Your company is chugging along smoothly. Sure, it has its challenges here and there, but overall, you’re on an upward trajectory.
As a successful manager or executive, you probably already understand that business automation saves time, money, and resources—but how do you know when your new business is ready for automation?
After all, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. And you definitely don’t want to do anything to upset your company’s relatively stable growth.
How can you tell when automation will solve problems for your company, or just create new ones?
If these questions have run through your head before, don’t fear! In this post, we’ll discuss seven signs that it might be time for your business to consider investing in business automation solutions.
What Is Business Automation?
Business process automation is the implementation of technology to complete essential tasks that used to be completed manually.
If your business is ready for it, automation can increase your business’s efficiency by reducing human error and better directing your resources (especially labor).
Many businesses automate everyday business tasks such as:
- Accounting tasks
- Meetings and scheduling
- Marketing campaigns
These types of automations can reduce operational costs and free up your team members for higher-level, higher-return tasks that no machine can handle. Your resources can be spent on innovation rather than on manually completing inefficient tasks.
7 Signs that You’re Ready for Business Automation Solutions
As a new business, it can be challenging to decide whether your organization is ready to start implementing automation into your workflows. To help you evaluate your readiness, we’ve compiled a list of seven signs that your business is ready for automation.
1. You’re Wasting a Lot of Time, Money, or Resources
In trying to scale, is your company experiencing record numbers of mistakes—like incorrectly-addressed shipments, wrong order fulfilments, and missed deadlines?
Human error is unavoidable, but it can cause a great deal of waste when you need to fix mistakes or spend time redoing essential tasks.
Business process automation can mechanize data entry and not only save time, but reduce errors. By embracing automation, you can also create a reliable, standardized process for repetitive workflows that might be prone to human error.
2. Customers Are Unhappy with Response Times
Are more customers starting to complain about how long they’re waiting to hear back from your customer service team? Have service requests and messages been falling through the cracks?
The average customer is tech savvy and expects immediate response time and smooth interactions across all communication channels. In fact, 90% of customers consider an immediate response to a customer service question to be important—and 60% of customers define "immediate" as 10 minutes or less.
If your business can’t afford to staff a huge call center to handle the influx of customer messages, it may be time to automate initial customer interactions. A few common ways to automate customer interactions include:
- Automated email replies (“your request has been received, and we’ll get back to you shortly!”)
- Auto-responders to social media comments and online reviews
- Chat bots on the company’s website
- Automated phone lines
Satisfied customers mean higher revenue and a loyal customer base—so if you’re starting to see more complaints than usual, don’t delay in evaluating your current processes and getting creative with your communications problem-solving.
3. Competitors Are Winning Clients Away from You
If your competitors are able to offer more services, respond more quickly, or one-up you on delivery times or accuracy, you might need to go digital to keep up with the competition. Don’t risk losing market share just by being late to the automation game.
One caveat here: don’t embrace automation just because everyone else is doing it. Adapting to changing times doesn’t mean just being a copycat—it means critically evaluating trends and identifying how emerging technology can support your goals.
That being said, automation tools can help your management team systemize processes to maximize efficiency as well as measure sales patterns and customer data.
As they say, what gets measured gets managed—and when you’re in a highly competitive market, tweaks based on data analysis can make the difference between making a sale or losing customers to your competition.
4. High Production/Manufacturing Costs
Are you struggling to scale your production? With increased demand, it can be difficult to be cost-effective with automation. Business automation can enable:
- Shorter lead times
- Quicker delivery
- More efficient use of resources
Using automation can help product-based businesses create economies of scale and scope, meaning you’ll be able to produce a greater range of goods while saving on costs.
And with automation tools for data processing and workflow reviews, you’ll be able to control and analyze your processes. You can track your production performance over time and make informed, educated decisions to streamline future processes.
5. High Labor Costs
Is your company seeing higher turnover? Or as your business grows, are your employees unable to handle higher client loads at the same level of efficiency? One easy way to offset the rising costs and productivity demands of your workforce is to implement automation.
After all, unlike employees, automation systems don’t get tired or need to take breaks—and they’re never bored by repetitive tasks.
Nearly eight in ten business leaders believe automation would save 60 employee work hours every month. Those costs can really add up!
Even if your employees spend most of their time doing high-level tasks that would be difficult or impossible to turn over to a computer, it’s likely that there are at least a few areas where automation would save them time, such as data entry, scheduling, and accounting tasks.
Employees that have more time on their hands can more easily add value to your business by focusing on things artificial intelligence can’t do, like innovation and creative pursuits. Automation boosts job satisfaction because it:
- Increases efficiency
- Relieves time pressure to complete mundane tasks
- Reduces anxiety over tasks that are prone to human error
While quality employees will never be fully replaceable, there’s likely room for automation, which could increase both employee satisfaction and company productivity in a single stroke.
6. Business Growth and New Opportunities Demand It
Scaling your business can only be done when every department has the resources to handle an exponential increase in work gracefully.
With more sales comes much more effort from all sides—and often, the delicate balancing act between minimal funds and maximum client engagement requires some creative problem-solving.
You may not have the funds to support your growing number of sales, customers, and labor demands without implementing some streamlining and cost-saving automation tools. If you’re ready to scale your business but are being held back from new opportunities by your current organizational framework, automation may be the answer.
7. You Have Repeatable Processes that Are Well-Tested and Efficient
Many business managers who are new to the concept of automation see it as a fix-all tool. However, the best uses for automation are in scenarios where the process being automated already works well on its own.
As Bill Gates famously put it, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Automation should be used to scale your operation, not make up for organizational flaws. You’re ready to incorporate automation into a process when it’s mature enough to be efficient on its own, just on a smaller scale.
Are You Ready to Build Automation into Your Business?
Business process automation isn’t about saving a few minutes here and there; it’s about the accumulated saved time that allows you to direct your resources to where they will have the highest return on investment.
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the scenarios listed above, you’re likely ready to consider adding business automation tools to your business!
Of course, choosing the right technology can still be a challenge, even when you know you're ready to automate—which is why Ridgebase is here to help. If you’d like meaningful, data-driven guidance on finding the right business tech solutions for your company, book a meeting with an advisor today.