Image Source: Unsplash
Improved artificial intelligence (AI) technology is pushing the demand for greater automation in all industries. Even businesses in creative fields like graphic design and content creation are embracing workflow automation techniques to achieve greater operational efficiency.
If you’re a business owner, deciding to automate parts of your operations can be daunting. Knowing where to start can be confusing when so many services exist that claim to reduce your costs and improve your productivity.
Fortunately, you aren’t the first business owner to make the leap into automation. Plenty of businesses have automated large chunks of their daily operations to the benefit of employees and consumers alike.
What does your daily workflow look like? Most business owners spend large chunks of their day opening spam emails, filling in forms, and creating invoices. What if all of these relatively-mindless tasks could be automated? How much time would you save for leisure activities and business development?
When automating your workflow, identify the daily tasks that would benefit most from this change. You can audit your workflow efficiency by completing a normal day and noting down how long you spend on each task.
Once you have visualized your daily workflow, start experimenting with “low hanging fruit.” Simple tasks like invoicing customers and modifying your inventory can easily be automated and save you heaps of time. As you become more familiar with workflow automation, you can take a look at automating more time-consuming activities like using chatbots to answer FAQs online.
Warehouse and Inventory
If you sell a physical product, you probably have a manual warehouse and inventory check of some kind. But automating your warehouse management systems is easy and relatively cost-effective — even if you’re selling custom socks out of your parent’s garage.
You can use cloud-based inventory systems to improve your warehouse efficiency. Cloud-based inventory systems are stored in a central location and allow you to update your stock in real-time. Incorporating AI into this process can streamline your warehouse further, as AI-led machinery can locate, package, and inspect your goods before they are shipped out.
You don’t necessarily need a new fleet of computers and software to automate your warehouse and inventory. Handheld devices like tablets and smartphones have apps that are capable of running simple inventory management systems. They can also be connected to the Internet of Things, meaning all your barcodes and diagnostic devices interact with one another in the digital space.
If you’re a business owner, chances are that you don’t enjoy the sales side of things. Seeing your business make a profit is rewarding, but having to pitch to customers all day might not be your preference.
If you’re more interested in ideas and product design than sales, you can consider automating the sales process. You can use tools like PeppyBiz and Salesforce Sales Cloud to leverage AI and deep learning in the CRM you use. This can help you spot potential customers and facilitate future growth.
Automating your sales can also help you keep your finances up to date. This removes a serious headache if financial planning and accounting aren’t your strong suit. An automated sales suite can use the data it collects over time to produce accurate, efficient accounts of future trends and current issues.
Adopting a spirit of experimentation is vital when automating your business. Even if some automation services fail to meet your expectations, the risk/reward of automation almost always leans towards greater adoption of new technology.
You can maximize your chances of successfully automating departments in your business by starting with simple workflow tasks. Once you start to understand the value of automation, spread AI across your entire business. You can even automate warehouse management and lean on an automated CRM to generate sales reports. This will improve your operational efficiency and save you hours throughout the work week.