What is workflow automation?

What is workflow automation?

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Workflow automation, also known as business process management, refers to the use of computer software and hardware for automating processes. Workflows are used in a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, finance, healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, retailing, education, government, etc., where they can be employed to streamline manual tasks or repetitive work by replacing them with automated procedures that follow certain rules.

This reduces the chance for human error by letting software complete the repetitive tasks in your company.

What benefits do workflow automation bring?

Automation has been proven time after time to reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve quality control, and even eliminate errors. In fact, according to research conducted by McKinsey & Company, companies who implement workflow automation see a return on investment between 10% and 20%.

But what exactly does that mean? What are the benefits of automating your business processes? And how can you get started with this technology today? Let’s take a look at some examples:

1) Automate Your Order Fulfillment Processes – The first benefit of automated order fulfillment systems is that they help businesses save money in many ways. For example, if an e-commerce company sells products online, it needs to fulfill orders quickly so customers don’t have to wait too long before their items arrive. This means having enough staff available to handle customer requests while ensuring all shipments reach their destinations safely. However, when there are more than one person involved in fulfilling each order, mistakes happen. These mistakes include mislabeled packages, incorrect delivery dates, damaged goods, lost shipments, and other issues that cost both time and money. An automated system eliminates these problems because it ensures every step of the way is completed correctly. It saves employees from making costly mistakes and helps ensure timely deliveries.

2) Improve Customer Service - When people interact with any organization, whether it's through phone calls, emails, social media posts, or live chat sessions, they expect fast responses and excellent service. But sometimes things go wrong. If someone experiences poor customer support, he may choose not to purchase again, which could result in missed sales opportunities. Or worse yet, dissatisfied customers might spread negative reviews about your brand across various platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. To avoid such situations, automate your customer care processes using workflow automation tools. You'll then be able to provide better services to your clients without worrying about missing important deadlines.

3) Reduce Costs - Another great advantage of implementing workflow automation solutions is that they allow organizations to cut down on operational expenses. By reducing the number of steps required to perform routine activities, you can free up resources to focus on higher value projects. Additionally, since most workflow automation applications integrate seamlessly into existing IT infrastructures, you won't need additional training for new hires. Instead, you can train current workers to operate the solution effectively. Finally, workflow automation allows you to scale operations easily, allowing you to add capacity whenever needed.

4) Increase Productivity - One final reason why workflow automation makes sense is that it increases productivity by helping teams work smarter instead of harder. Since tasks are assigned automatically based on preconfigured rules, team members no longer waste valuable time searching for information or waiting around for instructions. They're also less likely to make errors due to lack of manual intervention. In addition, workflow automation reduces human error rates by eliminating repetitive actions. As a result, employees spend more time working on high priority tasks rather than performing mundane administrative duties.

What is needed for workflow automation ?

There are a few components used in workflow automation: 

1) Cloud-Based Software

Cloud based software allows users to access their files from any internet connected device. It's similar to cloud computing but instead of storing information locally, it stores everything online. Airtable is a cloud-based database that provides a source of truth and allows for process improvement in your company.

2) Hardware

Depending on your business you may implement hardware-based solutions such as barcode scanners, RFID readers, printers, scales, etc. which allow for information and data to pass in and out of the workflow automatically, removing any manual processes. 

3) Workflow design

The design of your workflow needs to be carefully considered, you need to think about your company, your teams, your customers and how data flows between them all. By using no-code tools you can easily create a workflow but it can take time if you've never done it before. Alternatively companies are hiring automation experts like Airtable Agency to help.

The main benefits of using an expert is that they have build hundreds of integrations already and know what works best for different industries, they can also do it much quicker and give you support as your business grows. Find out more about how Airtable Agency works here.