5 ways to save time (and money) automating your workflows

Most people make the automatic assumption that automating workflows will help them save time. That makes sense, when you consider that automation does allow people to complete their work a lot faster. However, that’s not all workflow automation has to offer.

It makes sense to use the cliché and say “time is money” to justify that, by saving time, your company will also save money. That’s the reason most managers use to convince their company to invest in workflow management systems.

Other than actually save time spent doing specific tasks, workflow automation also helps reduce error and allows your highly capacitated professionals to focus their expensive hours on high-priority tasks to keep your company running and growing.

Workflow management systems are also very useful sources of data that will allow your company to make better, more informed decisions.

Why should I automate?

Inefficiency is one of the most harmful aspects in a business environment. Some researches show that inefficient workflows can cost up to 30% of your company’s revenue. That’s certainly a lot more than you’d pay in an automation system that’ll help avoid that inefficiency, right?

Even considering bulkier workflow systems, the costs usually pay for themselves in a very short time after the implementation.

It’s simple math: how much will you save by automating your workflows? Is it more or less than what you’d pay for the actual system? If you come to the conclusion that it’d cost (a lot) less, you shouldn’t even have to think about it before deciding to automate.

If you’re always looking to stay on the safe side, I’ll help you decide by showing you 5 ways to save time (and money) by automating.

How can I save time and money automating my workflows?

Spending less on people

People are expensive. It costs a lot to hire an employee. There are many additional costs other than just his salary. It’s pretty logical to say that, when you shift routine tasks currently performed by humans to a system, you’ll save money.

Automated workflow systems can handle a wide array of repetitive tasks much better than humans can. These software can handle notifications, data entry, email flows and much more.

I’m not saying your business should completely replace human employees with machines.

While that may become a reality in the long-term future, that’s now how automation currently works.

What I’m saying is that you’ll choose those tasks that are repetitive and work according to specific standards of execution (and don’t demand any type of decision-making or strategical thinking) and leave them up to your automation system.

By doing that, you’ll free up your actual employee’s time so they can worry about strategic aspects related directly to your company’s core business. Employees and their time are expensive. You need to make the best out of it by automating.

Making less mistakes (and communicating better)

As we’ve mentioned before, inefficiency can cost your company a lot of money. Before automated workflows were available, most manual processes relied solely on human intelligence to be completed.

That was true for all tasks, from the most menial, day-to-day routines to high-priority tasks. However, not only are humans (very) expensive to hire, they’re more prone to mistakes than automated systems.

Remember when your mother said that “to make mistakes is human”?

She was right. Automating workflows allow you to avoid all sorts of dangers.

This is not about your employees being careless. Even the most careful, dedicated employee will make mistakes from time to time, especially if his activities are demanding more than he can handle.

Machines have clearly set execution standards. They’ll deal with data the way you set them to, every single time. Not having to rely on human minds or reinforce execution standards over and over again are a couple of the reasons why automation helps drastically reduce the number of mistakes.

A teeny, tiny mistake can cost your company thousands of dollars (or much more). On top of that, let’s consider the amount of money you’d spend finding and correcting said error. That’s a lot more than you wish to spend, right?

Making better, well-informed decisions

As I’ve recently heard from one of Pipefy’s mentors: “In God we trust, all others (must) bring data”. Can you think of the last time you’ve made a business decision without analyzing and considering data? My guess is you can’t.

Making decisions without considering all available data is a clear path to failure (unless you’re really, really lucky). Workflow automation tools provide you with valuable information you wouldn’t be able to extract if you were performing the tasks manually.

Not only does automation helps you save time, it actually helps you collect and analyze data a lot faster. The more high quality data you have, the higher the chance of making better decisions that’ll save your company a lot of money.

Lowering your operational costs

Other than the money you save on hiring less employees, automation can help you save even more. Automating your workflows allows you to identify redundant, unnecessary processes and cut them out.

Workflow automation systems offer monitoring features that allow managers to identify any bottlenecks and waste of time and resources. If you associate this with all the reporting and analytics possibilities, you’ll be able to find creative ways to save time and money.

When you begin to automate your processes it becomes very clear how much time people spend running around in circles. This happens because they don’t have the data they need, when they need it. This obviously costs your company both in time and money.

Doing more with less

This has become an increasingly important aspect for many companies: how can we make more money (increase the output) while we save time and cut costs (without reducing the quality of the output)?

If you think logically, it seems rather impossible. Improving efficiency and cutting costs without compromising the output’s quality was, indeed, very much impossible before automation came along.

Workflow automation allows your company to do a lot more with less: less time, less money, less people, etc. We have to face the facts, workflow automation takes care of tasks a lot faster than any human worker could dream to.

As mentioned above, this doesn’t mean you should get rid of all your employees. It just means that their time must be refocused towards areas in which technology cannot replace them.

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Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.