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The Five Benefits of Automated Workflows

Topics: ERP, Macola 10, Automated Workflows

Posted on Nov 11, 2016 4:00:00 PM by Nick Mears

How Many Use Automated Workflows

In the last post, Companies Weigh In on Benefits of Automated Workflows, we explained that in a recent webinar we had asked the attendees this question: “What would be the most valuable benefit of automated workflows for your business?" We were fascinated by the response, and the full results of this poll can be found via this link.

But before we dive into the five benefits, we wanted to also show the results of the second poll from this same webinar, 5 Reasons to Use Automated Workflows in Your ERP Solution. In this second poll, we asked the attendees this: “How many automated workflows does your business currently have in place?” We were a little surprised by the results, because we learned that over 80% of the attendees said that they either were utilizing very few or no automated workflows in the ERP. Here’s the full breakdown below: 

five_benefits_chart.png

So for anyone out there who falls into the “What automated workflows” segment, you may be interested to learn about some of the benefits of incorporating automated workflows into your ERP solution. Altogether, we’ll look at five main benefits, and go into a little detail about how each of the benefits could help your business. Here they are:

  1. Improve visibility & control of enterprise processes
  2. Reduce costs & increase revenue
  3. Reduce errors & improve accuracy
  4. Reduce manual effort & paperwork, increase productivity
  5. Spot bottlenecks & redundancies, increase efficiency

5 Benefits of Automated Workflows

Many businesses have recurring pain points, but you may be interested to learn that in many cases, you may be able to address these pain points by incorporating automated workflows into your ERP solution.

  1. Improve visibility & control of enterprise processes

If you are constantly struggling with budget overruns, then this first benefit, “improve visibility & control of enterprise processes,” can assist in drastically decreasing or eliminating these overrun scenarios. When combining automated workflows with an ERP solution, you have access to real- time data, meaning if a project is running over budget, you know about this problem as it occurs—not at the end of the month. Not only can you learn of this overrun in real time reports, but you can even be automatically notified when a project is in danger of running over budget. Lastly, this benefit, “improving visibility & control of enterprise processes,” can help you in tracking track key KPIs or automatically generating key reports on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

  1. Reduce costs & increase revenue

Similar to the first benefit, this next benefit, “reduce costs and increase revenue,” can  help you in monitoring budgets against actual costs. Because, once again, you don’t have to wait until the end of the month for a full budget vs actuals report. Instead, you can be notified in real time when a project’s actual costs outpace its budgeted amount. Also, by monitoring product cost and price variances, you can effectively keep a keen eye on potentially budget-busting expenditures. On a different note, this benefit also can help you ensure that early payment discounts are earned. Stop discounts from slipping between the cracks by being notified via an automated workflow when an early payment discount is about to be lost.

  1. Reduce errors & improve accuracy

This 3rd benefit can help in identifying errors. For example, in your supply, identify orders with configuration errors (such as missing parts). Also, improve accuracy by being alerted when an item is stored in several locations, or for when materials wastage is greater than a specified percent. 

  1. Reduce manual effort & paperwork, increase productivity

This benefit is perhaps the most noticeable and easily quantifiable benefit of all. Automated workflows can reduce, or even eliminate, the “busy work.” Many times a job function accrues manual tasks that may only take a few minutes to complete, but when adding up these tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, the time savings achieved by replacing these manual tasks with an automated workflow can be significant. Also, you will be amazed at the amount of paper that can be eliminated when switching to a document management-enabled ERP solution. We have heard stories of an entire room being cleared of multiple filing cabinets, simply by transitioning from paper to document management-enabled ERP.

  1. Spot bottlenecks & redundancies, increase efficiency

Perhaps the one of greatest benefits attributable to automated workflows is the ability to spot bottlenecks and redundancies and increase efficiency.  Just a few examples of this are:

  • Delivery delay alerts
  • Alerts if needed personnel are not available
  • Alerts for orders not started on the scheduled starting date
  • Warning for items that were ordered from supplier and have not arrived
  • Alert when inventory is above/below max/min
  • Warnings when batches are nearing expiration
  • Alert for items that have not been picked/packaged/shipped x hours after order
  • Save tracking/delivery confirmation notices to customer record
  • Alert for items that were shipped and have not received delivery confirmation from shipping company

As you can see, these are just the tip of the iceberg, because bottlenecks and redundancies can occur in any part of the business and increasing efficiencies can be realized in all parts of the process, from sales/opportunities all the way through to finance and invoicing.

Also, there are many more types of automated workflows that a business can employ for any one of these five benefits. If you would like to learn about additional examples of automated workflows, please read more in this white paper, Automated Workflows Effectively Monitor Your Business in Real Time

Lastly, if you’d like to learn more about this benefit or more about combining Automated Workflows with ERP in general, check out this on demand webinar, 5 Reasons to Use Automated Workflows in Your ERP Solution.

Watch the On Demand Automated Workflows Webinar

 

    
The ERP Blog covers the impact of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), business software and accounting solutions on organizations in the manufacturing and distribution industries.

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