Workflow automation is the process of automating specific tasks in a business workflow. Typically, this is done to improve efficiency and accuracy in the workplace. Many different types of software can be used for workflow automation, and the best one for your business will depend on its specific needs.
This article will discuss the basics of workflow automation and provide ten examples of how it can be used in a business setting. We will also provide tips on choosing the right software for your needs.
What Is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation uses technology to automate specific tasks in a business workflow. Typically, this is done to improve efficiency and accuracy in the workplace. Many different types of software can be used for workflow automation, and the best one for your business will depend on its specific needs.
When choosing a workflow automation solution, it’s essential to consider all of the different tasks currently being performed manually in your company, then select a tool that integrates with existing systems.
For example, an automated faxing system is straightforward if you’re transferring customer calls to another department with faxes sent by email. However, an automated electronic filing system may be more effective if you have trouble keeping track of paper documents or email messages related to specific projects or clients.
If none of the existing tools meet all of your requirements, you can consider your customised solution using programming languages like Visual Basic, making it easier and faster to set up and run the workflow automation solution you need.
Ten Workflow Automation Examples and Ideas
1. Filing Messages: In some companies, email messages related to specific clients or projects are saved in a client management platform, while others are saved on the employee’s company computer or sent to another department. In some cases, it takes several days for messages that have been forwarded multiple times to reach their final destination.
A customised automated electronic filing system can help speed this process up by automatically routing messages through your workflow without employees’ manual input. This ensures security by making sure each message is securely transferred from one department or person to another within a few seconds.
2. Collecting Documents: In some businesses, there is a significant lag time between when documents are printed and when they are filed in the correct location.
This lag time can be reduced through automated workflow systems that include printing stations with scanners, which let employees quickly scan their paper-based work to an electronic platform for filing later.
A customised automated solution can also help reduce manual data entry errors by scanning barcodes on paper documents directly into software applications.
3. Managing Personal Task Lists: Many people use large task lists to track what needs to be done in any given week or month, but it’s easy to lose track of the order in which the tasks were added to the list and forget to do certain items.
By setting up custom workflows that automatically prioritise tasks or send notifications at specific times, employees can spend more time doing the things they enjoy and less time managing their to-do lists.
4. Tracking Projects: Each project in your company may have its process for completion, with one person handling most of the work while others play supporting roles. Since each employee’s position is different, business owners need to know what needs to be done.
Additionally, once all tasks are completed on a project, employees need to know exactly where it belongs within your workflow structure so that you can determine whether or not future projects should be handled in the same way.
A custom automated project management system simplifies this process by automatically showing employees the next steps for each project and where it fits into your workflow.
5. Handling Customer Complaints: When customers complain about issues outside of their immediate product or service feedback, agents need to know who is responsible for handling such complaints and how to forward them appropriately.
Using a customizable automated complaint management system will help assign tickets related to specific complaints to the employee best suited to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
In addition, companies can design an automated customer satisfaction survey after a certain number of complaints have been handled to make sure they are taking care of their clients’ needs as effectively as possible.
6. Managing Paperwork: Many businesses, especially small businesses, are still managed using various paper-based systems. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and money, as well as the potential for human error.
By automating your workflow process with custom software, you can easily manage all of your company’s paperwork electronically without having to worry about misplaced or lost documents.
7. Processing Orders: In many companies, the order processing department handles everything from taking customer orders to billing and shipping. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it can be streamlined using a workflow automation system by Aproove that includes order tracking features.
With this type of system in place, employees in other parts of the company can easily access up-to-date order information and know exactly where a product is in the workflow process.
8. Tracking Shipping: In some work environments, employees may spend a large part of their day working on shipping tasks. In cases like these, it’s vital to use custom workflows that allow them to track both incoming packages and outgoing shipments from multiple carriers.
This way, your staff can easily determine whether an order needs to be processed quickly or if it can wait until later in the week.
9. Automating Invoicing/Accounting Tasks: You have invoicing and accounting tasks related to accounts receivable on one side of the business management equation. On the other side, you have billing and invoicing tasks related to accounts payable.
For your business to remain profitable, you need a reliable way to automate each of these types of tasks so that they happen automatically without any extra effort on the part of your employees. By doing this, you can rest assured that your customers will always be billed accurately and on time while your suppliers are paid promptly as well.
10. Surveying Customers: After customers have received or returned products, it’s essential for companies to send them surveys asking about their experiences with specific items or services to determine whether positive improvements are needed.
Since customer satisfaction is one of the most crucial factors in determining company success, having an automated system that allows everyone involved in customer interactions to access the surveys is essential for creating a smooth and efficient workflow.
As you can see, there are various ways that workflow automation can improve your business efficiency. By taking the time to design custom workflows specific to your company’s needs carefully, you can rest assured that your staff will be able to operate at their best potential and improve your bottom line.