The automation of manual work led to the first industrial revolution. Today, it’s the turn of “administrative” tasks to undergo the same process, with equally significant consequences for company operations.
Entrepreneurs and managers know: time is money. Saving time by automating low value-added tasks is therefore an effective way of improving a company’s profitability.
What is task automation?
The principle has not changed since the industrial revolution: task automation means letting the machine take care of repetitive tasks.
Just as the robot and the drill have replaced the operator and the screwdriver on the assembly line, computers and algorithms are set to replace the human being for repetitive, low value-added tasks.
Which processes should be automated?
All repetitive tasks can be automated, from the simplest to the most complex. It makes sense to start automating low-value-added business processes. These are the most resource-intensive processes, and the easiest to automate.
A time-consuming and tedious process par excellence, data entry is often the first task that companies choose to automate.
There are many ways to implement automatic data capture within an organization, depending on needs and possibilities.
OCR(optical character recognition) is used to read and transcribe data from any document.
Order management is often quite labor-intensive: taking the order, integrating it into a file, issuing the purchase order, transmitting it to the appropriate department, sending the invoice….
A Customer Relation Manager (CRM) tool automates every stage of the process, from order to delivery to invoicing. This translates into an improvement in flow processing speed, and therefore in productivity.
Internal and external communications
The importance of good communication is well established, but it can sometimes be repetitive. Customer reminders, updates, confirmations, reminders, meeting minutes…
All those e-mails you just can’t live without take a lot of effort. No special skills are required to write and send them, but they are time-consuming. This is a process that needs to be automated as a matter of priority to boost productivity.
With tools such as Power Automate, you can easily generate automatic e-mails to acknowledge receipt of an order or to send an invoice.
There are many project management software packages available to automate the various processes involved: task creation, Gantt charts, Kanban boards… Their help is invaluable in gaining fluidity and responsiveness, two major advantages in differentiating yourself from the competition.
Freed from these tasks, the project manager can concentrate on supporting the teams and driving the project forward.
The 5 benefits of task automation
Among the many benefits of process automation, here are those that are most important to entrepreneurs.
Standardization of communication media
Good internal communication is essential for teamwork. Communication is usually by e-mail, through meetings, interviews in the corridors, or Post-its left on the screen… but this can be very detrimental to the organization.
An automated workflow within a single system is the best way to ensure that all information is present, and that everyone has access to it.
What’s more, the history can be accessed at any time, limiting the loss of information when an employee leaves, and facilitating the integration of new employees.
Process automation means that each step can be precisely defined and assigned a person responsible for it. This helps to clearly define each person’s role in the project and avoid conflicts. It also enables bottlenecks to be analyzed and processes to be improved.
Reduced potential for error
Humans can make mistakes, but not machines. An employee may forget to transmit a document, but not the computer. A person needs a certain amount of time to complete a task, whereas a computer does it almost instantaneously.
Automating processes makes them faster and more reliable, reducing losses due to delays and errors.
Not only does automation save time on certain tasks, it also enables employees to use their skills on higher value-added missions.
Freed from these “uninteresting” procedures, employees are free to concentrate on their core business. More available, less tired and more motivated, he achieves better results without having to put in extra effort.
Task automation tools are appreciated by department heads, managers and executives alike, as they enable them to obtain precise information quickly. They can be used to view a specific point in a process, or to get an overall view of how the company operates.
What’s more, data is always up to date and instantly available.
Some task automation tools
Zapier is a web-based platform for automating tasks between different connected applications. Its operating principle is simple, based on workflows (zaps) and triggers.
Zapier is connected to a multitude of tools and applications on the market. It enables connections to be established between different market tools.
The basic package is free, but limited. Paid versions offer many more features. Prices range from €20 to €200 per month, depending on the number of workflows supported.
As we mentioned earlier, Power Automate is Microsoft’s solution for automating manual tasks. Power Automate lets you create workflows, automate tasks and processes, and connect to a wide range of data sources.
The app is part of the Microsoft suite and integrates seamlessly with Office 365, Dynamics 365, Dataverse and, of course, Power Apps.
PA can be used by both self-employed entrepreneurs and large international groups.
Phantombuster is SaaS software that interacts on the Internet for you. Data extraction, scheduled actions, workflow… Phantombuster does it all for you.
Simple and powerful, this software is aimed above all at sales and marketing departments for customer and market research, or at headhunters and recruitment agencies.
Lean management to identify your productivity gains
At Altermès, we suggest starting with an audit of the company’s existing processes before embarking on task automation. In fact, starting with an audit enables you to identify exactly where you need to improve and where the bottlenecks are. The use of process design tools such as Visio helps to improve operational staff’s understanding of processes.
Lean management is based on the principle of improving performance through a reduction in all forms of waste. At Altermès, we apply lean management to finance functions in order to improve their performance.
We carry out audits of processes and tools in place in order to :
- Streamline processes and facilitate interaction between the people involved,
- Automate low-value-added tasks using digital tools, RPA or the development of customized tools,
- Improve your organization’s performance .
👆 You want to improve your operational processes and don’t know how to go about it, call on the Altermès teams to help you understand your business processes and automate these tasks.
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