Business processes automation is gaining popularity around the world. What benefits can a transportation and logistics company and its Customers get from running processes with machines? The Head of the Lean & Process Management Department of the AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG international transportation and logistics group talks about the ins and outs of automation.
What does "business process automation" actually mean?
Business process automation is the implementation of selected procedural tasks or steps using computer programs or automated algorithms. Having machines take over certain tasks allows employees to save their valuable time for more important tasks that add value for Customers.
This approach not only improves service quality, increases Customer satisfaction, and saves employees’ valuable time but also reduces organizational costs, increases operational efficiency, and minimizes workplace stress. The end result is that Clients receive comprehensive professional services.
How can these benefits be achieved?
Business processes automation is not a one-off operation. To derive the most benefits from it, it is worth rolling a comprehensive program out across the company. This will facilitate management and allow better communication of changes throughout the organization.
Which machines are worth using?
IT tools for automating business processes can be divided into three groups:
- IT programs either purchased or developed by the company,
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) programs, and
- inexpensive or free online solutions found by creative employees in order to achieve similar results.
Of course, each of the above types of tools has its advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantages of the first two are costs and implementation times. However, the approach indicated in the third point will not always meet the high expectations of advanced corporations.
But should a company just beginning its business process automation adventure choose the most advanced and costly tools? In my opinion, the process automation journey should start with small steps, and with time you can start implementing more ambitious IT solutions.
How can transportation and logistics companies and their Clients take advantage of the benefits of business process automation?
At the beginning, you need to identify business process elements that are both monotonous and repetitive as well as standardized and well-described. And most importantly: process elements that do not add value for Clients. Such tasks can be found in many back-office, accounting, sales, or operational processes. For example, you might consider customer-service processes in the sales department. Many repetitive tasks can be automated to free up employees’ time. Thanks to this, they will have time to increase sales and build better relationships with Clients.
Then there is analysis, discovering ways to automate, introduction, and implementation. It is a good idea to duplicate successful tools for all processes in which the given activity occurs. This will multiply the benefits.
The above-described steps are easy to follow, but it is worth describing the discovery stage a bit more broadly. This is when the concept of automation arises. The experience of people who know the tools available on the market as well as the creativity and commitment of employees has a big impact on ideas.
Business process automation is shaping the future of companies from every industry. It allows you to develop your organization in the modern, challenge-filled world.