Posted in Workflow Automation

6 Business-Boosting Benefits of Workflow Automation

It’s no surprise that over half of business leaders are showing an interest in workflow automation.

After all, 74% of business leaders and employees believe segments of their jobs could be automated. 

Not only would this speed up workflows, but it would also reduce labor costs and increase workflow scalability.

But these aren’t the only upsides of workflow automation.

Read on to discover six ways that workflow automation software can benefit your business processes.

Want to jump to the sections relevant to you? Click here:

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation is the act of automating processes within your organization to remedy the issues associated with manual work.

Research shows that it’s possible to automate a third of the activities in 60% of jobs. 

Plus, according to 72% of organizations, this type of business process management boosts efficiency and customer satisfaction.

There are different stages of workflows at which automation can be applied to speed up processes, cut back on labor costs, and prevent errors.

Most often, this includes the design and execution of autonomous workflows for repetitive tasks such as data entry and customer communication.

Automation can also be applied to validate information to prevent mistakes from delaying documentation further down the line.

To keep workflows smooth, automation may extend to automatic routing. This is where forms, paperwork, and tasks are passed down the chain of command automatically, instead of manual hand-overs. This is especially useful for approval processes.

Automatic record-keeping is also a helpful step in the workflow. Keep up-to-date, error-free records by automatically uploading all workflow documentation directly to your digital filing systems.

Take a look at Yves Rocher’s transformation thanks to automation technology.

Previously, its onboarding process had been a real headache.

This was an issue since the beauty retailer’s staff would grow by two-thirds during peak seasons. 

With lots of customized forms and data entry, the manual workflow was laborious and slow. On top of this, the approval processes were complex and full of delays. As a result, employees often started working before payroll could be processed.

By switching to frevvo, Yves Rocher could automate crucial stages of the workflow to speed up processing.

Customizable digital forms auto-populate with key information to save on data entry, while automatic validation ensures all forms are correct.

Using complex logic, documentation is automatically routed to the correct approvers and relevant departments so that employees start work on time with everything they need.

What’s the Problem With Manual Workflows?

Up until now, your business may have been using manual workflows. But you’re doing yourself a disservice by sticking to this way of working. 

50% of organizations are making a serious effort to improve their workflows. This is because there are many issues with manual workflows that can go unnoticed, until they become much larger issues. 

Your staff gets used to the bottlenecks, accepting inefficiencies as the way things have always been, until an important deadline gets missed or a significant error slips through.

In manual workflows, data entry is often done by hand. Approval systems use manual processes and paper files to hand over documentation.

Not only is this slow and labor-heavy, but these workflows are also prone to human error. This delays processing even further and often results in excess labor costs to remedy mistakes.

What’s more, manual processes lack strong accountability measures. Paperwork can get lost in handover processes, and there’s no way to trace it back to the point of failure.

In the end, the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of poorly-managed manual workflows lead to disgruntled staff and dissatisfied customers.

By automating these workflows, more processing can be done in less time. Fewer errors also mean that less work needs to be repeated.

Take a look at Central Wyoming College (CWC), for example.

Previously, the college had used manual purchase order processes.

Purchase orders were often incomplete, wasting hours in follow-up time. Plus, manually-processed approvals took weeks to finalize.

By automating this manual process with frevvo’s workflow management software, CWC saves significant time.

Purchase orders auto-populate and are automatically validated to avoid errors. 

Following this, purchase orders are automatically routed to the correct approver based on operational cost center codes. Automatic notifications and reminders make sure approvers sign documentation on time.

Now, there’s a full, correct audit trail, and staff members no longer spend hours chasing purchase order approvals.

6 Benefits of Workflow Automation to Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness

Every business strives to improve how workflows run and the outcomes of those workflows. However, it’s tough to improve both efficiency and effectiveness when you’re stuck with manual workflows.

Here’s how you can boost workflow efficiency and effectiveness with workflow automation.

1. Speed up task management and completion 

According to 42% of business leaders, tasks get completed faster with process automation than when completed manually.

In fact, 70% of business leaders believe they could save up to 30 hours every month with workflow automation, while nearly 80% believe that employees would save 60 hours a month.

Take data entry on forms, for example. 

Forms that automatically populate pull information from integrated databases, filling them out. Auto-validation makes sure this data is correct.

This not only means that forms are faster to fill out, but it also prevents delays later when incorrect documentation is sent back down the chain to be fixed.

Alternatively, consider how automation speeds up contract approvals processes for Initial Saudi Group.

Previously, manual contract processes took up to 10 days to complete because multiple parties had to approve contracts. 

By switching to frevvo, Initial Saudi Group automated the approvals process so that documentation is automatically routed to the correct approvers immediately based on custom logic.

Approvers are notified instantly of pending documentation. If they don’t respond, an automatic reminder is issued to prevent approval delays.

Now, the contract approval process takes no more than six hours.

As Afzal Jandira, head of business systems, puts it: “The IT GM tasked me with automating this process in one week. After using the frevvo solution, he said it was one of the fastest solutions he had seen in his entire career. “ 

2. Cut back on labor costs

Almost a third of business leaders believe that automating tasks would reduce labor costs.

This is because automation reduces administration and cuts down repetitive tasks, decreasing the labor hours needed to cover the workload and lowering staffing costs.

