents can ultimately lead to a business with substantially increased efficiency, higher profits and happier employees.
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