Process Automation: Innovation has long gone from being something that happens at companies with colorful offices in California to be a matter of survival for all organizations.
The use of technology for process automation emerges in this scenario, whatever your line of business. It could put your company on another level before the competition and make room for growth that would not be possible if the processes continued to be done manually. However, this requires a lot of planning, as it impacts the entire operation, including the relationship with employees, customers, and suppliers.
It is worth remembering that we are experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with the use of robots and RPAs on a large scale. Thus, it is no longer possible not to think about innovation in the business environment.
With that in mind, we’ve created this complete guide with everything you need to know about process automation: what it is, why you invest in it, how to implement it, and what gains it can bring. Follow!
What Is Process Automation?
Before discussing the importance of process automation or how to implement it in companies, it is good to define this concept better to know what we are talking about in this article.
Process automation applies mainly to bureaucratic and repetitive tasks. Technology can replace human work in these cases with a series of benefits, as we will see in the next topics.
In addition to executing the work itself, process automation generates another benefit: with technology, it is possible to collect, store and process all information related to those tasks. With this, reports are generated with valuable information for the business.
In this way, something merely operational gains a more strategic character for the company since data can provide rich insights and serve as a basis for changes that generate positive results.
Why Is Process Automation Important?
It may be cliché to say that, with technological advances, the business environment is increasingly fierce. However, it is worth noting that it is cliché because it is a pure truth. Technology has promoted such an efficiency gain that everything makes a difference. Every cent saved counts.
Consumer competition occurs at a very different level than what happened 30 years ago when customers had to choose only between two or three brands. Currently, any product he will buy has hundreds of options, many of which are imported from more efficient places, with lower taxes, more technology, more qualified labor, and, even so, cheaper.
So you can’t afford the cost of falling behind the competition. Human capital is usually one of the highest costs in companies. It is not a question of further reducing the number of employees but of using the available workforce for more analytical and strategic issues. At the same time, technology takes care of recurring processes.
Let’s consider the classic case of an industry with its production line. If you have 100 workers working there and the demand drops from one hour to the next, a part of that contingent will be idle. Then you have two choices: either bear these employees’ costs, wait for demand to rise again, or lay off this surplus to cut costs.
Whatever your decision, there will be consequences. Keeping workers idle is an extremely risky, short-term move. If demand doesn’t pick up again, you’ll have to fire them anyway, and then you’ll bear the cost of keeping them and still have the costs of layoffs.
However, if you decide to resign, you will also incur dismissal costs. Now, imagine that demand grows again. You will have to hire other professionals to replace those who left. It has recruitment, selection and then training costs. Besides, new employees have a learning curve, and it takes a few months for them to reach the maximum level of productivity.
On the other hand, if you automate the production line as much as possible, the need for workers in this area may drop from 100 to 30, for example. You will need people who know how to operate the machines, who work in quality control, and who have greater qualifications and analytical capacity.
If demand decreases, you adjust production, but those employees will continue to be needed just the same. Of course, this is a classic and well-known case, but it illustrates well how the automation of work allows the company to gain flexibility and use human capital for what only a human being can do.
We live examples of process automation all day long when we pass a single ticket at the bus turnstile, call a car, or order food through an app when we schedule a doctor’s appointment through the health insurance platform, and many other cases.