In the search for ways to improve productivity while reducing costs, modern businesses have increasingly embraced automation as a means of maximising their efficiency. While you may be interested in applying these solutions to your business operations, which processes should you seek to automate? Here are the common characteristics to look for.
Standardised, rule-based processes
Any automated system is built upon rules. Whether you purchase ready-made software off the shelf or work with a developer to create bespoke solutions for your business, the success of the system is largely influenced by having well-defined, unambiguous rules for the process itself.
For example, if your company wants to offer same-day delivery in the UK, vehicle management software can help your in-house fleet with traffic alerts, workload scheduling, and maintenance notifications, significantly improving efficiency and minimising downtime. But AI may not be as effective when it comes to the human resources aspect of managing your fleet – recruiting reliable drivers and monitoring their performance will still require actual human observation and judgment.
Repetitive and high-volume tasks
No human employee looks forward to working every day on jobs which are tedious, repetitive, and time-consuming. Yet many businesses need precisely these sorts of processes. When you employ human labour to perform this kind of work, the potential for errors arising from even a brief lack of attention or involvement can have a ripple effect; wrong items get packed and sent to customers, or even worse, faulty quality control measures lead to a product recall.
Automation lets you shift these tasks out of human hands and into robotic ones. From order placement to product packaging, there are various solutions which remove human error and allow you to make better use of your employees’ worked hours.
Limited intervention required
Automated systems can struggle with more complex tasks; they may require human intervention to sort out intricate scenarios. An example would be order entry and invoicing; automation can process data input, make flawless instant-speed calculations, and quickly access multiple systems such as your inventory management and internal CRM platform.
However, that same AI can struggle when it comes to fraud detection. Specific rules could be implemented to flag suspicious orders and automatically cancel them. While this can help to prevent fraud, it could also cancel legitimate transactions – such as when an overseas customer tries to place an order using their international credit card, and have it delivered to the address of their friend living in the UK. In such cases, you’ll have to evaluate the benefits of using automation with a limited scope alongside human intervention for specific scenarios.
Low variation or changes expected
When you’re automating processes which are stable and don’t change over time, the benefits are straightforward. But if you expect frequent changes or unpredictable work to be a part of these processes, the solution can become a problem. For instance, a lot of the work involved in food preparation at a fast-food restaurant can be handled by automation, but you can’t diversify your menu offerings and still expect the same sort of efficiency – not without investing further into developing and expanding the AI capabilities.
Most businesses can benefit from using automation to simplify their processes and reduce costs. It’s up to you to use these characteristics to identify what tasks are ideal for this sort of improvement to yield the most return on investment.