Enhancing Efficiency and Productivity: 9 Areas of Your Business That Could Benefit From Automation

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Jon Stojan

Automation is one of the most common buzzwords used in the business world today. In the age of technology, we are all about automation as a means of enhancing the efficiency and productivity of modern-day businesses. When automation is used correctly, it can free employees from the mundane administrative tasks that occupy them each day.

“When machines start to handle the repetitive and mundane, humans can explore their full potential for innovation and creativity. Automation empowers humans to reach greater heights in their careers,” says Josh Keller, Founder of OTTO Quotes.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from automation in many parts of their businesses. Here we will cover the top nine areas of your business that could benefit from automation. First, let’s get into what business automation looks like.

What Does Business Automation Look Like?

Business automation helps simplify business operations by automatically accomplishing the tasks that you or your employees would otherwise spend time doing manually. An example of this which most people are familiar with is the auto-responses sent via email when someone is out of office. This is just one small example, as some of today's most successful businesses have automated far more than email responses.

“There is no doubt that automation is synonymous with both efficiency and productivity. What else are those words synonymous with? Success," says Sanford Mann, CEO of American Hartford Gold, a company that helps customers diversify their retirement funds with Gold IRA accounts.

It is no secret that automation plays a key role in the success of many companies. Businesses looking to increase their productivity should start automating as many areas of their business as possible. Let’s look at some areas of your business that could benefit from automation.

  1. Inventory Management

For many businesses, managing inventory is an essential part of their operations. Managing inventory by hand can not only be incredibly time-consuming, but it can also lead to inaccurate data due to human error. Employees are typically responsible for keeping track of stock levels, supply chain activity, and financial data. Even a small mistake in these areas can lead to lost sales.

“If you are managing large quantities of physical inventory by hand, you are behind the times. Implementing systems to automate inventory management is non-negotiable for a company that has a high volume of sales," says Max Ade, CEO of Pickleheads.

Seek out an automated inventory software that is capable of tracking multiple warehouses, scanning barcodes, and setting reorder points. You’ll want to ensure the system you choose can seamlessly integrate with the other applications you already use to operate your business. Make sure you clearly understand your business's needs before making the final software choice.

2. Order Processing

Once you’ve set up your inventory management system, automating order processing is next. This requires a platform that can monitor business events in specific apps. Once that initial event (or purchase) occurs, the automated system will perform the predefined actions required to fill an order. This creates a more streamlined experience for the employee and the customer.

“The last ten years of IT have been about changing the way people work. The next ten years of IT will be about transforming your business,”  points out Aaron Levie, CEO of Box.

When it comes to order processing, focus on finding a system that will transform the efficiency of your business. This directly affects the most important part of your business: the customer experience. Consumers place a high level of importance on if a business is able to process orders in a timely and efficient manner.

3. Managing Finances

Financial management is one of the more daunting tasks required when running a business. It is also, however, absolutely essential. Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to automate the management of your finances. You can automate accounts payable to scan invoices and capture their information securely, automate tax compliance and reporting through accounting software, and use integrated expense management tools for expense management and reporting.

“Businesses that embrace automated financial management are empowering themselves to make well-informed, strategic decisions when it comes to spending. Relinquishing these monotonous tasks to technology gives business leaders the tools needed to drive growth,” mentions Seth Besse, CEO of Undivided.

After automating your financial processes, ensure your software is communicating accurately with your other applications. You’ll have to repeat this step each time you introduce a new process or software in your automation journey. Remember, automation will only help with productivity if it isn’t creating additional issues that need to be solved.

4. Customer Support

Let’s move on to the customer side of business automation. Dealing directly with customers often comes with its own set of tough-to-manage expectations. In the age of the internet, customers today expect answers, and they expect them quickly and outside of regular business hours. You can see how this may present an issue if you only have one employee responding to messages within normal business hours.

