5 Ways A Workflow Tool Dramatically Reduces Costs
July 10th, 2015 • The Process Playbook
When most people think of implementing a workflow management solution, the main benefit they think of is time – tasks and data buzzing around seamlessly and completing their work in a fraction of the time.
While time is an obvious benefit of workflow management software, many organizations see huge cost savings as well. This can really tip the scales for an IT manager who wants to convince the company to make an investment into automated workflow management.The costs can easily pay for themselves when compared to manual process management.
Here are 5 business cases about how a workflow tool can dramatically reduce costs.
1. Reduce the High Cost of Human Labor
One of the most direct financial benefits of automation software is shifting important but routine tasks from humans to systems. Within automation, systems can handle data entry, notifications, data recall, and handling predefined conditions much better than humans can.
Think about a business churning out large numbers of purchase orders. Suppose each of those purchase orders needed to mapped to an earlier purchase request and approved by a different set of people depending on the order and amount.
When faced with the choice of making a new expensive hire in the Accounts Payable department or designing an automated workflow, the costs are clearly in favor of technology.
This is directly related to achieving human-computer symbiosis. Let systems do the jobs they do best (including automation), and leave humans to do the more big picture, high-touch tasks in an organization.
2. Minimize Errors and Miscommunication
Before automated workflows, manual paper processes relied on human intelligence to complete all task, from the most menial to highest priority tasks. But not only are humans expensive to hire, they are more prone to mistakes than machines.
What do you think happens, when a marketing executive in a multimillion dollar company forgets to email an important ad campaign to their prospects on time? Or what is the cost to a company if the details of a freight order are incorrect and a shipment has to be recalled?
An automated workflow solution mitigates these kind of dangers by reducing errors. Systems will handle data the same way every time and will drastically reduce the number of errors in your processes.
3. Improve Decision-making
How many decisions have you made in the last year without enough data? An automated workflow tool will give you valuable information that you could never have used with a manual process.
For example, when deciding on a new travel reimbursement policy, your management team might want to know how many requests were made in the previous quarter, for what amounts, and by whom. In a manual process, this data might take a week or more to collect. If you automated your workflows, you can likely pull up a quick report in minutes.
Better data means better decisions, and better decisions always save a company money.
4. Bring Down Operational Costs
Automated workflows can slash redundant processes and departments. When you start automating your business processes, you will soon realize how much time departments in your company spend running around in circles, finding and collecting data that shouldn’t take so long.
For example, how complex is it for someone in your organization to replace the toner in a printer? To request vacation days off? To request a new hire on the team? If these things take day or more to initiate and complete, you are wasting time that could have been spent doing something much more productive.
The best workflow management systems come with some kind monitoring capability that allows process admins to identify bottlenecks and track waste. This functionality, combined with report and analytics, can prove to be a powerful tool for companies to avoid unnecessary cost and focus on the important areas.
5. Increases Revenue Stream
Most businesses turn to automated workflow management for cost-cutting, but it can also be a revenue driver as well.
In a typical, paper-based manual system, your sales reps might be limited to how many order enquiry forms they can fill out in a day. Or, they may lose sales because it takes a few days to get approval for a new quotation. Similarly, your order delivery team might be hamstrung by slow processes that make it impossible to scale.
When you add automation, you are removing the boundaries and ceilings that kept your organization functioning at a certain level. Automated forms and workflows mean you can get more work done every day and that means more revenue.
Save Money. Save Time.
When you are considering a workflow management solution, think not just about the amount of time you will save, but in real dollar amounts. You can reduce errors and your team can focus its time on the high-priority tasks that keep your organization running. Combined with better data for better decisions, using an automated workflow tool is a clear example of how you can save money with a more technologically-advanced office.