What is automation software?
The term automation refers to a required process or task that occurs without any manual intervention. Automation software therefore is any software program that completes tasks which were previously performed manually through automatic means.
There’s a growing trend for companies to introduce automation software into their business processes. When they do this, they make a conscious decision to replace inefficient manual tasks with ones that occur automatically. There are a number of reasons why businesses switch to automation software, but essentially it’s to improve productivity, save time and money, increase productivity and efficiency, reduce errors and generally gain control over their business processes. Switching to automation software is easy and has major benefits to a business. Understanding the benefits, embracing change and training staff will help make switching to automation software easy; the real results, however, lie in the time and money saved. Below we detail the 4 main reasons to make the switch to business automation software:
1. Reduced costs
Every company seeks to reduce costs. By looking at its business processes it may be evident that manual tasks are unnecessarily taking up staff time, and consequently costing the company money. Integrated automation software helps consolidate costs for a company by condensing the time required to perform tasks and eliminates the need for time-consuming manual data entry into the accounting system. By increasing performance and reducing unnecessary costs derived from manual processes, automation software becomes a rewarding investment for a business.
Automation software is hugely advantageous for staff in the office and out in the field. It allows more tasks to be completed by office staff as the workload surrounding data entry is eliminated. Mobile sales staff spend their time out in the field with customers, selling and serving them more effectively, and warehouse staff are supplied with accurate pick lists which means that stock is dispatched to the customers more timeously. With integrated automation software, your mobile sales team has the advantage as customers are provided with up-to-date sales information that allows them to better serve their customers. By linking all data to the office, field and warehouse, the business can ensure that staff are spending time where it is most needed: with your customers, growing the business.
3. Availability and reliability
Despite its availability, it seems many companies’ sales and order processes remain paper-based resulting in missing data, lost docket books, and inefficient order taking, as well as incorrect pricing information, stock information and lack of stock tracking. Automation software provides availability of up-to-date information to staff regardless of their location. With automation software, sales and transaction information will no longer be lost in disorganised paperwork or crashed computers. Automation also makes it easy to store vital information on your shared network location, as well as in the cloud, making it readily available to all staff. In addition, automated run lists ensure that customer visits are not overlooked, they are completed, and input data is correct. The availability of information ensures that you are offering the best customer service by having the correct information about you customers and products at any time.
There’s no doubt switching to automation software can appear to be an overwhelming and costly shift if you’re a small business without an IT department to help with technical issues. However, having automation software coupled with reliable support will keep your mind at ease and ensure that you are looked after no matter what.
4. Errors eliminated
It’s quite evident that manual data entry, order taking and picking can, and will, result in errors. Imagine the benefits of having accurate customer information, special pricing, stock information at your fingertips. Integrated automation software ensures that each aspect of your business, including the office, sales team, and warehouse, is linked and integrated to your accounting system. Integration ensures that information is accurate across the board, thereby eliminating unnecessary errors.
Comments that business owners make to avoid investing in automation software:
- “Our business is too small to warrant using automation software.” - No business is too small to implement automation software. Even a micro business can benefit from it. Affordable and easy to use, automation software is available to you not matter what your needs and suitable to any business regardless of its size. all for a small monthly fee. Think about the benefits of eliminating time-consuming manual data entry, electronically performing sales and order tasks, out in the field on the spot, and ultimately serving your customers better - all for a small monthly fee.
- “We don’t have the time to implement automation software at the moment.” - We know how busy it is to run a business, but imagine how much time you could actually save by switching to automation software. There’s no time like the present, and the longer you avoid making the investment, the more time you are spending on time-consuming manual tasks that ultimately cost you money!
- “We don’t have the budget to implement automation software.” - Automation software comes in many forms and is usually customised to your needs. As such, there will be automation software suited to your budget. Think about how much time is spent doing the manual tasks and then multiple that by the amount of money you are spending on staff to perform these tasks. This gives you just one example of the amount of money you could be saving. The return on investment is considerable, and in the end the software will pay for itself.
- “We don’t need automation software.” - This is a common statement made by business owners who are resistant moving out of their comfort zone and leaving behind traditional methods. There is often a reluctance to embrace new technology and relinquishing manual business processes. Automation software, however, is not to be avoided! Technology is constantly progressing, and our ever-changing digital world requires us to embrace these changes and move forward. The businesses that make the move will be the ones that survive and prosper.
Look at your business
Look around your business, how many manual tasks are being performed which could be replaced by introducing automation software? What is happening around the office?
- Do you see invoice books everywhere?
- Do you see staff keeping records in Excel spreadsheets?
- Do you have overflowing store rooms where copies of customer invoices with Proof of Delivery receipts are stored?
- Are hours spent completing manual data entry transposing invoices or orders?
- Maybe you find it difficult managing staff and keeping track of their work and customer run sheets?
- Look carefully: what time-consuming repetitive tasks are being completed day in and day out?
Could you introduce software that would automate some of those tasks?
- Imagine if you no longer had any invoice books, and all transactions were completed electronically at the point of origin and then automatically sent to your accounting system?
- What if your record keeping was done in a central system rather than in multiple spreadsheets?
- What if you could do away with the store room, file everything electronically and reproduce a Proof of Delivery receipt at the click of a button?
- Imagine if the data entry of invoices was removed from your business altogether?
- What if you could automatically send ad hoc customer runs to your mobile sales with accurate stock and customer pricing?
Peace of mind is a phrase that comes to mind!
There are many types of automation software available. Look at any task in your business and you will be able to find a software program that will help you to automate it. From software that will automatically reconcile your bank accounts with your accounting system, to that which will bring website orders straight into your accounting system. There is even software that allows your staff to swap shifts! Regardless of your business needs, you will be surprised by the number of different packages available to help you make your business more automated.
Mobileezy is business automation software that replaces a variety of manual paper-based and data entry business tasks with automated electronic functions including:
- Electronic capture and transmission of invoices and orders from the field to the office, replacing paper-based systems
- Import of field transactions into the accounting system, replacing data entry processes
- Updated customer pricing, replacing manual lookup and maintenance of customer specific price books
- Maintenance of customer order templates or pantry lists, replacing manual maintenance of customer calling cards
- Run list management for recurring customer visits, replacing manual excel run lists