On top of that, 40% of business leaders believe that digitizing document processes boosts employee productivity, meaning more high-quality work gets done in fewer hours.

But that’s not all. Automatic validation means that incorrect data isn’t moving through the workflow. This reduces the extra time staff needs to remedy wrong information.

Plus, automatic routing means staff no longer have to spend time manually delivering paperwork or chasing approvals.

All these things considered, smaller teams can do more work, which reduces the need for large staffing budgets.

Here’s how La Cité college managed to cut back on staffing costs.

Its previous student registration process required students to queue for over 20 minutes so that staff could manually check paperwork. A lot of staff were needed to keep the registration process flowing.

Now, with frevvo, students can complete their registration forms on their mobile devices. Since the forms auto-validate, there’s no need for such high volumes of staff to check forms.

3. Reduce errors in processing 

Manual processing is littered with errors. Not only do people fill forms out with the wrong information, but it can also be difficult to read handwriting. Staff members also make mistakes when entering data into systems.

Errors not only lead to delays in processing but can also result in compliance issues. Plus, if errors go unchecked, you’ll see poor outcomes at the end of the process.

According to half of business leaders and employees, automation can help solve this issue by reducing manual errors. 38% agree that automated workflows result in better product quality. 

Take Aero Communications, for example.

The technology company couldn’t pull data from its existing SQL databases to fill in forms, resulting in many data entry errors and duplicate submissions.

By implementing frevvo’s workflow automation software, Aero Communications can now integrate its SQL database to pull data into forms and automatically populate fields.

Not only does this save time on data entry, but the auto-validation means there’s no need for remedial work further down the line — errors are a thing of the past.

4. Streamline approval processes

Clunky approval processes slow down entire workflows. When manual approvals are needed, staff often spend hours delivering documentation by hand and chasing approvers.

Digitization and process automation streamlines approval processes. 

Not only does automatic routing send documentation to the right approver based on custom logic, but approvers can also sign documents online thanks to e-signature technology. 

To prevent delays, automatic notifications alert approvers to new documentation, while reminders automatically signal that approval is still pending. 

Check out how Safety Technology Holdings streamlined its approval process with a workflow automation solution.

With multiple locations worldwide, the purchase requisitions process was cumbersome. Approvals needed to be routed from the employee to the manager. They then went on to either the VP, CFO, or CEO, depending on the request.

The technology firm used a mix of InfoPath forms, emails, PDFs, and custom-built applications to send approvals to the right people. The workflow was a real mess.

Thanks to frevvo, Safety Technology Holdings now routes documentation automatically using complex, custom logic based on the forms’ content. Automatic notifications mean that staff no longer have to chase approvals as they’re signed off on immediately.

5. Improve the customer experience 

Currently, 38% of firms are trying to enhance their workflows to improve customer satisfaction and remain competitive.

After all, unhappy customers don’t return for repeat business.

Since there are fewer errors and delays in an automated workflow, products and services are more likely to be delivered on time and correctly. 

Not only that, but automation helps streamline processing so that the tasks within the workflow are less complex, providing a better customer experience.

Take energy firm Activ8, for instance.

The company was struggling to close deals due to its long, complex sales cycle. 

To give a customer a quote, sales teams had to analyze the customer’s home, head back to the office to draw up said quote, and send it over by snail mail or email. There were often mistakes in the documentation, delaying this process further.

By switching to frevvo’s workflow software, the process is now far smoother. 

Sales teams can give customers instant quotes on-the-spot thanks to an automated quote calculator.

All forms auto-populate and auto-validate, so there’s no need for extra data entry. 

Now, customers can get their quote, paperwork, and invoice there and then. Payments go through immediately. It’s far easier for the customer, resulting in more sales for Activ8.

6. Increase scalability of workflows

The only way to scale manual processes is to hire more people or increase each person’s workload. However, when you scale manual processes, you need to deal with an increase in errors.

By automating workflows, scaling becomes easier.

According to a report by Deloitte: “Organizations that have achieved scale are those with a clear vision, strategy, and approach to capturing value from automation.”

Automatic workflows enable more repetitive tasks to occur at once, meaning less human labor is needed while processes still complete quicker.

With much higher efficiency levels, it’s easier to increase the output of these systems without incurring huge jumps in staffing costs or significant feedback from errors.

Look at Cricket Australia, for example.

Before frevvo, Cricket Australia used manual invoicing procedures. It took more than 15 minutes to raise every invoice.

Now, thanks to frevvo’s automation solution, Cricket Australia can raise hundreds of invoices every month without breaking a sweat.

Streamline Workflows with Automation Now

The benefits of workflow automation can’t be understated. 

Not only does workflow automation speed up processes and cut back on labor costs, but you’ll also see an uplift in customer satisfaction and more opportunities to scale.

With workflow automation software, like frevvo, speedier approval processes and auto-validation of data reduce bottlenecks in the pipeline, improving workflow efficiency.

Looking to streamline your workflows? Test out the benefits of frevvo today with a 30-day free trial.

Author:

Ashish Deshpande has worked in the process automation space for over 20 years. He has been instrumental in successfully deploying frevvo’s software at hundreds of organizations such as HBO, New York University, and Boston Public Schools. Ashish has contributed to leading publications such as Forbes, business.com and readwrite.com. Ashish received a PhD in Computer Science from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India.