“In business, responsiveness to customers is the best way to build brand loyalty. That’s what keeps your customers coming back again and again — because they know they can trust you," says George Fraguio, Vice President of Bridge Lending at Vaster Capital.

If you’d like to build a loyal following of customers, automated customer support is your first step. If customers don’t feel seen and heard by their favorite businesses, they will not hesitate to take their money to a more responsive company. Don’t let a lack of automation lose you business.

5. Human Resources

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Your team can automate many human resource processes through HR software, including recruitment and hiring, employee onboarding, payroll and benefits, time and leave tracking, and performance evaluation. Implementing these applications can free up your HR team for more critical human-lead tasks.

“When you free your HR team from the shackles of administrative tasks through automation, they are free to focus on cultivating a positive company culture where talent thrives," says Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce.

Let your HR team focus on the human aspect of your company and let automation do what it does best. This may well yield a smaller but more efficient HR team driven by the desire to support the team's aspirations and overall goals.

6. Employee Training

Alongside HR automation comes employee training, from training for new hires to maintenance training for your existing team. Automating employee training and development streamlines the

onboarding process and prevents other employees from being taken away from their regular roles to run or participate in training and therefore interrupting business operations.

“The best part of automating employee training is that you can ensure each individual is trained under the same standards. You can even set those standards yourself when establishing the process," says Patricio Paucar, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer of Navi.

Although a training automation system may take longer to establish than some of the other processes discussed here, it is worth it in the long run. Training can cost businesses a lot of time and money, so it is best to put in the initial time investment to get this system up and running to save time and money down the line.

7. Marketing

While not all areas of your marketing strategy should be subject to automation, many areas can benefit. Some common marketing automation tactics include email marketing, behavioral targeting, lead prioritization, and personal advertising. Putting some of these systems in place can help increase your brand visibility and bring in new customers.

“When automating your marketing systems, remember that there still needs to be a conductor orchestrating the data. You don’t want to lose too much of the human aspect, or you’ll risk isolating your audience," mentions Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB.

As valuable as marketing automation is, make sure your marketing campaigns don’t seem too robotic. Use automation to cover the clerical tasks and let the humans manage content since the human touch can make a real difference.

8. Social Media

Along with marketing, your social media accounts can be subject to automation. These days, companies are expected to maintain a strong and consistent presence on many, if not all, major socials. This expectation by consumers has led to companies having entire teams exclusively dedicated to social media.

“When operating your company's socials, stay away from strictly broadcasting information, and instead make sure that you are engaging authentically. This can be difficult when exclusively using AI,” says Nicholas Mathews, CEO of Stillwater Behavioral Health.

Social media schedulers can keep your company relevant and help with posting outside of normal business hours. You can also implement software to analyze the data behind your posts.

9. Performance Monitoring and Feedback

Good performance management software can accommodate many strategies, like annual reviews, quarterly goals, and employee feedback. These systems can help a business blend goals, feedback, and more in their daily processes. For large companies with over 50 employees, this type of automation is essential.

“Embracing a solid feedback system isn’t just a strategy; it’s the key to growth, transparency, and the overall success of a company," states Andrew Mavis, CEO of 98Strong.

The good news is that performance monitoring software is among the easier systems to learn. Employees and managers alike should have no issue reporting feedback through these systems. Implementing one of these systems should also create a better working relationship between employees and their higher-ups.

Benefitting From Automation

Automation is a powerful way to enhance your efficiency and productivity as a business. Business owners have embraced automation with open arms in recent years, especially with the emergence of many new AI tools. While some employees see AI as a threat to their livelihoods, that is far from the case in many industries.

“I predict that, because of artificial intelligence and its ability to automate certain tasks that in the past were impossible to automate, not only will we have a much wealthier civilization, but the quality of work will go up very significantly and a higher fraction of people will have callings and careers relative to today," says Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos

Don’t be afraid of automation, as it is the key to a more successful future. Technology continues to develop in ways that will enhance our lives, not just in our business endeavors but also in our individual ones.

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