Business Process Automation

What is Business Process Automation? Business Process Automation (or Automated Workflow) is reducing the amount of repetitive work seen by your work force, by defining what work should be carried out by a computer in response to work being completed by a human being or even by another computer. Some people view it better as 'piping', so you pipe outputs of one system into the inputs of another, creating an information flow that is fast, definitive and accurate.

Why would you want this? Let me ask you another question, why would you not want to save your staff effort and time. At the very least it prevents mistakes from happening. OK, so imagine, if you are asked to make a cup of tea for Mark, and you know he always wants it White with Two Sugars and he always wants it, for arguments sake, 20-30% milky (if you think about it like that), he always wants it in a mug and not a cup. And it takes you 5 minutes to make, from start to finish. He wants it 2 or 3 times each day. That's 15 minutes of every day.  - Now imagine, you can get a USB operated machine to do that whole process for you at a click of a button. Mark still asks you to make the cup of tea, but now instead of doing it yourself, you open a database and press a button, and 4 minutes later the cup of tea is made. You still get out of your chair, and go and get it and take it to mark, but during those 4 minutes you've completed 5 other tasks. The inputs to the task of making mark a cup of tea are the same, and the outputs are the same. Except you've saved 12 minutes per day. Now apply this to a 1000 sales orders per month, and you're starting to understand the reasons by Business Process Automation.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results." - If we accept this is true, which we do, then this can be rethought of/rehashed as being thought of as being that "it's insane to not get a computer to do the repetitive things over and over for fear of expecting different results to happen" - because it's impossible for a proven and designed automated system to not achieve the same results in the designed automated environment. If the inputs are the same and the process is the same, then the outputs will be the same. Meaning, you can rely on a computer to do a set of tasks in response to a single input from a human, over and over again. Because the benefits well outweigh any drawbacks.

 

1 input, several guaranteed outputs (an email, a text, 4 reports created, always prints the correct label on the correct printer in the correct office, displaying results on a tv screen in the warehouse, the possibilities are endless)

 

Consistent outputs, consistent results. eg. An emailed template response to a customer will always be the same format, always have the 8 required items of information on it. Humans forget occasionally, mis type, or put the wrong post code on something.
More free time for humans to handle the non-repetitive tasks, the unique tasks, the exceptions that occur during a working day. Whereas if they had the repetitive things to do as well, these exceptions would take longer to process, or not be processed to customer satisfaction.
Saves time, more throughput of work can be done per member of staff
If an automated process has to change someday, as is inevitable, it is changed in the system 'once' and from that moment on it is changed forever. whereas training a human to change, incurs mistakes, learning curve, inconsistent results if some humans remember to do the change and some don't. Someone's on holiday at the time of changing the process, Chinese whispers effect occurs when they return from holiday and told incomplete information by fellow workers because they're too busy to train the returning member of staff properly.

Improve business information flow, just overall, it's more professional. Look at amazon warehouses, 90% automated. Your business could have one automated process feeding into another automated process.

 

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